Book review is all about description, analysis and critical evaluation of the content and importance of the book. It is not a retelling, it is a reaction to a book in which the weakness and strength of the book is examined. A critical evaluation of the book is not simply writing a report or summarizing, it should be a statement of what the author is trying to convey through the book. Basically there is no right way to write a book review
, as book reviews generally reflect the opinions of the reviewer and are very personal. Depending upon the purpose of the review, review varies from 50-100 words short or long as 1000 words.
There are many genres to consider when reviewing books, some of the specific genres are: Fiction, Biography, History, Poetry.
In the same way, on the basis of the style of reviewing, book reviews can be characterized into two types:
- Descriptive - Descriptive review gives the important information about the book. This review elaborates description, by stating the purposes of the author and also by quoting passages from the book.
- Critical reviewing - Critical review is about evaluating and describing the book, by accepting the terms of historical standards and supporting with evidence from the text.
Before writing any review, a reviewer should thoroughly read the book. Following are few important steps to follow before starting to read a book and before writing a review:
- Carefully understand the title and know what it suggests.
- Read the preface that provides essential information on the purpose behind writing the book.
- Observe index contents as the index throws light on how the book is organized.
- Go through the summary of the book if possible as it helps in understanding the author's ideas.
As you start reading the book, there are many aspects to think about, especially if you are committed to write a quality book review
- After getting familiarized with how the books are classified into various genres, access the book by checking how well it is appropriate to the genre as defined.
- Try understanding the tone of the author in the book, is it negative or positive or humorous or critical, etc.
- Trying to understand the author's style of writing.
- Try grasping the concepts defined by the author and knowing how well the ideas of author are developed. This helps to raise the book's authority.
- If it is work of fiction, try understanding the various fictional plots around the book and how well they are connected or described to get an idea of the book.
- The characters in the book should be well introduced and portrayed for readers' clarity. Keep a check on it.
- If there are any facts mentioned in the book, try validating them by other sources available.
- Check how clearly the concepts are explained, review the book accordingly, and let people know if a layman can understand the book or should we have some prior knowledge on which topic the book is written, when a person is planning to start reading the book.
- Check for originality in the book.
- Last but not the least; keep an eye on the appendix and bibliography page too. Keeping a track of the primary sources used by the author, as it will help you understand how he/she made use of these sources while you read the book.
Once you are done completely analyzing the book and author skills, you are ready to write the review on the book.
- Start your review with an introduction by stating what you felt about the book in a catchy and attractive way. The introduction should not be too long.
- An outline should be prepared when writing a review; this will be like a statement describing the purpose of the review. Arguments should be there to support the review.
- Prepare a draft with:
- By comparing the work of author with work of others within the same genre.
- Development of the review depends upon the outline prepared.
- Conclusion adds or restates the review or it may be the final judgment of the book. There should not be any new information or ideas introduced in the conclusion.
- Follow on with the tone you set in your introduction and facilitate the readers with more details that support your statement with reasonable references.
- You may quote the sentences or cite the page numbers for reference, to explain the flaws and highs in the book.
- Do conclude your review by summarizing the review and its main points.
- Finally revise the review. This helps in finding grammatical mistakes and correcting them and checking the unity of the review. If needed, don't falter to make revisions in the review. Quotations should be verified for accuracy.
There are some rules and considerations for reviewing different genres; some of them are as follows:
- Do not reveal the story.
- Consider the sources of the different characters described in the story.
- Examine the various elements of plot. For instance, introduction, suspense, climax, etc. that are handled by the author.
- Check whether the book is giving full picture of the subject.
- Know and explain the point of view of author.
- Explain if any new facts about the person's life are revealed in the book?
- Compare other works of same author.
- Know the particular period that the book is dealing with.
- Check if the resources genuine and thorough.
- Know the point of view of author.
- Differentiate what group the book is intended such as textbook or scholarly etc.
- Check whether the dates used by the author are correct or not.
- Maps and charts used in the book should also be evaluated..
Majority of the readers start reading a book because of a referral from a friend or from a book reviewer. So book reviews play a major part in influencing a person to read the book. A book review must be effective and should not have any flaws. Authors do not write books overnight; few spend their lives into writing their books, so do write a transparent and fair review of book giving your genuine opinion.