Book critique editing

Book critique editing: format and content problems to fix

Dec 01, 2012
What comprises a great book critique? A book critique, in essence, is the analysis and evaluation of an author's main argument or objective. When reading a book critique, the reader expects a deeper analysis of primary points expressed by the author as oppose to a general summary of the book and a yay or nay on whether or not to purchase it. Oftentimes, but not always, the audience of a book critique is somewhat grounded in the subject matter being discussed and have likely read the book or similar books to it beforehand and are familiar with the author's approach and main objective. Therefore attention to these special circumstances, and addressing the unique interest of the reader, plays a major role in delivering a profound and well-crafted critique.
When following a basic outline for Book Review you'll find that the main body of the text includes; evaluating the author's main argument, commenting on his methodology and approach, placing him alongside other authors, and examining his position and that of his work in the field or genre. So in editing your critique, an easy place to start is to simply evaluate how well you address the above mentioned concerns.
A suggestion as to what should be included in an effective critique is detailed below;

Elements of a good book critique

It fulfills its objective

What is the objective of a book critique? Simply put, it is to evaluate how well of a job the author of the book did in conveying his or her message and fulfilling their purpose in writing.

It clearly identifies the author's underlying theme and message

You can't write a book critique without it. To start any type of evaluation on the contents of a book, the reviewer first needs have a firm understanding of what the author is trying to convey. Not fully grasping or at least not attempting to grasp the author's message is a major blunder in critical book writing.

It identifies the author's writing style and methodology

When evaluating a book you are not only looking at the surface of the content but also at how that content is put together. Some questions to answer are; What type of organizational technique does the author employ? What types of questions does the author raise and how are they addressed? Are there any unusual or unique approaches to writing that you observed? What type of language is used? Are the paragraphs well written? Is the writer's point made clear through his/her argument development?
*A good book critique may also investigate into how the author's data was collected (if applicable) and the validity of his or her's sources.

It makes at least 2 substantial claims

The evaluations and claims you present are the main substance of paper as they illustrate your argument (this section should reflect points addressed in your general commentary, thesis or objective statement mentioned in your introduction). You can make a judgment on particular aspects of the author's argument by identifying what he/she did very well or something likewise that they were faulty in.

It provides clear and decisive evidences

A quality critique is not short on evidences nor does it make inaccurate claims. The evidence used to support your statements may include some direct, but short quotes, from the book and above all, clearly support the point you are trying to make.

It comments on the author's contribution to the field or genre

A book critique should acknowledge the author's work in connection to similar writings and mention its merit or dispraise as compared to other works or a general writing standard. Also its important to mention the benefit and contribution that the work adds to the discipline it covers.
In part, editing your book critique can easily be done by going through the above mentioned list and seeing whether or not your paper addresses these concerns (and then making the necessary adjustments). But more specific editing tips may also be beneficial in helping you review your critique as a complete piece of work rather than an essay broken down section by section.

Editing tips

Editing involves improving the quality of your paper in terms of wording, fluency, sentence and paragraph structure and overall clarity of communication. When editing your book critique you can apply similar concepts in terms of format and content as you would when editing any other form of writing.

Paper structure

*Consider how each element of your paper relates to the other. Think about whether or not to omit sections or sentences that don't seem to connect to the rest of the paper.
*Make sure that all paragraphs include some sort of link or 'connector' statement that relates it back to your original thesis statement. Your paper should be like one body-each part affecting the other.
*What type of organization method did you use? Is it consistent?
For instance, you may have chosen to present a synopsis of the book in the beginning and then follow a Point, Claim, Evidence format for developing your argument. If this is the case then you should be consistent with this structure throughout your paper.
*Did you include an adequate introduction and conclusion? Your introduction should be more than a summary of the book but also needs to provide background information on the author and identify his/her major theme and thesis.

Paper content

*Ensure that all claims are properly supported with evidence from the text. The evidence presented should be suitable enough to prove your judgment or claim without a ton of explanations.
*Did you address any counter-arguments? For example, if someone were to disagree with the position you hold regarding the author's presentation of ideas, did you provide an answer to this person?
*Are you sentences fluid and presented in a clear and logical manner? What may be clear to you may not be to an outside reader. Read and reread your paper to really judge whether or not you have properly expressed yourself.
After considering some of the above suggestions you can then look at the proofreading aspect of your review. This includes concentrating on specific grammatical and spelling errors that may be lurking in the text. Common places to look for errors include the positioning of commas, run-on and fragmented sentences, and subject-verb agreements. Some but not all of these components can be corrected through the use of a grammar and spell-check program. But be mindful not to rely too heavily on them as they cannot catch all mistakes. Always read and reread your work independently to check for proofreading and fluency errors.
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