How to write an effective and helpful book review

Book review criterion

As a student, almost everyone come across the task of writing a book review. Book review forms an essential part of various academic exercises especially when doing a research or as a part of writing coursework. Some students confuse it with a normal summary as a school kid is required to write in their exams. It should be clearly understood that “review” is not just summary, it consists of much more.

It has much more value and incorporates thoughts in a more structured manner. It is more like an abstract but not exactly one. It can have your own thoughts but that should not give rise to any bias. Giving it a structure remains one of the most important aspects so that reader is able to comprehend what the book will be about. It should cover the most essential content. Some of the main aspects to be focused on include:

  1. To analyze the narratives and thought of the author.
  2. To examine the current position and claims made by author keeping in mind the problem/ topic being discussed/ addressed.
  3. To comprehensively examine how suggestions are helpful (if possible through case studies.)
  4. To make your recommendations/ thoughts about the book.

Keep your readers in mind:

Writing while keeping your readers in mind is most essential. This rule applies not only to fictional or research based writing but each kind of written work. The very fact that something is being written with efforts from the author is evident enough that there must have been some need to write about that particular topic. Thus, keeping in mind the interest, age, education level, gender & geographic location of your users becomes essential. Each group and segment of readers differs. Each group has different expectations and needs to be dealt with accordingly to win their hearts. Structuring your thoughts will not only help you with a single assignment but also in the overall thought process. This will eventually help you with more difficult and demanding tasks also like data presentation and analysis.

Importance of keeping the review to the point & structured:

The book review should provide an unbiased version and quality summary (not absolute summary). This requires special attention to each sentence which to decide to put in. It should start with a brief introduction of few lines consisting of what the book deals with. This should be followed by taking main points from the abstract/ summary of the book itself given by the author as the author remains the best person to talk about what his/ her book deals with. This is not mandatory but certainly helpful.

After this, try to cover and provide a to the point brief of the issue being talked about if the book deals with a problem, or the need to write on a particular topic if the book covers some more generic topic. This can immediately be followed by a supporting example which clearly reflects the need to have that book written and gives a reason for the reader to read it.

Thereafter, you can write few lines about the content and other less important examples being discussed to cover different points by the author followed by the solutions provided. Solutions can be emphasized in relation to the example chosen in the beginning to keep it relevant to your book review.

To conclude you can provide information about what you found to be the best and most influential by giving your own thoughts but in a neutral manner. The primary purpose of making a reader familiar with the book without actually having required to go through the entire book should be solved.

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