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How to Write a Book Review

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October 2009
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What is a book review? There are many ways to write a book review. Just check out the Globe & Mail or The New York Times, and you will see that each newspaper includes different content and uses a different format. Despite the differences, all book reviews need to provide a summary of the book, identify the book’s strengths and weaknesses, specify the publishing information (title, author, page count, price), and determine whether the reader ought to read the book. Here is one method you can use to write a book review:

Before Reading

Before reading, scan the book and make notes of the following:

  • Title. Does it indicate what the book is about?
  • Preface. Does it tell you the purpose of the book?
  • Table of Contents. Does it indicate what the book is about?
  • Glossary. Does the book include a glossary? Does it appear useful?
  • Index. Does the book include an index? Is it useful?

After scanning through the book, jot down your impressions. Next, research the author to find out what his/her biases, views, expertise, and other books he/she has written.

Reading the Book

While reading the book, make notes on the following:

  • Your impressions
  • Author’s argument
  • Author’s main points
  • Facts and evidence
  • Topics covered
  • Theme
  • Strengths and weaknesses

Writing the Book Review

Your first paragraph needs a hook that grabs your reader’s attention. It also needs to include the name of the author and title of the book. The body of your book review needs to include a summary of the book and identify some of the most important strengths and weaknesses. The conclusion of the book review needs to indicate whether your readers should purchase or read the book.

Your book review also needs to include the following publishing information:

  • Title of the book
  • Name of the author
  • Name of the publisher
  • Page count
  • Price of the book

Most book reviews include information about the author, such as the author’s views and biases, the author’s expertise on the subject, other books that the author has written. A good book review identifies the types of readers who will enjoy reading the book, and it indicates whether the information in the book is useful to the reader. Many good book reviews also state whether the book expands on the existing body of knowledge.

Anyone who knows how to write well can write book reviews. The important points to remember are to summarize the book, identify the important strengths and weakness, and indicate whether readers ought to purchase or read the book.



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  2. Naz says:

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    much love, Naz

  3. Page Flirt says:

    I know this post was done a while ago, but I really want to say that it is a very big help! I’ve been looking through various articles for tips on writing good book reviews, and yours has a good deal of helpful information! I love how you point out some of the most important points to remember while writing. (: Thank you!

  4. bookreviewed says:

    Thanks for the post. I have a bourgeoning book review blog and I’d love some feedback if you had any? I don’t really have a formulaic way of writing a review, it’s fairly organic. But guides like these are a great help – especially when writer’s block kicks in!

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