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, 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
- 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.