What are book reviews? What types of book reviews exist? How does one write them?
At some point a lot of college students have to write a book review as a homework assignment. Book reviews are writings which give a description of a book of any genre, its analysis, and critical evaluation. You could analyze an autobiography, biography, fiction or nonfiction book, a business, scientific, or academic article or a writing which is dedicated to some medical, financial, technical, psychological, etc. issues. The primary goal of reviews is to introduce a recently published book or a new edition to the audience and help people make a decision whether this writing has some importance for them.
Reviews are crucial because the success of a work is most often determined by positive professional critical reports in numerous magazines, newspapers, or journals. People tend to buy those books that have the best reviews. Composing such an essay requires knowledge of guidelines that help one produce a better writing. Most of the students usually find this assignment problematic, but if you find the right way to complete it you will find it entertaining and enjoy writing it.
How Many Types of Reviews Exist?
We should mention that there are different kinds of book reviews. As a rule, when we think about reviews, we imagine the opinion reviews published in magazines. These reviews express an author’s opinion about the book. They usually have a brief plot synopsis and also provide readers with information about the author’s writing style and his/her area of expertise.
Another type of reviews is scholarly reviews. They are written by specialists in the area that is being reviewed. Authors of these articles go further and discuss the issues covered in the book and the methodology. Quite often these reviews are published in scholarly journals or as book chapters. The reviews of the third type are usually published in magazines and provide readers with a brief summary of the book content. They often are published close to the date of the publication of the writing or on the cover of the book’s hard copy.
How Can You Guide Yourself through the Process of Writing Reviews?
In case you have any questions about this type of writing, you can find a lot of helpful resources online. Feel free to visit various university websites that share not only guidelines but also different examples of good reviews and tips you could use while working on your assignment. There you can find a template of a review and a list of criteria that should be applied to its format. This can make your writing nice and easy.
Usually reviews have the following structure:
- Summary of the book’s content
- Evaluation and conclusion
The first section contains the bibliographic information such as the name of the author, the type and the title of the work, the date of publication and the publisher, etc. You will need to add here an overview of the theme, the purpose of your writing, and your evaluation. In the second section you should provide a brief outline of the key moment of each chapter or several chapters.
If necessary, you can use short quotes. In the final part of the writing you need to express your opinion about the reading. Was it a good and interesting book or it was confusing and did not make sense at all? Be creative and use all your writing skills to make this section as effective and successful as possible. A review should be persuasive.
When you are reading the book, you can use a worksheet where you will write down your ideas and questions. Prepare a checklist that will help you focus on the important issues and follow the plan:
- Describe the book. Is it a textbook, a handbook, a booklet or a collection of children’s stories?
- What is the writer’s main objective? Does he want to explain a particular even to readers or wants to raise an important issue? To answer these questions you should always read an introduction, a preface, or an author’s note because in these sections writers usually say what the book’s purpose is.
- What are his/her main points? How does the author prove his/her point of view? Does he/she convince you?
- Do you like the style and the language of the book? Do you think it is written well?
- Who is the target audience of this book? Is it for middle or high school children, for graduate students, or for experts in a field? Again, this information can be found in the preface where writers want to let you know in advance what you should expect from the writing.
These are rather simple basic strategies, but you might need them to better organize your writing. The more insightful you are, the better grade you can get for your essay. You should cover as much relevant information as possible. Is it a beautiful graphic book for kids? Do you think they will love it? Is it worth the money people pay for it? Is it available in paper - or hardback or only as an eBook?
All these details can be extremely valuable when you are writing your assignment. If you have any difficulties, do not hesitate to ask your professor for more explanation. You can also find perfect sample reviews online that will inspire you and help you create a better writing. You could also read professional works and see which techniques critics employ to make their articles more effective.