Definition of a Book Review
A Book Review is a descriptive analysis of a book that explores and evaluates the book on the style of writing, language, and overall development of the book. If the book is fiction then character and plot development is analyzed. Methods of research and the credibility of sources of the data or material are considered.
In most cases, the tone of a written review is in the first person, that is, personal thoughts and judgments are used while writing. For this reason, no two written reviews are the same as everyone’s thought process is different.
Reasons for Writing a Book Review
There are many reasons for writing about books, they could be personal or professional. As a good review is important for a book similarly, writing a good review is important for the reviewer. My personal reasons for writing are as follows –
- Understanding the book better
- Improving style of writing
- Required for assessments in schools and colleges
- To voice personal thoughts about a Book
Professional Reasons to Write a Book Review are
- A Professional Book Reviewer
- As a part of published articles portfolio
- To understand the intricacies of writing as a budding author
Types of Book Review
Types of book reviews depend on the reason for writing a Book Review.
1. Essay-Type Book Review
Writing an essay-type of Book Review involves a detailed analysis of the language of writing, character sketches, and storyline for fictional books. For non-fiction books, this review will follow the research methodology, validity of information, etc. Although the number of paragraphs is more, headings are skipped during writing an Essay type. The length of the review depends upon the purpose of the reviewer. A middle schooler’s Essay type review writing will be shorter while a review from a college student can go on for pages.
2. List Type Book Review
A list type of Book Review gives a list of reasons to read the book and a list of reasons to not read the book. Some reviewers only use reasons to read the book, that’s a personal choice of the reviewer. This has become pretty popular with the advent of social media where short visual posts capture more attention. Generally, the title of such Book Reviews is like “5 Reasons to add this book to your shelf “ or “5 reasons to stay away from the XYZ book”. The Book Review format is as follows:
- Author of the Book
- Name of the Reviewer
- Examples can be found on sites like Goodreads
3. Verdict-type Book Review
This type of book review gives the reviewer’s verdict about the likeability of the book. This type of review also includes some kind of rating like “_out of 10” or “_stars out of 5 stars”. Sometimes the rating is not only for the book as a whole but individual elements as well like character rating or story rating. This type of example of can be found on Librarything .Verdict type of format is very effective in encouraging the sales of a book.
4. Short type Book Review
As the name suggests, a short type is like a brief form of Book Review which is short and sweet. This type of Review is a close counterpart of a Verdict with a summary book review. The insistence is on the gist of the matter rather than the evaluation of different elements of the book.
How to write a Book Review?
1. Collecting the data
Collecting all the key points should be done while reading the book. It may require the book to be re-read if the information does not seem enough. If the review is essay type then it will need various inputs and taking notes should be done under headings like characters, plot, and climax. For non-fiction, the same process will be done under headings like Source, adaptability, and real-world experiences.
2. Forming a template
Once all the data is collected, forming a template is the second task. It is the purpose of a review being written which will decide the type of review. Some formats are given in this article to help with the template. The first thing that comes is the title of the book followed by the Author’s name. This step is common in all types of writing. Put in an introduction about the type of books like fiction or non-fiction, then the category of the book, and genre of the book like romance, mystery, self-help, etc. This will give an idea of the plot in four or five sentences. The review will further discuss the summary in detail if the type of review is descriptive.
3. Adding the author’s credentials
Adding the author’s credentials while writing a book review is advisable. Discussing the previous work of the author in brief which is read by the reviewer gives credibility to the review. This step also establishes the author’s grip over the subject in the case of non-fiction writing.
4. Dissecting the psyche of the book
When writing about books, the tone of the book gives a glimpse of what the author is trying to achieve.
5. Adaptability of the book
Writing about this point in a written review shows the adaptability of the book as per time. Sometimes a book is apt for a certain era but not universal while others have no limits of era or geography. Classics in both the fiction and non-fiction category are such examples.
6. Using quotes from the book
This shows the readers, the language and intonation of the book without reading it. It also shows that the reviewer has paid attention to details. These quotes should be of some important part of the book or by an important character (in fiction). Taking care to not reveal about climax or any mysterious part is important as it will be a spoiler.
7. Reviewer’s note
It involves suggesting certain edits in the chapters where the book becomes mundane, pointing out unnecessary details, and evaluating the methods used by the author.
8. The conclusion
While writing, the conclusion is about summarising the review and also rating the book. Rating is done so that others can know about the acceptability and popularity and hence one of the most important elements of writing.
A Book Review is an important style of writing by a renowned critic that can make sales better. Other than that, it adds to the variety of a writer’s kilt by writing reviews. A student writes a good book review to get better grades.
The main task is to write about the work of the author and not the author as a person. Writing involves a balance of criticism, suggestions, and good points.
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