Tips How to Write a Review of a Book Professionally

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Writing a book review is a critical task, as it is a review of an author’s work, and will affect its audience. It’s important that you understand the book’s genre, message, theme, style, and structure. This article will guide you on how to write a book review for college.

How to write a professional book review

In order to write a professional book review, you have to prepare yourself before you can start writing. You should understand the book’s genre and subject. You can refer the other sources for the same.

Next is to read the book once or multiple times to know what the book is about. A review without reading the book is like attending an exam without studying the subject and is not a wise decision.

When you are reading the book, take notes of important points, the flow of character development, timings, its structure, format, font style and size, illustrations, images, charts etc. Write down your thoughts coming up in your mind when you are reading.

By the time you finish reading, you should be knowing the theme of the book and writing style. Theme means what message or lesson the author intends to convey by that book and style means how it’s expressed. The style, i.e. the choice of words and the structure of dialogues will determine the success in conveying the message and it depends on the audience as well as genre. Understanding the theme and style is very important and will play a crucial role in writing your review.

These things will help you know the uniqueness of the book and how successful the author has been in conveying the motive of the book so that you can write a great review.

Understanding book review format

Once the preparation is done, you can start writing the book review. Review in APA format with APA citation style is one of the most popular formats among the book critics. The book review can also be in two styles, i.e. long book review and short book review depending on the book genre and size.

A well-structured book review would essentially contain a heading, an introduction, a summary of the main points or chapters, a critical analysis, and an evaluation, and a conclusion.

  1. Heading

This part of the review generally contains the title, author’s name, place of publication, publisher name, publication date and the number of pages.

  1. Introduction

An important part of the review is its introduction, as it will give a first view of the review and determine if the user will continue reading. In the introduction, you have to convey what the book is about, details about the author and their previous work. To make it interesting, you can start the introduction in a surprising way or with a story with which the reader can relate.

  1. Summary

In this section of the review, you have to provide a quick idea of each chapter or the theme without revealing the secret or end of the book. This is a major part and ideally takes a half portion of the review content.

  1. Evaluation

This part will give the reader an idea of how you see the book. So you have to point out the good things in the book and things that don’t satisfy the intention or purpose. You also have to provide a list of the requirements of a well-written book in that genre.

  1. Conclusion

Finally, in this part of the review, you have to give your opinion about the book. You have to mention the strength and weaknesses of the book and recommend if the reader should read it or not. You can give a star rating, marks out 5 or 10, thumb up or down or vote up or down that will make it clear in the mind of the reader whether he or she will benefit by reading the book.

After completing the main task, i.e. writing the review, it’s time to refine what you have written. It is quite possible that you make mistakes in terms of clarity, grammar, and spellings. So you may have to read and revise it multiple times and even have to take a time gap before you re-read it to have fresh views about your work. It is also recommended that you ask someone to read your review and provide a feedback.

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Ensure you revise your review by considering your fresh perspectives and feedback from others before you finally publish or submit it. These are very important things because your review is going to reflect your preparation and efforts in giving a true and valuable opinion about a book.

Book review examples and styles

Getting hands-on writing good reviews requires a lot of efforts, patience, and experience. As you go on writing reviews, you will gain experience. You will develop your own techniques and strategies that will further enable you to write outstanding book reviews.

Writing a History book review

When you are writing a history book review, you need to consider certain things like;

  • The topic of the book and the historical period
  • Author’s approach in writing the book on the history
  • Author’s arguments
  • The historical evidence used by the author to support his arguments
  • The sources used to provide the evidence
  • The structure of the book

Writing a Critical review

A critical review should comprise three parts, i.e. Who is the author, Why the book is written and What that book offers to the reader.

Who is the author

This is a very important question to consider because an author’s expertise and credibility play an important role in the book to be acceptable and outstanding, especially when the book is based on research or history.

Why the book is written

To answer this question clearly in a critical book review, you have to include the purpose of the book, author’s intention, arguments, assumptions, the evidence supporting the arguments and assumptions etc.

What that book offers to the reader

The book should be unique or should be having a different view on the topic. You have to find this out and mention in your review. This question is especially crucial to make a conclusion part of your review.

How to write a Scholarly book review

The scholarly book review or academic book review is popular among the students studying research and history based subjects. This review type is same as any other book review type as it considers the same aspects. When you are writing a scholarly book review, you should include a bibliographic citation of the book at the start. There are several citation styles like APA, MLA or Chicago.

You can find some good examples of the book review on http://www.lonestar.edu/library/14863.htm.

In summary, a good book review requires a detailed preparation by reading the book, understanding the genre, the author’s motive, book’s theme and writing style. Then comes tactful writing which is neither too long nor too narrow and covering everything about the book without revealing the end or secret. And finally comes careful revision to make your review polished as well as free from grammar and spelling mistakes.

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