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Writing the Book Review

Posted on February 11, 2011 in categories: Uncategorized

Before writing a book review, you’d better spend 10 minutes and read the guideline that aims at making this process easier and understandable for you. If you think that analytical/critical review of a book is easy as it is a simple summarizing of various issues, then you are wrong and risk writing a bad book review. An article/book review predetermines evaluation of the issues and theoretical questions that are raised by the author. The usage of various techniques helps you to comment on the work you are writing a review about. Defining your own position is what a book review is all about but only understanding of the existing range of opinions could serve as a background when it comes to writing a critical or analytical book review. The questions below can help you to write a quality book review. Do not be lazy – answer these questions and then start writing your book review without any troubles.

  1. What are the topic and the purpose of the book or article you are going to write a book review on? What is the target audience of the book or an article? (You may found bibliography and index useful while giving answers to these questions. Don’t forget to look for the author’s background and read facts about book’s publication.)
  2. What is an explicit meaning of the title? Does an author struggle to realize certain purposes? Are there any theoretical assumptions explicitly expressed in the book?
  3. Are there any general issues in a book/article that are engaged with your course?
  4. What kind of material does a book/article present? How is it used to support or argue the main ideas of the work?
  5. Are there any theoretical issues raised by the author that could become topics for further discussion?
  6. What is your opinion of the book/article?

Take into consideration the fact that there are some reviews that summarize the content, followed by evaluation.  However, other reviews should only evaluate while summary is used only to highlight some facts and give examples.

When you write a book review, your task is not to discuss its content but show your opinion and support it with facts. Therefore, you are supposed to write “This book shows…the author claims” and not “This happened…when”.