What is a book review?
A review describes a product and gives an opinion on it. There is a specific style and structure of review writing.
A book review is both the description of a book and the views of the review’s writer about the book. Like any review, it does not call for merely a description. It requires original opinions of the review writer and evaluation of the book by them. It is not merely a summary of the book’s story, but comments on the book’s purpose, its style and them, its originality, its appeal to the audience etc.
Reading the book
The first prerequisite is, of course, to read the book. However, it is more than just reading the book that a review writer has to do. A review writer must read it from a critical point of view. They must first look at the preliminaries like the title, cover, preface and table of contents to get a gist of what the book is about, what is the purpose of the book, and what path of ideas it follows.
After this, start reading the original text and note down your comments as you read the text. Note down the impression the book has on you, and also jot down any passages that you find significant in particular.
Things you need to note down
Make note of the genre of the book and comment whether the book fits into that genre. The author’s tone and style must be recorded, too.
In case the book is a work of fiction, there will be additional things to note down. For instance, if it is a story, you must comment on the quality of the story. It is determined by factors like the strength of the plot, the presentation of the characters and the coherence between different parts of the story.
If the book mentions any facts, check whether or not the information in the book is accurate and authentic.
If there are illustrations, you may comment on that. Other things which you may give your opinion on are the layout and typography of the book and the quality of the paper and the cover.
Writing the review
Once you have your notes, organize them and make a rough draft. Refine that draft and make sure that your ideas have a logical flow. Make sure to include extracts from the book, or quotes, to support your opinions. Also, you may want to compare the book with other works of its kind.
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