Book Review: Preparation and Writing Process
If you think that a book review is just a brief summary, then you are wrong. It’s your chance to express your opinion, highlight topics that you consider the most important, and start discussion about it. Your review not only must reflect key events, but also reflect the central topic, and the very purpose of the book. This task requires certain preparation, so let’s start from the beginning.
Obviously, you have to read the book. While you’re reading, take your notes. You can also use voice recorder, the main point is to note all the moments that are important for your review. Sometimes we forget some of our impressions, even though they can form a strong basis for our key statement.
When you read the whole book, take your time and think about its genre. If it’s a scientific work, determine which issues or subjects it’s devoted to. You must be able to compare this book to other books written in the same genre, highlighting common features, and differences. You have to be able to explain what makes this author’s style unique, and which typical features of the genre influenced a particular work.
Consider main themes, in order to describe the main message of the book. A good method is to try to describe the whole book in one word, such as “love”, or “struggle”. Just think which questions are raised by the author, and which words are used most frequently.
You also have to focus on writer’s style. Consider this question related to the genre, and think about the target audience. Writing style often depends on the audience, since people of various times and social classes use different kinds of language.
Pay your attention to literary devices used by author. Look how he or she uses symbols, how the plot develops. Another important feature of fiction literature is setting. You have to explain how certain environment sets the mood of the story, which details give hints on a background of certain characters.
Once you determined your key points, start writing a review. However, we suggest you to write a draft for your review first. It will help you wrap your thoughts into a proper structure, so your final text would look logical and interesting. Start with the introduction. It’s a quite important part of your review. Here you must explain why you consider this book worth reviewing, what is most interesting about it, or why it’s important. You also should provide readers with necessary information about author, such as his or her background, contribution to literature, impact on other writers, and so on. Don’t forget that your very first sentences must grab readers’ attention. It may be a vivid or controversial quote from the book. It also maybe a question related to the main topic, or even a joke. Whatever approach you choose, it must make your readers want to read further.
The main part of your review should include a brief summary, and your critical analysis. Use your notes, and answer questions that you were thinking about while reading the book. Don’t forget that all your thoughts must be supported by quotes. Your analysis is the most important part of the review, so make sure that you write it properly, creating a good structure. Follow the rule of thumb: at least one-half (two-thirds are better) of the review must reflect your thoughts. The rest of the text must represent the evaluation of author’s ideas, writing technique, and other specific features.