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Book Review
Home Up Book Review Book Report

 

Although a book review, like a book report, spends time discussing the content of the book, its main purpose is not informational, but analytic and persuasive.  The writer, in analyzing the content, format, argument and context within which the book was written, argues that the book is worth reading or not.

PREPARING TO WRITE THE BOOK REVIEW:

Before you write the book review, but after you have read the book, you should make notes on the following areas:

1.    The Author:

Background and Qualifications

Writing Style

Use of sources (See Bibliography and Table of Charts and Figures)

His/her purpose in writing the book

2.    The Book Format:

Table of Contents

Section and Chapter Titles

Index

Introduction (often tells the format, purpose and intended audience)

3.    The Content:

Introduction/Conclusion

Preface

Chapter summaries

Tables, Graphs, Figures etc.

STRUCTURE OF THE BOOK REVIEW:

1.    Introduction:

A general description of the book: title, author, subject and format.  Here you can include details about who the author is and where he/she stands in this field of inquiry.  You can also link the title to the subject to show how the title explains the subject matter.

A brief summary of the purpose of the book and its general argument or theme.  Include a statement about who the book is intended for.

Your thesis about the book: is it a suitable/appropriate piece of writing about the program for the audience it has identified?

2.    Summary of Content:

This can be done in the same way that it is done for the simple book report. (Do not spend too much time or paper on this section, as the analysis of content is more important than a simple summary.)

3.    Analysis of Text:

What is the writer's style: simple/technical; persuasive/logical?

How well does the organizational method (comparison/contast; cause/effect; analogy; persuasion through example) develop the argument or theme of the book? (Give examples to support your analysis.)

What evidence does the book present to support the argument?  (Give examples: maps, charts, essays by experts, quotes, newspaper clippings.)

How convincing is this evidence?  (Select pieces of evidence that are weak, or strong, and explain why they are such.)

How complete is the argument?

Are there facts and evidence that the author has neglected to consider?  (Here you may use a comparable book on the same topic to illustrate what has been omitted.)

4.    Evaluation of the Text:

Give a brief summary of all the weaknesses and strengths you have found in the book.  Does it do what it set out to do?

Evaluate the book's overall usefulness to the audience it is intended for.  (Is it suitable for other audiences as well?)

Note why you liked/disliked the book.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF

  1. Does my introduction clearly set out who the author is, what the book is about and what I think about the value of the book?
  2. Have I cleared presented all the facts about the book: title, author, publication details, and content summary?
  3. Is my review well organized with an easily identifiable structure?
  4. Have I represented the book's organizational structure and argument fairly and accurately?
  5. Have I presented evidence from the book to back up statements I have made about the author, his/her purpose and about the structure, research and argument of the book?
  6. Have I presented a balanced argument about the value of the book for its audience.  (Harsh judgments are difficult to prove and show academic intolerance.)