How to Write a Book Review

One wishes the editors had paid more attention during the publishing process….. One wishes the author had not published this book…. “It can never hurt to build a relationship with a journal and its editors.” Well you can receive spam requesting more of the same until you die or your e-mail address changes, for one. I wouldn’t call that part a relationship, relationships are between humans, not between a human and a database of poor souls who were helpful once. % of people told us that this article helped them.

The following adjectives can be used to give a positive review . The following phrases can be used to indicate a suitable audience for the book. It is important to carefully distinguish your views from those of the author to ensure that you do not confuse writing an academic book review your reader. In general, authors tend to use the following methods, exclusively or in combination. Never hesitate to challenge an assumption, approach, or argument. Be sure, however, to cite specific examples to back up your assertions carefully.

In review

Also, offer relevant context for your analysis and declare your thesis. Cement your understanding by checking out how to write a book review example from a list of samples provided previously. Pay attention to how key ideas from this guide are implemented. Also, don’t forget to explore all the examples of good book reviews for a complete overview.

writing an academic book review

One small advantage is that you get a copy of the book “for free” (admittedly not really worth it in terms of the time you’d put into writing the review) … This is more of an advantage for expensive technical books that you’d like to own.

Organizing Academic Research Papers: Writing a Book Review

It includes a quick summary of the book, the reviewer’s evaluation of the book, and a recommendation about who should read this book. Support your evaluation with evidence from the text and, when possible, state it in relation to other sources. Do they aid in understanding the research problem? Try to present a balanced argument about the value of the book for its audience.

  • Plot Writing an academic book review also requires that you locate the main catalyst of the work’s contents or story.
  • But keep in mind that a bad book takes as long to write as a good one, and every author deserves fair treatment.
  • Provide only necessary parts of a book review.
  • A great place to learn about book reviews is to look at examples.

End your review with a concluding statement summarizing your opinion of the book. You should also explicitly identify a range of audiences whom you think would appreciate reading or otherwise benefit from the book. It is more likely that the author of a scholarly book will look at the existing evidence with a finer eye for detail, and use that detail to amplify and add to existing scholarship. The author may present new evidence or a new “reading” of the existing evidence, in order to refine scholarship and to contribute to current debate. Or the author may approach existing scholarship, events, and prevailing ideas from a more nuanced perspective, thus re-framing the debate within the discipline. It can be worthwhile to do an on-line search to get a sense for the author’s history, other books, university appointments, graduate advisor, and so on. Writing a review for a controversial book can be a very strong pro instead of, as you say, a con.

Evaluation of the Books Content: Content and Style

We believe in connecting people through the art of reading. If you want to make it even more interesting, try adding some additional props such as candles, pens, highlighters, coffee mugs, chocolate, cupcakes, pearls, feathers, torn pages, etc.

This can be as innocuous as acknowledging the author’s family or the publisher. However, an author may acknowledge prominent scholars or subject experts, staff at key research centers, or people who curate important archival collections. In these particular cases, it may be worth noting these sources of support in your review. A review gives the reader a concise summary of the content. This includes a relevant description of the research topic and scope of analysis as well as an overview of the book’s overall perspective, argument, and/or purpose. What academic discipline was the author trained in? What other books, articles, or conference papers has s/he written?

Summary of Argument

However, you can begin differently based on your audience and argument. Generally, you must include the author’s name, manuscript title, and primary theme. Besides, identify the work’s context in your book review introduction as this informs your claim. Support your evaluation with evidence from the text and, when possible, state the book’s quality in relation to other scholarly sources. If relevant, note of the book’s format, such as, layout, binding, typography, etc.

To gain perspective, put the review aside for a few days and then come back to it with fresh eyes.Always use spell check and adjust any grammar or spelling. Nothing undermines a quality review more than bad spelling and grammar. The general rule of thumb is that the first one-half to two-thirds of the review should summarize the author’s main ideas, and at least one-third should evaluate the book. Focus on weaving a description of the book’s setting, narrative voice, and plot within a critical analysis. Avoid simply regurgitating the book’s premise.Don’t give away important details or reveal the ending of the book in your summary, and don’t go into detail about what happens from the middle of the book onwards. Once you have established your heading and your introduction, you can then move into a summary of the book’s themes and main points.Keep the summary short, to the point, and informative. Use quotes or paraphrasing from the book to support your summary.

Book Review Examples

He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. Show More TipsMake sure to read the book thoroughly. Make sure you properly cite all quotes and paraphrasing in your review to avoid plagiarism. A simple way to determine one of the major themes of a book is to sum up the book in one word or sentence. Summarizing the text only without critical evaluation. I mentioned the book’s thesis and stated my claim. Emphasize precise usage of words and sentences, text flow, clarity, and cohesion.

  • If you are keen to write your first book review, a reactive commission is probably the way to go.
  • Content varies according to the type of book i.e. whether it is fact-based or fictional.
  • In a few sentences, describe the time period, major events, geographical scope and group or groups of people who are being investigated in the book.
  • The point is that someone—a professor, a journal editor, peers in a study group—wants to know what you think about a particular work.
  • However, she disagrees with his choice of case study.

It is important to carefully distinguish your views from those of the author so as not to confuse your reader. Be clear when you are describing an author’s point of view versus your own. Illustrate your remarks with specific references and quotations that help to illustrate the literary method used to state the research problem, describe the research design, and analyze the findings. In general, authors tend to use the following literary methods, exclusively or in combination. Strengths and weaknesses or flaws in the book are usually discussed next. It is up to you to decide in what order these should come, but if you assess the book positively overall, do not spend inordinate space on the book’s faults and vice versa.

Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: Writing a Book Review

Give your initial appraisal of the work, including your key observation on the text. Try not to begin with a flat statement such as “This book is interesting.” Begin with an anecdote, a challenging quotation, or a key observation. Determine the author’s principal argument, the chief themes of the text, the kinds of evidence used, and the way in which the author uses them.

writing an academic book review

A prominent reviewer can have a major impact on a book’s reception. Many authors strive to have their books reviewed by a professional because a published review can be a great source of publicity. If you know the person who wrote the book, you should probably avoid reviewing it.

Step 4: Conclusion

Here are a series of questions to focus your thinking as you read a book. Relevant details about who the author is and where he/she stands in the genre or field of inquiry. You could also link the title to the subject to show how the title explains the subject matter.

It is also a way of showing mastery of the topic. The task of the book reviewer is to “tease out” the book’s themes, explain them in the review, and apply a well-argued judgment on the appropriateness of the book’s argument to the existing scholarship in the field. Point “c. how well the book covers its topics and whether it breaks new ground” requires your engagement with the book, and can be approached in a variety of ways.

Using several key words from your field, limit your search to book reviews and note the journals where the results were published. Determine the major arguments and themes of the book. The theme is often a lesson or overall message that the reader perceives between the lines. The theme can also consist of the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a book. Authors may present multiple themes in their writing, especially works of fiction. If the quote is relatable and people can resonate with it, then they would be more likely to continue to read your review and may as well order the book.

writing an academic book review

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