How to Write a Book Review

Jun 02, 2017

So, you have got a book to review and chances are big that it will be published if you manage your job well. How to write such kind of paper? Some writers consider reviews as the opportunity to advance their own strongly held opinions and to do it at great length. However, you should not do that (neither should they!). Keep in mind that you have to describe a book and you usually have just about 1,000 words to do that. Of course, your readers might be interested in your opinion, but first of all they are interested in the book itself and in the question whether it is worth reading.

Just like any other genre of academic writing, book reviews have a standard structure. It can differ a bit depending on the discipline and publication venue, but there are basic writing tips on how to complete a book review.

Write One Paragraph for Each of the Following Sections

Introductory Paragraph

Every well-written academic paper has an introduction. Start with the general explanation of the topic or issue described in the book. The introduction is your only chance to grab your reader’s attention and make him/her want to continue reading.

Summary of Argument

In this section, you should do your best to briefly and clearly summarize the argument of the book. What is the purpose of this book? If there is a clearly identifiable thesis statement in the work, you can also quote it directly.

About the Author

While writing a book review, you should also include some basic biographical information about its author. Write a couple of words about who he/she is; what he/she is known for; what certain sort of qualifications and expertise he/she brings to the subject; what are the ways the work you are writing about can fit into a bigger research or career trajectory.

Summary of Content

It is necessary to describe the research methods, which are used in the book and the range of substantive material, which is covered in it.

Strengths

You should identify one or a couple of certain areas, in which the book is great. You can point out just a single major strength if it is an academic work.

Weaknesses

You also have to identify certain area or areas, in which the work could be improved. It can be related to something you really believe is incorrect, but it would be better if it is something that the author omitted or neglected to address in detail.

Concluding Paragraph

Make sure to end your writing with a concluding statement, which summarizes your point of view. Besides, you should clearly identify the audience that in your opinion would appreciate reading it.
Writing good reviews comes with experience, as any other skill. Everything that is required from you is to take the first step in that direction.