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Steps for writing a good book review


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Poll: Did you find this guide useful? (18 member(s) have cast votes)

Did you find this guide useful?

  1. Yes (48 votes [87.27%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 87.27%

  2. No (1 votes [1.82%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 1.82%

  3. Maybe (6 votes [10.91%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 10.91%

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#1 Kell

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Posted 21 October 2005 - 08:27 PM

I found this rough "how to" guide online & thought you guys might find it of interest:

Steps for Writing a Good Book Review
* Introduce the subject, scope, and type of book
* Identify the book by author, title, and sometimes publishing information.
* Specify the type of book (for example, fiction, nonfiction, biography, autobiography). Help your readers to review with perspective.
* Mention the book's theme.
* Sometimes you will need to include background to enable reader(s) to place the book into a specific context. For example, you might want to describe the general problem the book addresses or earlier work the author or others have done.

Briefly summarize the content
* For a nonfiction book, provide an overview, including paraphrases and quotations, of the book's thesis and primary supporting points.
* For a work of fiction, briefly review the story line for readers, being careful not to give away anything that would lessen the suspense for readers.

Provide your reactions to the book
* Describe the book: Is it interesting, memorable, entertaining, instructive? Why?
* Respond to the author's opinions: What do you agree with? And why? What do you disagree with? And why?
* Explore issues the book raises: What possibilities does the book suggest? Explain. What matters does the book leave out? Explain.
* Relate your argument to other books or authors: Support your argument for or against the author's opinions by bringing in other authors you agree with.
* Relate the book to larger issues: How did the book affect you? How have your opinions about the topic changed? How is the book related to your own course or personal agenda.

Conclude by summarizing your ideas
* Close with a direct comment on the book, and tie together issues raised in the review. Briefly restate your main points and your thesis statement if your teacher requires it. If you like, you can offer advice for potential readers.

#2 Loricat

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 12:27 AM

Great guide!

I just posted a review and I wish I had read this first. I'm cutting and pasting this for next time. :D

#3 Kell

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 05:16 PM

I have to admit, I don't really follow any set format myself, but when I first started writing reviews (way back in high school) for books, we had a prescribed format & I found it helped to get me started. Now, I tend to go with the flow - whatever comes out, comes out, but if you've never written a review before, it can be a daunting task to be faced with.

Glad you liked it - there are loads of various guides online, but I rather liked the simplicity of this one. :D

#4 Tinymoz

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 03:46 PM

I wish I'd read this before posting too :smile2: that'll teach me!

#5 Blossom

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 04:54 PM

I'm useless at reviewing books, which is a shame, as there is often a lot I'd like to say about them...

#6 Michelle

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 05:01 PM

I think that as long as you can give a constructive opinion, and back up your feelings, it doesn't have to be too structured.

#7 Echo

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Posted 18 May 2008 - 04:08 AM

One thing I like about this guide is it gives you things to think about before writing your review. It directs your response to the book so that the review you write is more constructive and helpful to other people.

#8 supergran71

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Posted 18 May 2008 - 03:18 PM

I'm useless at reviewing books, which is a shame, as there is often a lot I'd like to say about them...

Just say it then Blossom, nobody minds;)

#9 Kell

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Posted 18 May 2008 - 04:02 PM

And anyone who doesn't feel comfortable writing a review can always post their comments and start a discussion on the book they've read in the general books discussion section - that's always more than welcome too. :smile2:

#10 Heather

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 02:49 PM

Hi Kell

I will be printing the guidlenes of because when I write a review I find it difficult to find the words to describe. Many :welcome2: for all the info Kell :D

Heather

#11 ArthurDent

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Posted 22 March 2009 - 11:51 AM

Yes sir, Indeed. I always stumble at these things, finding it difficult to put down the words in an orderly fashion. Thanks. I am sure going to try this out on my reviews (and I plan a few :-))

#12 princess

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 05:24 PM

An excellent guide. Well thought out. Thank you!

#13 sirinrob

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 10:28 PM

I'll use for my next one see how it goes. how i write a full review now is similar. The only problem from my point of view is that using this my reviews could get on the long side which might bore people - more than 5 lines and some people wont read....

#14 BookJumper

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 10:55 PM

The only problem from my point of view is that using this my reviews could get on the long side which might bore people - more than 5 lines and some people wont read....

I wouldn't think that's such a risk on a forum such as this :lol: to be honest reviews that are too short usually put me off more than ones which are too long, they don't say much ergo don't help me make up my mind whether I should read book x or not... which IMHO is what a review should do. If it doesn't, it's a comment.

#15 Ben

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 10:59 PM

I this guide is superb - credit to Kell there - for when you are starting out writing reviews. It gives you a kind of structure to base your opinions and thoughts on, then you can add to that in your own way. They're just ideas, nothings set when it comes to a review. As long as you put your own thoughts across and back them up, then the rest is up to you. I followed this at first when I started, then as I continued to review I just found it easier to let my thoughts flow through the keyboard how they wanted too. :mrgreen:

#16 Kell

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 05:36 AM

Thanks Ben, but I just want to point out that I didn't actually write the guide - I found it online ages ago - I just wish I could remember where!

#17 Ben

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 08:00 AM

Ah well in that case credit to you for finding it. Either way it's very helpful so thank you. :mrgreen:

#18 Mark Cool

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 12:50 PM

This is a great post by Kell and this is indeed informative.

#19 Book Nutter

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 09:18 AM

Thanks this will help me a lot!!!

#20 Eliza1

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 03:59 PM

Really good guide to reviewing. I want to have a go at writing one myself so this thread will really help :)




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