Writing a book review is a buzz with book lovers, whether writing for personal record, publication, or as a part of your assignment or English coursework. Writing a book review helps readers share their reading experience with fellow readers either recommending a book for reading or warning them against it.
Though there is no established format for a book review assignment, as it varies from publication to publication, and molded to suit specific purpose, yet there are a few features which if added makes a review look professional. This structure is based on the commonly accepted Book review formats that are used in literary magazines, newspapers and elsewhere.
Structure of a Book Review
1. Mention these details at the beginning of a book review: Name of the Book, Author, Publisher, Year of Publication, Place of Publication, Binding, number of pages, Price, ISBN, Translation and editions if any. These specifications can be taken from the book cover or the first few pages of the book. These details help reader locate the book under review.
2. Introduction: When writing an introduction, you can be flexible exploring the creative and interesting ways to introduce the book. Begin by sharing your first impression of the book and how it changed over your reading, you may also choose to begin with a comparison of the text with a similar one you had read, whatever be the introduction, make sure it your genuine impression of the book.
3. Summary: Writing a summary of a book is a skill. Make sure you brief the reader not more than what is already mentioned as a book blurb. The summary should be a teaser rather than a retelling.
4. Highlights: There are many ways of writing a book review, while you can choose to simply relate your impressions and reading experience, on the other hand you can also opt for detailed and evaluative review analyzing a text from a viewpoint or a perspective. When writing an analytical book review as your English coursework, bring to forefront the key points of the text and analyze them in the respective light.
5. Development: Trace the development of the characters and the plot. You may choose to structure your review as per the chapter division or framing your own parameters and structures.
6. Comparison and Conclusion: Make sure you conclude a review by comparing the text with a work of similar theme and content. Bring to light the other works of the author and trace the development of themes, symbols and motifs in the author’s oeuvre.
7. Indent Quotations along with parenthesis: When citing sentences from the book for reference, you must indent the quotations an inch from the text margin, along with parenthetical details. This helps the reader locate the dialogue or the text in the book and use it for reference. Parenthetical details must include the page number of the book, name of the speaker, if not mentioned in the paragraph.
Do not confuse a Book review with a Book report. When writing a review for your English coursework, you have to simply share your reading experience.