The review is much broader than just a report. It can cover many different things which are not necessarily to be mention in a report. In that sense, book review provides a better overlook on the subject and expands thinking to the new levels. As we stated before, it all based on reading, and critical reading as well as careful reading are essential parts of the writing a book review. You need to identify the arguments and analyze them one by one, supporting with citations. The main difference between book report and book review is that in a book review you not only share your opinion and give personal estimation, but also find strengths and weaknesses of the book, relying on appropriate arguments. Your analysis should be enough detailed to give all needed evidences for «esteem» or «disgrace» of ideas in the book. To identify such ideas, you need to use critical reading. Criticism does not mean a negative perception of the ideas, it means to build objective and reasoned arguments for and against author’s ideas, moreover, criticism requires to analyze the way of presenting given ideas in the book. There are working suggestions on how to get prepared for book review:
- Pay attention on your feelings and note them down while reading – this will help you to identify and analyze writing style of the author.
- Cite most audacious expressions and meaningful phrases – this will build an ideas’ map of the book that will support one or another argument.
- Identify the key issue or a question of the book – that will give you the view on what was the most important reason for writing a given book.
- Go through the content and analyze the chapters’ order – that will give understanding on book’s organization & structure (Thematically or Chronologically).
We have defined what is a book review strategy and all necessary preparations so far, but the actual writing process is more exact and more complex. As most of academic works, a book review should start from Introduction, have main body and the conclusion:
- Introduction – starts from a brief, but informative background of the author, period when the book was written and some other possibly important facts which have a reflection on the book’s pages such as public movements of that time. The second part of Introduction should be a thesis, which provides the information about key issues of the book, your clear evaluation and succinct strengths & weaknesses that will be discussed further. Reasoned and not objective arguments can be mentioned also.
- Overview of key arguments – in that chapter you talk about book organization. You list arguments in a prioritized way with evidences, and draw parallels with other books, articles and etc. Your further success in analysis is dependent on how clear have you identified and explained the key arguments from the book.
- Analysis & estimation – is the main chapter, where you use all collected quotations and build your arguments of strengths, weaknesses, merits, shortcomings based on your detailed analysis. You need to give examples which support your statements and arguments. If you state that the book is written in a structural and clear manner, you should bring a relevant example, which proves it.
- Conclusion – is where you summarize all discovered information about the book and bring your own suggestions on how your work can contribute to the understanding of a given book.
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