Reviewing Books and Evaluating their Content and Impact

Parts of a Book Review Book reviews are a critical assessment of a written work. They include a summary, a character analysis, and a thesis statement. The introduction of a review should provide basic bibliographic information, including the complete title of the work (including any subtitles), author, editor, publisher, and date of publication. It should also include the number of pages. Summary Book reviews are a form of literary criticism that focuses on evaluating an author’s ideas, writing style and quality. A book review is similar to a book report, but the difference is that a report typically provides objective summary information and a recommendation of whether or not to read the book. Book or article reviews include a brief description of the book and its contents, additional details about the author’s field or genre, a general overview of the topic and a clear statement of the reviewer’s reaction and evaluation. The evaluation section should be brief, as the writer should focus on evaluating the overall content of the book. A good review is a tool for authors to promote their work and gain reader engagement. It can also be used to help writers build their brand, building trust and converting readers into fans. Book reviews are an effective way to evaluate a new book, helping readers decide to buy or avoid it. Character Analysis An important part of the book review is the character analysis. Identify the main characters and explain how they each contribute to the story. You should also analyze their motivations and personality traits. It is also helpful to explore whether or not the character changes throughout the story. Authors often use characterization to highlight larger themes in their work. For example, a character in To Kill a Mockingbird might serve as a metaphor for racial prejudice or injustice. Identifying these themes is essential to understanding the character and its role in the story. Finally, it is important to evaluate the author’s writing style and technique. This can help build a sense of trust with prospective readers and convert them into fans. This can be accomplished by analyzing the overall structure and organization of the book, as well as evaluating the author’s ability to communicate their ideas effectively. Thesis Statement A book review differs from a book report in that it includes both summary and critical/evaluative comment. A good thesis statement is important for unifying your evaluation of the text. Thesis statements are a key part of any writing assignment, but they have special significance in a book review or article review because they set the tone for your argument and guide your analysis. Thesis statements should be arguable, narrow, specific and verifiable. See the Writing Center’s handout on thesis statements for tips and examples. The last portion of your assessment should be an evaluation of the author’s effectiveness and achievement of her purposes and goals. For example, you might assess whether she provides enough evidence for her scholarly claims, what kind of audience the book would appeal to and whether the book makes a contribution to its subject area. Also, you might consider how the book compares to other works on the same topic. Conclusions The conclusion portion of a book review summarizes and restates the thesis of the book and makes a final evaluation. Generally, this part of the review balances the strengths and weaknesses to unify the overall assessment of the book and the impact it will have on its audience. It also identifies whether further research is required on the subject and what contributions the book has made to its field. A book review is similar to a standard essay, but it usually begins with the author and title of the book. The first paragraph then outlines the content of the book, including how it is organized and the theme or topic that it explores. The body paragraphs then critique the work by analyzing specific aspects, such as how the author uses characters and how well the story is told. The conclusion paragraph then sums up the book and reflects on your personal opinion of it. It may also include a recommendation for readers. Go Home…