How to Write an Academic Book Review. Exhaustive Details for Students
What Does It Take to Write a Book Review?
Academic book review requires conscious reading and knowledge beyond pages. So, what does it take to write a book review? Before announcing a verdict, you must analyze various parameters, such as the language, strength of arguments, historical consistency, author’s life path. Critique improves the quality of information and helps readers to save their time.
Prepare a bibliography. You will put it on top of the essay to identify which work exactly you’ve analyzed. This includes:
- publisher and date
- e-book website
Find out details about the author. It might be:
- a historical period when they lived;
- scientific, artistic, political activity;
- ideology, goals, previous achievements;
- occasions that changed the author’s views;
- previous publications.
Then, slowly continue to the book:
- determine its genre;
- find out its topic by reading the back cover, prologue, abstract, or summary;
- analyze references for credibility and possible selectivity;
- recall works on the theme you can compare the book with.
After you’ve created a general image, proceed to the contents. In paper format, you can underline sentences, bookmark, glue stickers with extra information. In an e-book, you can save pages, highlight, and copy paragraphs to a document. Organize notes to save your time for the future.
Things in Book to Focus on
Basic advice—mark unique and catchy information. Then, while reading, ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the writer trying to say? What are they concerned about?
- Does the book confront the status quo? Is it a summary, new theory, call to action?
- Do you feel persuaded by the arguments presented?
- Is there something the author mistakenly believes in?
- Can you suspect the author in fabricating?
- What kind of infographics the writing has? Are they correct?
- Is it difficult to read? What confuses you? What would you change to make the writing sound better?
- Is the book intended for professionals, or is it age-rated? What problems does it solve? Which kind of people may need it?
Don’t research the subject alone if it’s not an author’s invention. Describe what the work offers to the reader and argue its quality, relying on your sources. Pay attention to grammar, format, and consistency of thoughts as well.
Common Types of Book Review
For your academic paper, use either critical review or descriptive type. The professor may ask you to write the first one because it involves deeper research. Most reviews range from 500 to 1500 words, which is also determined by your instructor.
The descriptive review is an analytical summary. Take your reader through significant chapters of the story that reveal the writer’s mind and reasons they think like that.
Don’t spoiler the plot nor retell it. Instead, evaluate
- the subject of the talk,
- features that make the work memorable,
- writer’s language skills, methods of impact, clarity of thoughts, and
- parts that evoked a range of feelings in you.
Feel free to insert quotes where the author shares their personal opinion.
The critical review is an extended descriptive type. It puts the story into a larger context to compare it with similar works of its kind. Thus, you get the opportunity to judge about
- the reliability of facts,
- biases, ignorance of conflicting sources,
- compliance with methodology, the logic of statements, and
- the popularity of the author’s opinion inside a community.
This kind of review tells more about the writer’s professionalism than of the contents alone. It also sheds light on the quality of research in the field.
How to Structure Your Essay
First, read the academic requirements carefully. You will know which writing format style to use and points to develop in the article. Then follow the structure below, which is common to all types of review.
The title usually consists of the book and the author. Right below it, you write a comprehensive bibliography that has been discussed earlier.
Begin with the genre, purpose, and significance of the writing. You can also add specific facts, for example, circumstances and obstacles of publishing it. You must create a lucid image, so readers can catch up with the subject in the next passage.
Ask yourself, what do future readers definitely must know? What should they be prepared for? What will draw their interest? The body of a book review is the right place to expose the results of your scrutiny. Not to retell the plot.
Embed your opinion into all corners of the essay. It should be supported by quotes, statistics, research, and other materials that can be checked. Don’t simply tell that you like the story, but let the notes speak for you. For example, you can notice that the author masterfully explains complex concepts, or it’s easy to navigate through chapters.
In the end, tell if the work serves its initial purpose. Give a scope of the good and bad sides of it.
The correct review teaches people to appreciate beauty and think critically, and how to write a book review. It raises the value of books by pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of writers. The more you practice, the more useful your articles become.