Book review constitutes an important aspect of writing both at school and outside the school system. It is one of the highlights at any book launch where the reviewer is expected to present to the audience a brief review of the book in issue in terms of its contents and production quality. Book Review also provides information to the reading public for them to decide, among other things, whether a book is worth the trouble.
This aspect of writing in a way advertises books and therefore, it constitutes a marketing strategy. We are going to focus on data relevant to the book review, procedure/steps for a book review, purpose of book review and format for presenting the book review.
TYPES OF BOOK REVIEW
A book review can be classified into two types:
I. Descriptive book review: This type of book review summarizes a book.
II.Critical book review: Critical book review describes and evaluates a book. We are going to put our interest in the critical book review.
RELEVANT DATA OF A BOOK REVIEW
The following items of information are relevant to writing a book review:
I. The title of the writing usually written: book review.
II. Title of the book.
III. Author of the book
IV. Place of publication
VI. Publishers or publishing companies
VII. Year of publication
VIII. Number of pages (preliminary + main pages)
IX. Selling price if any
X. Name of reviewer
XI. Purpose of book
XII. Content of book
XIII. Organization of book contents
XIV. Evaluation of book
To write a book review, therefore, the reviewer should apply these items to the book in question. Careful and effective application of the steps defines the procedure for a book review.
THE COMPONENT OF A BOOK REVIEW
In a book review, the first step is to read the book carefully and take down some important notes. It should be read at least twice. Your first reading should be to familiarize yourself with the book and to have a first impression of what the book is all about. The second reading is to test what you ‘ve gathered from the book and using evidence in backing your conclusions.
We have many ways in writing a book review. The book review must have one main point and should be arranged in a logical way to back that main point. The review should have four components, which could or couldn’t be used as titles to establish the review:
I. Details of the book
A complete bibliographic record for the book should be provided. Including the total number of pages that makes up the book. In some book reviews, some may decide to list the price and ISBN number of the book.
II. Background of the author
Some research concerning the author of the book. Such as qualifications, upbringing, affiliation, location or experience, preceding publications, etc. and also vital details that the author sheds light about the book being reviewed.
III. Description of the purpose
The is just like the book introduction. Which states the main goal and central idea (some authors often list their purpose in the foreword of the book), then explain how he sets about achieving his/her purpose and developing the idea. Readers reading your description should be able to a clear thought of the main purpose of the book’s and the path the author followed in achieving it.
IV. Evaluation of the book
This is the longest and the most vital part of the book review to evaluate the book: (a) How did the author structure his idea effectively? (b) How did she go about in achieving her goal? It is critical to assess the book against the purpose which the author has stated. If the author plans in writing a story for teenagers, blame her for not evaluating it well and including some facts. You have to criticize the author for leaving out technical facts.
State how the author has achieved his resolution based on your belief, then support your conclusion with concrete proof from the book.
Here are some criteria you might use to evaluate a book:
- Organization. Is the book written clearly and structured logically? Does its purpose is being supported by structural devices to support (e.g., tables, indexes, transitions, titles)?
- Method. If it is a research work, does the methodology used by the author sound suitable?
- Accuracy. How has the author been able to do thorough research? Did you observe any genuine mistakes? Does she denote others’ opinions equally and truly?
- Suitability. How appropriate is the book for its main audience? Is it comprehensible? Is it motivating? Is it beneficial?
- Comparisons. How does the book relate to other works in that same field? What impact does it make? Does it meet conventional norms?
- Impact. How did the book affect you? What was your personal response to it?
Read Also: How to write a Movie Screenplay.
STEPS TO WRITING A BOOK REVIEW
This is a guide for reviewing books. Following these steps will help you stay engrossed on writing a review, not just the summary of a book. and don’t forget, book reviews are concise – they are short but packed with facts. A reviewer says a lot in a very small space. Your review should be FEWER THAN 1000 key in characters, including spaces. That’s about 170 – 180 words. Also, write in the present tense, not past tense.
Step 1: Think of the overall assessment of the book and write a strong declaration reflecting your assessment of the book.
Step 2: Summarize the plot QUICKLY — one or two sentences. Try following one of these formats: Who, what, where, when, why, or The idea of conflict.
Step 3: What did you like or dislike about the book? Add details as necessary to explain but don’t be too long winded. One example is good.
Step 4: Provide information about the literary qualities of the text. This may be about three sentences in length. One is usually not enough. Literary qualities you may have been working with include Plot (exposition, the rise in action, climax, falling action, resolution), irony, conflict, symbolism, flat vs round characters, protagonists vs. antagonists. Others include humor, imagery, setting, foreshadowing or any more you know about.
Step 5: Write a final sentence that states what type of reader would like this story and assist the reader in selecting or not selecting the book by providing a rating: Not Recommended, Additional Selection, Recommended, or Highly Recommended.
Step 6: Reread your book review and check to make sure:
- Have you supported the rating you intend to give the book?
- Your sentences flow smoothly together.
- You have a variety of word choices (not repeating the same words over and over!)
- Check your “typed character” count. If you check the word count, it will usually give the typed character count too.
Book reviews rank amongst the most valuable types of theological writing. They enable readers to keep abreast of recent trends without needing to read every new work. Although descriptive reviews have some value, critical reviews are much more valuable.
The objective of a book review is to evaluate how well the author has achieved her purpose. The book review should describe her purpose and explain how she tried to achieve it. The reviewer should state how well he or she believes the author has achieved his/her purpose, supporting his conclusions with evidence from the book.