Food for Thought, Thought for Action!

How to Write a Book Review




Bill Asenjo

A book review describes, analyzes and evaluates. The review conveys an opinion, supporting it with evidence from the book

Do you know how to write a book review? I didn’t. And even though I knew I didn’t, that didn’t stop me from firmly inserting my foot in my mouth by agreeing to conduct a book review writing workshop for my local Barnes & Noble. I blithely assured myself it would simply be a matter of picking up Book Reviews for Dummies, or something to that effect. Au contraire. It’s easier to find information on bomb-making than book review writing.

So I did what any other resourceful writer on deadline would do; I panicked. Well, for a moment. Quickly composing myself I scrounged the library and internet for every conceivable source that even hinted at the term “book review.” What follows is the result of my gleaning

Before reading, consider:

  • Title – What does it suggest?
  • Preface or Introduction – Provides important information about the author’s intentions or the scope of the book. Can you identify any limitations? Has the author ignored important aspects of the subject?
  • Table of Contents – Shows how the book’s organized — main ideas, how they’re developed (chronologically, topically, etc.)

Points to ponder as you read the entire book:

  • What’s the general field or genre? Does the book fit?
  • From what point of view is the book written?
  • Do you agree or disagree with the author’s point of view?
  • Make notes as you read, passages to quote in your review.
  • Can you follow the author’s thesis, “common thread”?
  • What is the author’s style? Formal? Informal? Suitable for the intended audience?
  • Are concepts well defined? Is the language clear and convincing? Are the ideas developed? What areas are covered, not covered?How accurate is the information?
  • Is the author’s concluding chapter, the summary, convincing?
  • If there are footnotes, do they provide important information? Do they clarify or extend points made in the text?
  • If relevant, make note of the book’s format – layout, binding, etc. Are there maps, illustrations? Are they helpful?
  • Is the index accurate? What sources did the author use — primary, secondary? Make note of important omissions.
  • What did the book accomplish? Is more work needed? Compare the book to others by this author, or books in this field by other authors. (Use the books listed in the bibliography.)

Writing the Review:

  • Include title, author, place, publisher, publication date, edition, pages, special features (maps, etc.), price, ISBN.
  • Hook the reader with your opening sentence. Set the tone of the review. Be familiar with the guidelines — some editors want plot summaries; others don’t. Some want you to say outright if you recommend a book, but not others.
  • Review the book you read — not the book you wish the author had written.
  • If this is the best book you have ever read, say so — and why. If it’s merely another nice book, say so.
  • Include information about the author– reputation, qualifications, etc. — anything relevant to the book and the author’s authority.
  • Think about the person reading your review. Is this a librarian buying books for a collection? A parent who wants a good read-aloud? Is the review for readers looking for information about a particular topic, or for readers searching for a good read?
  • Your conclusion should summarize, perhaps include a final assessment. Do not introduce new material at this point.
  • To gain perspective, allow time before revising.

Writing a Fiction Book Review

Note: You don’t have to answer every question — they’re suggestions!

Points to Ponder:

  • What was the story about?
  • Who were the main characters?
  • Were the characters credible?
  • What did the main characters do in the story?
  • Did the main characters run into any problems? Adventures?
  • Who was your favorite character? Why?

Your personal experiences

  • Could you relate to any of the characters in the story?
  • Have you ever done or felt some of the things, the characters did?

Your opinion

  • Did you like the book?
  • What was your favorite part of the book?
  • Do you have a least favorite part of the book?
  • If you could change something, what would it be? (If you wish you could change the ending, don’t reveal it!)

Your recommendation

  • Would you recommend this book to another person?
  • What type of person would like this book?

Things to Bear in Mind:

Don’t be intimidated by famous authors — many have written mediocre books.

Don’t review books by people you know, love, or hate.

Do you want to be a book reviewer? Start by doing. Write book reviews for local newspapers. If they don’t have a book review section, start one.

If you have a specialty — romance, mystery, dark fantasy — cultivate it, become an expert.

Bill Asenjo, PhD, CRC (basenjo “at” avalon.net) began writing seriously to maintain his sanity while completing his PhD dissertation, His work appears in publications ranging from Chicken Soup for the Soul to SUCCEED and the Gale Medical Encyclopedia. He conducts writing workshops for Barnes & Noble, Kirkwood Community College, Office Depot and teaches freelance writing at Kirkwood Community College. In a former lifetime — before multiple brain tumor surgeries — Bill had been a bartender, New York City cabdriver, college dropout, and construction worker, among other less-illustrious occupations.

36 thoughts on “How to Write a Book Review

  1. សូមអរគុណ​សំរាប់ពត៌មានល្អៗ

  2. នៅស្រុកខ្មែរយើងមិនសូវមាននរណានិយមធ្វើវិវេចនាសៀវភៅឡើយ។ ហេតុនេះយើងគួរលើកកំពស់ជំនាញនេះ។

  3. It is not an easy taks or job unless the person is good on critical thinking and interpretation of the story

  4. Thanks for the article. It was very helpful.

  5. Pingback: How to review a book – maybe. | Blogger Critics Network

  6. It may take me a whilst to finish reading by way of all of your posts, but I can already tell that I actually like your composing style. I hope to hear much more from you!

  7. whoah this blog is fantastic i love studying your posts.

    Keep up the great work! You realize, a lot of persons are searching round for this info,
    you could aid them greatly.

  8. Face the family “competitive”, “and female Cheng – Feng” high expectations – Drum dryer,Artificial sand maker and
    other machines are the sand making equipment,, facing the school high
    test scores pressure of study, the network has become middle school
    students from burden and pressure “bomb shelter,” one
    of the academic and psychological pressure release burden the spirit of paradise.
    Which they can further retrieve at a travel kiosk , travel shop , airport check-in desk, or at the hotel , while travelling.
    Because Leapster Games are able to share so that
    it saves major if you are buying tablets for siblings.

  9. Everything is very open with a really clear explanation of the issues.
    It was definitely informative. Your website is very helpful.
    Thank you for sharing!

  10. Good day! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group?
    There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content.

    Please let me know. Thanks

  11. fantastic post, very informative. I ponder why the other specialists of this
    sector don’t notice this. You should proceed your writing.
    I am sure, you’ve a huge readers’ base already!

  12. Thanks , I have just been looking for information approximately this subject
    for a long time and yours is the greatest I’ve came upon till now.
    But, what concerning the conclusion? Are you positive concerning the source?

  13. Wow, that’s what I was seeking for, what a data! existing here at this website, thanks admin
    of this web page.

  14. I still remember one of the headlines in a newspaper where they were advertising the arrival of the cell-phone: You’ll be able to phone
    from your shopping trolley in the grocery store.
    DISH Network provides you the chance to record
    more of what you love to watch with a 1 TB hard drive, which is the largest in US television industry.
    Synthesizer sound is right heard more than monitor speakers.

  15. Hello my friend! I wish to say that this post is
    awesome, nice written and include almost all vital infos.
    I’d like to see extra posts like this .

  16. I’d like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this blog.
    I really hope to see the same high-grade content from you later on as
    well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has
    encouraged me to get my very own site now 😉

  17. Thanks , I have just been searching for information approximately this topic for a
    long time and yours is the best I’ve came upon so far.
    But, what in regards to the bottom line? Are you certain concerning the source?

  18. I am really inspired together with your writing talents
    and also with the layout in your weblog. Is that this
    a paid theme or did you customize it your self? Either way stay
    up the nice quality writing, it is uncommon to look a nice blog like
    this one today..

  19. I have read so many articles regarding the blogger lovers but this article is actually a good article,
    keep it up.

  20. Hello i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anywhere,
    when i read this paragraph i thought i could also make comment
    due to this brilliant article.

  21. While using dermatologist recommended wrinkle creams might be more expensive, you will be guaranteed a product that is both higher quality
    and more safe. Skin care professionals everywhere
    all agree that people should begin using anti-wrinkle cream as early as in their 20s.

    Beatitude Medical Spa in San Diego helps you reverse the
    effects of aging.

  22. Thank you for any other magnificent post. The place else may anyone get that kind of information in such an ideal manner of writing?

    I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I am at the look for such info.

  23. Outstanding post however , I was wondering if
    you could write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more.

  24. Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this web site before but after browsing through many of the posts I
    realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m certainly happy I
    stumbled upon it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking
    back often!

  25. hey there and thank you for your information – I have definitely picked up anything new from right here.
    I did however expertise a few technical points
    using this site, since I experienced to reload the site lots of times previous to I could get it to load properly.
    I had been wondering if your web hosting is OK? Not that I’m complaining, but sluggish loading
    instances times will often affect your placement in google and could damage
    your quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords.
    Anyway I’m adding this RSS to my e-mail and
    can look out for much more of your respective intriguing content.
    Ensure that you update this again very soon.

  26. I couldn’t resist commenting. Exceptionally well written!

  27. Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this website.
    It’s simple, yet effective. A lot off times it’s very difficult to
    get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness annd visual appearance.
    I must say you’ve done a fantastic job with this. Additionally,
    the blog loads very fast for me on Safari. Exceptional Blog!

  28. Everything is very open with a precise clarification of the issues.
    It was truly informative. Your website is extremely helpful.
    Thanks for sharing!

  29. That is very fascinating, You’re an overly skilled blogger.
    I’ve joined your feed and sit up for looking for more of your wonderful
    post. Additionally, I have shared your website in my social networks

  30. Your style is so unique in comparison to other people I’ve read stuff from.
    Thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I’ll just book mark this site.

  31. I am in fact grateful to the owner of this website who
    has shared this enormous piece of writing at at this time.

  32. If you would like to obtain much from this piece of writing then you have to apply such techniques to
    your won blog.

  33. Hey great website! Does running a blog such as this take a lot of work?
    I’ve virtually no knowledge of programming however I was hoping to start my own blog in the near future.
    Anyway, should you have any recommendations or techniques for
    new blog owners please share. I understand this is off subject nevertheless I simply
    had to ask. Cheers!

  34. I pay a quick visit daily a few blogs and sites to
    read posts, but this web site offers feature based content.

  35. Insane! Who the F decided to pass this mess? Having the final quarterly payment due on December 15th right before the Christmas holiday is very screwed up! Thanks Ohio legislators and John Kasich for not looking out for Ohio municipal tax payers! This really needs to be repealed!! Visit site at: chack123

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s