HOW TO BECOME A BOOK REVIEWER?
July 8, 2017>
A review is a certain opinion about a publication targeted at forming specific points of view concerning a literary work. As a rule, it is a small text, just for a few pages of standard size, which includes an overview, analysis of main plotlines, and characters. If you do not have any ideas how to write a good book review, first of all, it is better to learn about all possible types:
- The official one is intended for specialized publications and printed goods of national standing. The style of writing is neutral without the bright emotional coloring.
- A functional one, which is necessary to reach particular goals according to the readership. It is worthy to know that the book review structure for the given type is organized according to the rules of publishing houses, which need to sell the whole edition.
- Informative one, which is intended for readers and potential buyers who should decide whether they need this publication. It has to comprise a bit of analysis, a couple of interesting quotations, and phrases from the text.
- Publicistic one that demonstrates a necessity of the given literary work, which can deal with the problem important for the society at a particular moment. To cope with such task, try to learn some steps to write a book review.
- The essay presents your point of view and thoughts. Although, it might include the analysis as well. Usually, it is an academic assignment, given at universities and colleges, or, less frequently, at schools. Such work has to be written according to the guide to writing a book review, which has to be provided by the professor or be available on the website of your academic facility.
- Critical review “analyses” an author and his/her works microscopically, and presents even the smallest mistakes of an author, criticizes his/her world outlook and indicates the flaws.
- Private one – a vivid paper written without limitations concerning the style; there is room for different slang. The given type of critique will give you a possibility to develop your creativity skills.
Taking various tips on writing a good book review into consideration, a reader should mind the type of audience (potential readers), as the style of writing directly depends on this factor. Thus, it is extremely important to focus on potential readers.
Writing critiques is a good chance to elaborate your analytical and writing skills, find some book review ideas, acquaint yourself with editors, and find out how the journal publishing process takes place.
Since a lot of people will not purchase publications unless they have familiarized themselves with a critique and some libraries cannot afford to buy publications unless they have been criticized, a critique of literary works is a very useful business without any doubts. Moreover, sometimes, scholars and researchers in smaller fields join and assign publications to be criticized somewhere.
HOW TO CHOOSE A PUBLICATION?
Consider what kind of work will be helpful when you finalize a paper for publication, pass your exams, and write your academic paper. Academic book review guidelines state that, like any works, such papers take quite a lot of time, and it is best to pick the literary work you are interested in. As a kind of alternative option, some people recommend graduates to center on critiquing anthologies, because this task requires less additional knowledge and the editors may find it not easy to look for people who want to write such papers. Despite the fact that a traditional critique implies working with one publication, the editors will always welcome critiques, which address a few book review topics.
Pick the work that has been published within the last three or four years, has the topic you have some additional knowledge of, and which belongs to your field of expertise.
Works on the most relevant issues are frequently of great interest to editors. It may turn out to be rewarding to choose an obscure but still useful publication to attract attention to it. To get rid of various complications, it is better not to comment on those publications written by your husband/wife, any other family members or close friends.
To define an appropriate literary work in your field of expertise:
- Dig for the number and visit the university or college library stacks. Search the number to find out if anything related or similar was published in the past two or three years.
- Address any database or your university library online and do a search, applying several keywords related to your field. You can assure yourself that every book review guide contains these recommendations.
- Read magazines, which are engaged in criticizing works before publication in order to learn more about interesting publications that are coming out in the nearest future. At the same time, you may even receive copies for critique before they are published. Note that editors like the reviews of newly published literary works. Therefore, do not miss this chance and start working on your assignment right now.
- Ask faculty members for support, recommendations, and, perhaps, some examples of critical book reviews. Keep in mind that there is nothing shameful in asking for some assistance.
Once you have defined a few publications, turn over the pages. Choose the one that you consider the most interesting. Avoid choosing the material you seriously disagree with. Even if you feel that you know how to write a critical book review properly, do not forget to check with the main requirements for own convenience, as it might help to avoid the further issues.
HOW TO PICK A JOURNAL?
Define a couple of journals that publish critiques. In correspondence with book review tips, limit your search and apply a few key words from your field; then, note those journals where the results have been published.
It is better to get in touch with an editor before you start writing because the majority of journals do not take some unasked-for critiques. Hence, find an email address to send the letter to, and inform the editors about the publication you prefer to critique together with your qualifications for this task.
Other reasons why you might like to address editors are that they may provide you with the copy of the publication. Of course, you do not need to wait for it if you have access to the library copy. If editors confirm that they would like a paper written by you, be sure to ask if the journal possesses any book review guidelines for submission. It will help you understand how long their critiques tend to be.
READING THE PUBLICATION
Take a pen and sit at a desk. During your reading session, stop frequently in order to depict your personal responses, note obvious statements of the publication’s purpose and argument, and sum up the argument. If you are going through the work meticulously, putting together the critical book review outline, the paper itself should be straightforward and quick. Take particular notes of the index, the preface, the table of contents, and the title.
Some questions to bare in mind when reading:
- How can the publication be compared to some other publications in the same sphere?
- Who would benefit from choosing and reading the given publication?
- Are the illustrations/visuals/tables helpful (if any)?
- Is the publication properly organized and well-written?
- Is the publication thought out to contribute to the discipline or field?
- What are the main arguments in the publication?
It may turn out to be worthy to do an online search in order to get a sense of the author’s writing history, the other critical book review sample, etc. All this may provide you with a necessary context for analyzing the work.
HOW TO COPE WITH THE OUTLINE FOR A BOOK REVIEW?
The outline provides you with an overall grasp of the critique structure in order to eliminate irrelevancies or inessentials, fill in omissions or gaps, and determine the central point your paper will make. When writing an outline, do not forget to:
- Back up your central point or thesis in all parts.
- Jot down all major headings.
- Organize your discussion topics into groups to see such aspects as the character, theme, etc.
- Check your notes and exclude those that have no connection to the thesis.
Everything you have to do here is to remember that writing a book review outline is an essential part as it is a skeleton of the whole paper.
STRUCTURING THE REVIEW
Usually, publication reviews are 700 to 2k words in length. It is best to write about 1k words, although it might be best to check with the publisher first. Look for critical book review format sample to be sure concerning all details the paper has to include. Some people say that a critique has to be composed in a month: two weeks intended for reading the publication, and another two weeks for planning and writing itself.
As the majority of observers compose an essay outline, it is also necessary to try to work on the book review outline before composing the paper. The traditional publication critique structure has to include the following details:
- Title with the inclusion of the complete bibliographic citation.
- One paragraph that identifies the thesis and whether an author reaches the publication’s stated purpose.
- A couple of paragraphs that sum up the publication.
- One paragraph concerning the publication’s strong points.
- One paragraph concerning the publication’s weak points.
- The other one about the estimation of the publication’s weak and strong points.
Observing this simple structure of a critical book review can turn the paper into more successful one.
WRITING YOUR CRITIQUE
When you have finished familiarizing yourself with the publication, spend about two weeks writing. If you have the slightest doubts on how to compose this paper, look through the guidelines for book review once again. Sending a publication to a peer-reviewed journal can be a scary experience, but sitting on the critique for a very long time will not make it less so. Only sequential steps to writing a book review will turn your assignment into an easier one. Follow these steps without any omissions, and you will get a well-organized and well-written paper at the end.
TIPS TO WRITE A BOOK REVIEW
- There is no need to provide the summary – your focus should be on the analysis. Does the work contribute to the field of research? Who should it be helpful/useful for and why? According to the general book review writing tips, it is better to think about the way the written material adds to the knowledge or the ongoing debate on the topic, instead of centering the assessment on the flaws.
- Do not try to guide your writing using the book’s index. Try to arrange the paper around the arguments and vice versa. You can be sure that this way, your paper will look more organized. It means that the correct organization of the paper is half the battle.
- One of the good tips lies in judging the text by its intention, not your own one. Do not criticize the author because he/she failed to compose the publication as you think he/she should have composed. This is one of the main steps for writing a good book review
Do not spend too much time concentrating on what has not been covered. No text can comprise the richness of all topics in the world. Therefore, the issue addressed in the majority of critiques is that the work lacks information on some parts of the topic. Another tip is to focus much on the publications the author did not cite. When you use their bibliography to show your own knowledge, readers will obviously note that. Hence, keep such criticism brief and look through the sample of a critical book review if you are not sure about what you have written.
COMMON PHRASES TO USE
- “ ” is a strong first novel by…
- This novel is based on…
- This enlightening/robust/well-written publication…
- The novel was written by…
Using this critical book review example of ‘the introduction language’ will turn your work into a more successful one.
- The character I like best is…because he/she…
- The plot is absolutely exciting/clever/boring…
- The plot has unexpected twists…
- The plot focuses on…
- The story is told by…
- The story takes place…
Do not forget to familiarize yourself with each of these brief statements and come up with a few of your own to use. Also, you can take a look at any good critical book review template to see what kind of phrases are used there, and, maybe, borrow some of them.
Opinion and general comments:
- What I did not like was…
- What I liked the best was…
- What we do not learn until the end is…
- It has a surprising/dramatic/tragic end.
- The story is totally convincing of…
Expressing your opinion is always quite a difficult thing to do. If the above-mentioned statements do not satisfy you, it is possible to address book review guidelines. College assignments of this type always demand your full concentration. Taking this into account, do not whistle past the graveyard when encountering any difficulties on your way because you can always look for other writing alternatives.
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