English vocabulary building tips: Writing a Book Review- The Ultimate Guide
As an online English speaking course in India, we encounter a lot of students who are fluent English speakers, but struggle to some extent when its comes to vocabulary. A rich vocabulary is not only about spoken English but is reflected more in one’s writing style.
All online English tutors recommend reading books to learn English vocabulary. But if its reflective writing that you wish to improve, then writing book reviews is something you must consider! Writing a book review is not just about summarizing, it is mainly about presenting a critical discussion of the book, so that others get an idea of the content.
Readers always wait for the opinion of the books that the other book lovers might have read. Whether you've loved the book or not, if you give your honest and detailed thoughts, people will find new books that are right for them.
Most online spoken English classes will agree that an effective book review describes what is on the page, analyzes how the book tried to achieve its purpose, and expresses reactions from a unique perspective.
Thus, no wonder a well-written book review helps students to engage critically with a text, respond to a variety of different writing genres personally, critically evaluate a text and improve their own thinking, writing, reading, and writing skills.
Things to remember while writing a book review:
If you are interested in writing a book review, here are a few essential tips on how to write an engaging book review.
1. Assess the Book: Before you start writing, take some time to assess the book. Ask yourself some important questions about the text and jot down notes.
- Genre is the book? Is it fiction or nonfiction?
- Author and his viewpoint?
- Major themes in the book? Any main ideas?
- What are the key aspects of the writer’s style? How does it fit into the wider literary world?
- How do the characters and events in the book relate to the theme?
- Is there a primary conflict in the book? How does this develop over the course of the text?
- What was the author trying to accomplish? Has he been able to accomplish his goal?
- Your thoughts about the book?
2. Introduce the Book: A short quote or anecdote about the book or any other type of hook to capture the attention of the readers can be used as a start. Necessary information such as title, author, and kind of book should be also included. In the introduction, the thesis statement used by the author or the main theme of a work of fiction should be also covered. Finally, include your own thesis statement that will be the main idea of your review. For Example- Jane Eyre is one of the most cherished Victorian novels as it transcends time and resonates with readers today.
3. Provide a Short Summary of the Book: After introducing the book, create a summary to give your readers some background related to the book. Comment on the aspects of the content. Try to avoid writing in detail about anything that happens from about the middle of the book onwards. If the book is part of a series, it can be useful to mention this, and whether you think you'd need to have read other books in the series to relish this one. Keep the summary to one or two paragraphs without giving any spoilers or revealing plot twists.
4. Give Your Analysis: Now it's time to give your opinion on the book. Add details from the text, such as the point of view of the book, the major themes, and the characters.
You can also try to include the following things:
- Cover the author's style of writing and look at his or her cohesion, clarity, flow of the text, and use of precise words and ease of language.
- Discuss the author's descriptions and narration, pointing out whether he or she explained facts or persuade the readers of the validity of an issue.
- - Check if the book met its goal and whether you would recommend it to others and why.
- - Analyze whether the book suited its intended audience and how well the book has achieved its goal.
- - Discuss what the book has left out and what specific points are not convincing.
5. End with an Impressive Conclusion: Restate your thesis statement by touching on the major points. Examine the strengths and weaknesses of the book and discuss whether you would recommend the book to others or otherwise. Never introduce new material in your conclusion or discuss a new idea that was not examined in your introduction and body paragraphs as it might be confusing for the readers. You can also give the book a numerical score, a star rating, a thumbs up or thumbs down. Let your audience know your rationale for choosing a particular rating.
A quick reference guide to avoid common mistakes in book reviews:
You can use the above tips to write a Book Review. Also, there are a few things to understand to avoid making mistakes in book reviewing.
- Don’t begin with hyperbolic or exaggerated statements. Be clear and defensible.
- Write your idea in a straightforward manner with easy use of language which entertains the reader.
- Avoid repetitiveness and redundancy in your review. A paragraph that circulates the same idea can be boring for the readers.
- Avoid over-explication of plot. Never describe concretely anything in the plot past the midway point in the book. Just provide enough information to know whether the book is a good fit for the readers and thus worth spending time and money on.
- Avoid writing too lengthy book reviews. Write relevant content for the readers to understand.
- Don’t try to limit assumptions. Most general-interest journals are read by all kinds of people. Therefore, if a woman has written the novel, do not address your review as if no man will ever read the book, or the review and vice versa.
- Do not review anything by anyone you know or have had any contact with in your professional or personal life.
Writing book reviews offers students opportunities to develop their writing skills. This practice can be valuable standalone activities or serve as a part of a series of activities engaging with a particular text. Learning how to write a book review is one of the best ways to learn about reflective writing, and it’s a useful skill for anyone who enjoys reading.
Thus, pay attention to length and make every word count. Make sure you proofread as a review with several errors is confusing to read and may not be taken seriously by the readers.
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