You are reading the book and evaluating it. It is a judgement about the text. Here are 10 ways to write a compelling and effective book review.
1. Do not be afraid to voice your opinion.
You must make a value judgement when reviewing a book. Do you think this book is good, bad or somewhere in-between? Consider why someone would read a book review. They want to find out if the book is worth the time and money.
However, this doesn’t mean that your review has to be simple. How to Write Anything explains that even movie critics don’t give their verdicts until they have discussed the subject in depth.
Also, it is important to remember that even a positive review could acknowledge weaknesses while still being positive. It is likely that the reader will find it useful if you highlight any weaknesses in your book. These weaknesses should be incorporated between praise to avoid a negative start or finish.
2. Establish criteria for judging
Criteria refers to the criteria that you use to judge an object. For example, a good pizza might be judged by its greasyness, toppings, and quality. This is your standard.
You would use the restaurant’s service, food quality, and atmosphere to evaluate it. You might also consider the acting and special effects if you were reviewing a movie.
It all depends on your priorities as a reviewer.
Think about what makes a book standout for you as you read it. Are you drawn to books that have a lot of action? Maybe you value the author’s language. No matter what your criteria, you will need to decide how to structure your review. This will help you to identify the most important points in the review’s body.
It will also help readers understand why the book was rated “good” or “bad”.
3. Support your opinion
It is wonderful to have an opinion. However, having an opinion without supporting evidence is not convincing. Readers need evidence to support your opinion about a book. Even if they don’t know it, readers want to support your ideas.
If you review a Dr. Seuss book, and you think it’s an excellent book for children (opinion), then you would want to highlight a specific example to support your opinion. Let’s check out the rhyme in action.
Cite the book directly. Refer to particular chapters or sections. Your reader will be more convinced if you support your ideas.
4. Consider your audience
Whom are you writing to? What are they familiar with the subject? What are they required to know? The person you are writing to will have a huge impact on how you write. Children speak differently than adults. Your boss will interact differently with you than your childhood best friend who was there when you were a child with braces and bangs.
Your language choice will change depending on the person you are writing or speaking to. You voice also changes depending on who you are speaking to or writing for.
When writing your book review, think about your audience and what they are interested in. Avoid jargon or jargon that will require a glossary.
It is a matter of how you want your message to be received so that the audience understands it. Although it takes a lot of work, it is worth it.
5. Authorize your writing
Avoid the following words as much as possible: likely and possibly. Avoid these phrases: It seems, it seems, I believe, In my opinion.
These words and phrases can make your review seem less authoritative and confident than what you want. Fake confidence even if you don’t feel it.
Take a look at the following example.
My opinion is that Dr. Seuss might be the most fascinating writer out there. But, others may disagree.
Instead, try this:
Dr. Seuss is one the most fascinating writers around.
It is our opinion, and that is what we know. There is no need to make your opinion more specific by using words like “probably”. Don’t be afraid to disagree with others or to offend by your opinions on books. Some of the most fascinating discussions are actually those that involve disagreement.
6. Don’t write too many summary sentences
It is helpful to include a summary in a book review. It is likely that the reader has not read the book yet. Because you are trying to understand your audience, it is important to give them a summary of the remainder of the review. The summary is a great place for you to begin by making your reader feel at ease.
However, too much summary is not what the reader wants.
Here are some tips for writing a summary.
* Stick to the main points when summarizing a book. Answer the question: What’s this book about?
* Keep your summary to a maximum of one or two paragraphs, unless you have to include more.
* Do not write about everything that happens in the book.
To get the reader to understand your review, you should include a summary at the beginning of it. After you have made your points, it would be unwise to give a summary at its end.
* Write in your own words. The publisher will provide information on the website and back of the book. Give us your unique interpretation.
7. Compare and contrast
You can also use compare and contrast to support your ideas. Although it may be a while since your school days, you still know how to do this. This is what you do every day.
You might compare your hamburger to any other hamburger you have ever eaten (even if you only see it in your head). If someone asks how Robert Downey Jr. performed in Due Date, they might suggest that you compare his acting with other films such as Iron Man.
Comparing and contrast helps readers understand. This gives both you and the reader common ground. Take a look at the book that you are currently reading. Do you think it could be compared to other books written by the same author? You could also compare it to other books of the same genre.
Maybe this book is unique. It would be worthwhile to tell your readers.
8. Organise your review
Your review can be organized in any way that helps your reader understand your ideas. If the chapters are not in order, even the most well-written story will seem less impressive.
Organization is based on three basic principles: a beginning, middle and an end. It’s as simple as that.
Begin with a brief introduction that introduces the book and perhaps summarizes it. Next, you can use the middle section of your review for your opinion and to support it with examples and quotes. This is a great place to expand on your ideas. Next, conclude your review with a short conclusion. Do not abruptly end in the middle or at the end of your ideas.
Although it might not be something you do naturally, that is exactly what revision is all about. When revising, think about moving information around to make it as clear and effective as possible.
9. Provide helpful information
Although this one isn’t for everyone, it’s worth noting. When I read a book review, it is important to find out where you can purchase the book. It is not easy to find the book. Who is the publisher?
An even better link might be helpful. Amazon can be used as an affiliate program on many blogs. The link will direct the reader to the text you have mentioned so they can purchase them. You also get a commission. You can learn more about Amazon and making money here.
This should be obvious, but mention author and title in your review. Don’t give the reader any chance to be confused. Your review title is not enough. Include the author and title of the review.
10. Stand out
You can write your review with as much freedom as you like, or something else entirely.
Many book reviews use a similar format which works well. But why not try something different? Here are some ideas for book reviews to inspire you:
The title is what grabs attention in all these examples. The title may also suggest a particular organization (e.g. a top ten list). The above examples are not necessarily the same as every other book review.
Explore new angles if you find one.
Writing a book review does not have to be difficult. It can even be enjoyable! The results can be worthwhile if you’re willing to spend the effort to make it convincing, persuasive, and useful to your readers.