Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Guest Post: Crafting a Simple Book Review

As you may already know, a great portion of Minding Spot's blog content in dedicated to book reviews. I love reading them—they give me some great insight into different pieces of work and either persuade me to check out some book titles (or avoid them entirely). But as much as I love reading them, I also enjoy writing them as well. But writing reviews can sometimes get a little tricky—they aren't exactly like formulating a grade school book report and involve way more than just scribbling down a summary. It's more of a critical analysis/ assessment of the book. That said, if you ever find yourself in situation where you'd like to write a book review for Minding Spot (or maybe for your own blog or for some sort of assignment) below are some simple tips to teach you how to write your own.

Introduction. The introduction can be tackled many different ways, but you always want to try to hook a reader's attention. You can start it off by reciting a powerful quote in the book that reflects the entire premise/theme of the piece for example. Whatever you choose to do, it's important that the very first sentence demonstrates the entire tone of your review. In the introduction, you also want to make sure that you naturally include the full title of the book, the author, and the genre. It may also be a good idea to include some of the publishing information. To close the introduction however, you want to directly state the author's thesis and your own personal thesis about the effectiveness of the book—i.e. in your opinion did the author successfully get his or her point across.

Summary. The summary should be brief. You need to give important information like character names, time periods, and list some interesting facts to make the book seem appealing if that's the impression the book left you with, but by no means do you want to give "everything away" (like the climax or ending). You never want to give away the suspense or "heart" of a new book for several different reasons—not only will it ruin the experience for a potential reader, but if the author feels as though you've jeopardized book sales by giving away the ending you might just get sued for copyright infringement.

Argument. While there technically there is no "correct" way to write a book review, the truth is that all book reviews need to be heavily opinion-based. Not only do you need to blatantly state whether you liked the book or not, but you need to explain why. You also need to explain whether the author successfully got his or her argument across to you, the reader. In order to do this and back up your claims, you will need to evaluate an array of aspects, including the author's background and upbringing (may give you some insight to possible bias), the author's approach, style and organization, whether the facts presented are accurate, as well as compare and contrast it to other works that may be similar. You also need to address how the author developed characters, how themes were introduced, how chapters were constructed and then go even far as to suggest some ways that that the author could have improved its weak areas (if any exist).

Conclusion. Like with the introduction, the conclusion can be simple. You need to briefly affirm your thesis once more, tie loose ends and then of course restate whether you would recommend the book to another reader or not.


Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031

1 comment:

  1. So much great information in this post for book bloggers. Thanks for sharing it, Wendy.


The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

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