Writing a book review is a typical student assignment used equally in school and higher education. It requires both creative and academic skills, with the proportion depending on a particular course or major. The main purpose of a book review is to evaluate a student’s writing skills and their capacity to apply critical thinking. Some professionals, such as literary critics, work in this genre too.
While specific requirements, structure and goals may vary between educational institutions, one can outline a general approach that can help you submit a successful paper.
A Step-by-Step Guide on Writing a Book Review
Having a clear plan before getting down to the job is crucial. When you know what you are going to write and what the logical train should be, putting your thoughts on paper becomes just a routine activity, easy and enjoyable.
- 1. The first and foremost prerequisite is reading the book you have to discuss. While obvious, this step is often underestimated. As a result, such a student reads hastily and fragmentarily in parallel with the writing process.
- 2. When reading, make notes. They will help you catch the major points of the work, outline your paper’s structure and return to valid quotations later.
- 3. Read existing critical articles to derive some ideas to use in your work. Be careful to avoid plagiarism. Never copy full passages to your paper. Just understand a critic’s attitude and try to formulate your opinion in your own words. Paraphrasing is a great tool to be on the safe side. Remember also that not every source provides worthwhile materials.
- 4. Collect your thoughts together. Make sure you fully understand the requirements your paper has to meet. Formulate the topic of your work and compose a concise thesis statement. To make the following writing process as efficient as possible, you should clearly understand at this stage what you are going to do, and what the resulting paper will look like. Take your own attitude: are you going to be an opponent or a supporter of the author? This is an important starting point.
- 5. Make a plan, or an outline, of your paper. Define the major sections and a detailed structure of each one. Selecting keywords for each part of the text will facilitate the process.
- 6. Now, you are ready to get down to writing a draft paper. The first version will be just a series of ideas coming to your mind in line with the predefined plan. During this stage, your primary focus should be on generating relevant content. Don’t divert to honing wordings.
- 7. Revise your text to find exact words and expressions. Correct any spelling or grammar mistakes. Provide additional evidence where you believe your reasoning requires more support. Preferably, take some rest before proceeding to this step.
Once all the above steps are over, you may consider your paper ready to be submitted. Make sure all the necessary details like a cover page or a bibliography list are in place. Also, you may find useful an idea to ask your friend or a family member to read the paper as a final check.