Ways to Write a Book Review
June 2, 2017
In the world where everyone has their own opinion, writing book reviews has become a popular intellectual activity. Book reviewers can be considered as intellectual giants. And if we reflect on this a little bit more, then it will become clear that publication industry would hardly function if there were no reviewing industry. It’s like two wings of one bird – each one is absolutely necessary for the bird to fly.
However, how to approach the desire of becoming a book reviewer? First of all, you should realize that there’s nothing difficult about it. The main function of the book reviewer is to give a decent evaluation of the book and let a potential reader understand if he or she needs to read this book and whether they need to buy it or not.
Let’s study the main stages of book reviewing in details:
- Four basics. First, you need to stipulate the argument of the book. Don’t tell directly what this book is about (this book is about democratic system), but rather identify what the book says (the author of the book argues that democratic system is lame and doesn’t correspond with the challenges of a modern stagnating world). Secondly, identify what kind of book this is – is it deductive, theoretical, analytical or topical? Thirdly evaluate the evidence provided to support the book’s argument – is there enough of it? Is it strong or weak? Is it convincing or vague? Finally, you may compare this book to other books that you have read on the topic. Although in a certain field there may be a ther elements of book reviewing, these four are basic and the most essential.
- Criticize the book. Being critical is not always about being negative. It’s mostly about looking at the book through the prism of your standards. In many cases, you apply your standards to the book and find that there’s nothing wrong with it and you would recommend it to everyone. The more you specialize in the field, in which the book is written, the more value your criticism will have. However, if you’re not that good at any given field of expertise, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be critical about the book. The main thing about criticism and reviewing of books is that it should be reasoned and constructive. It’s not enough to say that “this book sucks!” You need to explain why and reinforce your statement with relevant and valid arguments. A review is first of all a personal statement
- Choose the right tone. Don’t go to the extremes of praising the book as a masterpiece or covering it with dirt. There’s always some light in the darkness and vice versa. Keep the balance of your mind and try to be as objective as you can.
Good book reviewers are made, not born.