This Is All I Have To Say Book Review [PORTABLE]
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If you love to read, at some point you will want to share a book you love with others. You may already do this by talking about books with friends. If you want to share your ideas with more people than your circle of friends, the way you do that is by writing a review. By publishing the reviews you write, you can share your ideas about books with other readers around the world.
It's natural for young readers to confuse book reviews with book reports, yet writing a book review is a very different process from writing a book report. Book reports focus on the plot of the book. Frequently, the purpose of book reports is to demonstrate that the books were read, and they are often done for an assignment.
A book review is a totally different task. A book review's purpose is to help people decide whether or not the book would interest them enough to read it. Reviews are a sneak peek at a book, not a summary. Like wonderful smells wafting from a kitchen, book reviews lure readers to want to taste the book themselves.
The first question we usually ask when writing something is "How long should it be?" The best answer is "As long as it takes," but that's a frustrating answer. A general guideline is that the longer the book, the longer the review, and a review shouldn't be fewer than 100 words or so. For a long book, the review may be 500 words or even more.
In an introductory summary, be careful not to tell too much. If you retell the entire story, the reader won't feel the need to read it him/herself, and no one appreciates a spoiler (telling the end). Here are some examples of summaries reviewers from The New York Times have written:
Writing about the plot is the trickiest part of a review because you want to give the reader a feel for what the book is about without spoiling the book for future readers. The most important thing to remember is that you must never give away the ending. No one likes a spoiler.
One possibility for doing this is to set up the premise (A brother and a sister find themselves lost in the woods at the mercy of an evil witch. Will they be able to outsmart her and escape?). Another possibility is to set up the major conflict in the book and leave it unresolved (Sometimes the waiting is the hardest part or He didn't know what he stood to lose or Finding your purpose in life can be as easy as finding a true friend.)
What is the book really about? This isn't the plot, but rather the ideas behind the story. Is it about the triumph of good over evil or friendship or love or hope? Some common themes include: change, desire to escape, facing a challenge, heroism, the quest for power, and human weaknesses.
This is where the reviewer shares his/her reactions to the book that go beyond the essential points described above. You may spend half of the review on this section. Some possible questions to address include:
Use a few quotes or phrases (keep them short) from the book to illustrate the points you make about the book. If there are illustrations, be sure to comment on those. Are they well done? Has the illustrator done other well-known books?
You can use the transition word handout at the end of the Writer's Toolbox to find ideas for words to connect the ideas in your review. If you would like to read some well-written reviews, look for reviews of books for young people at The New York Times or National Public Radio.
On the morning of the wedding, Belly learns that Jeremiah has vanished and that Conrad went to go look for him. When Conrad finds Jeremiah, they have a verbal fight over Belly that escalates into Jeremiah punching Conrad. Jeremiah agrees to return with Conrad to the wedding but says he never wants to see Conrad again afterward.
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Book reports are informative reports that discuss a book from an objective stance. They are similar to book reviews but focus more on a summary of the work than an evaluation of it. Book reports commonly describe what happens in a work; their focus is primarily on giving an account of the major plot, characters, thesis, and/or main idea of the work. Most often, book reports are a K-12 assignment and range from 250 to 500 words.
Book reviews are most often a college assignment, but they also appear in many professional works: magazines, newspapers, and academic journals. If you are looking to write a book review instead of a book report, please see the OWL resource, Writing a Book Review.
Announce the book and author. Then, summarize what you have learned from the book. Explain what happens in the book, and discuss the elements you liked, did not like, would have changed, or if you would recommend this book to others and why. Consider the following items as well:
Choose a book that (1) is in your field, (2) is on a topic for which you have sound background knowledge, (3) has been published in the past two or three years, and (4) has been published by a reputable publisher (i.e., any press affiliated with a university or large commercial presses).
Books on hot topics are often of special interest to editors. It can also be rewarding to pick an obscure but useful book in order to bring attention to it. To avoid complications, it is best not to review books written by your advisor, spouse, or ex!
Once you have identified several books, locate copies and skim them. Pick the book that seems the strongest. Do not pick a book that has major problems or with which you disagree violently. As a graduate student, you do not have the protection of tenure and may one day be evaluated by the person whose book you put to the ax. If you really feel strongly that you must write a negative review of a certain book, go ahead and write the review. Academia is, after all, quite oedipal and young scholars do sometimes make their reputations by deflating those who came before them. Just realize that going on record in such a public way may have consequences.
Identify several leading journals in your field that publish book reviews. One way to do this is to search an on-line article database or something like Book Review Digest, if your library has access. Using several key words from your field, limit your search to book reviews and note the journals where the results were published.
If the book review editor says yes, they would like a review of the book from you, make sure to ask if the journal has any book review submission guidelines. In particular, you want to make sure you understand how long their book reviews tend to be.
Take particular note of the title (does the book deliver what the title suggests it is going to deliver?), the table of contents (does the book cover all the ground it says it will?), the preface (often the richest source of information about the book), and the index (is it accurate, broad, deep?).
This workshop aids students in actually writing and publishing a book review for a peer-reviewed journal. At the first session, students receive instruction on why graduate students should (or should not) write book reviews, how to choose a book for review, how to chose a journal for submission, how to read a book for review, how to plan and structure a book review, and five common pitfalls of reviewing. Students also form small groups to discuss the book each plans to review.At the second meeting, students bring a draft of their book review for exchange and feedback. At the third meeting, students arrive with a final version of their essay to submit to an editor for publication.
The interviews were arranged to inform Woodward's second book on the Trump presidency, Rage, which appeared just before Trump lost his bid for re-election. The president had not cooperated with the reporter's earlier Trump book, Fear, a highly critical study that appeared in 2018.
We hear Trump repeatedly tell Woodward he was the lone voice urging the U.S. be closed to arrivals from China in early 2020. He says he did this in defiance of a roomful of advisers who rejected this idea.
Woodward comes back with notes from nearly everyone else who had been in that room, all saying that at least four or five others (including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's leading epidemiologist) called for that same shutdown at the same meeting. Trump denies this again and again, insisting he was "all alone" and bringing it up regularly as though Woodward had never heard it before.
Trump seems fully aware that Woodward is not just another reporter. He may even have been briefed on the reporter's career built on books about presidents, starting with his first, All the President's Men, which recounted his contribution to the downfall of Richard Nixon nearly half a century ago.
Since then, presidents have sat down with Woodward to get their side of the story across. That has been a required exercise, if only because the longtime Washington Post journalist relentlessly interviews all the other key players in each administration in search of the unvarnished and the unofficial.
But it may have taken Trump aback when Woodward went back to the Covid response critique with such fervor. Woodward's role here shifts from reporter to debater, notably in the April 5, 2020 interview when he shares a list he has compiled of "16 things" he believes Trump needs to do to get on top of the virus. When the call is over, we hear Woodward's wife, the journalist Elsa Walsh, wondering aloud if he should be talking to the president like that. 2b1af7f3a8