Book reviews could be found in almost every newspaper or internet portal. There are different types of reviews. Some of them only introduce their readers to the particular book, other try to go deeper and to carry out a real analysis of the book.
In our times of modern technologies and internet, it is better not to copy the practice of many internet users to write a short description of a book. Short reviews are easy to be written and also do not “waste” the time of the reader, but still they are not able to shed light on the book described. Hence, as it seems, not so many people know how to write a book review in the proper sense of the term.
Your approach towards writing a book review needs to be based on three key elements: knowledge, interpretation and advice. Let’s check each of them in order to better explain the process of writing a book review.
If this task is assigned to you, and you hesitate what to write and how to do it, you are probably not a very experienced author. You should start from reading critical analyses and commentaries of the books. By reading them, you will know how to structure the paper, how to read the book itself, and how to discover the key meanings of the book in question. Analyses are boring in almost all cases, but you need to train your mind in this direction. Afterwards you have to start reading professional book reviews – not written by readers, as it is with the web site Amazon.com for instance, but professional reviews in specialized newspapers and magazines.
The final step of this stage includes reading a lot about your particular author- biography, achievements, interests, critical reception. Now you are ready to go to the second stage- interpretation and understanding.
Your task involves not only a description of the book, but expressing your personal opinion on it as well. Be careful while dealing with them both: discern the one from the other. Your description needs to be adequate and realistic. Describe the main characters, their interactions and the plot. This description should not exceed one-fourth of the review. Of course, the good description requires an excellent understanding from you. There are some complicated plots which could leave every reader in the darkness. If this is the case, read other analyses, thus you will be able to notice key messages which otherwise will be incomprehensible for you.
Now it is time to discover the meaning of the book. What does the author intend to say? How does he/she say it? Perhaps several views on life are interwoven here: the advantage of novels is the diversity of characters “inhabiting” them; the same could be said about volumes with short stories. Thus, you will not be able to perfectly interpret a book; but your task is to elaborate an adequate interpretation.
The last stage of writing the paper turns around expressing your personal opinion on the book. Here you may allow yourself to be more subjective. Tell why you like, or do not like the book; what flaws you have found in it; what are its advantages. However, you should avoid extreme comments, and also to let the reader analyze the book for themselves. In this sense, you need to be pluralistic, in order to show respect for the reader.
You must be confident while starting your work. Readers do not feel sympathy for reviewers who seem confused or incompetent. For that reason revise your paper several times as refine it in the best possible way.