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Writing a book review may become an interesting writing journey and a source of self-reflection. Whether you are writing a book review for a blog post, Goodreads, or as a college assignment, there are some steps you can take to make your writing better. In the text below we will discuss the most efficient methods to help you effectively assess how the author addresses the subject and clearly deliver it to the intended audience.


Learn from examples 

One of the fastest ways to quickly understand how to write a book review is to read some examples available over the internet. Consider how the author approaches the topic, what they emphasize, and what tone they use. A good book review will have an organized structure that includes an introduction explaining why you have decided to review this particular book, a body containing a thorough evaluation and analysis of the text, and a conclusion summarizing your thoughts. Looking through different reviews can show you how to write one yourself and provide inspiration for topics to cover in your own review. 

Additionally, some book review writing services like EssayShark provide unique samples that can help you understand the best practices and serve as an example if needed. Services like these can provide expertise from writers with previous experience writing various book reviews. 

Consider a short example of a book review from a student writing about beer culture in the Medieval Ages:

In Drinking in Medieval Europe, Patrick J. Geary examines how alcoholic beverages were manufactured and consumed during the Middle Ages. The book is well-researched and detailed but is also surprisingly accessible to a general audience. Geary creates a vivid picture of medieval society via one of its most pervasive practices by looking at taverns, drinking festivals, religious views regarding alcohol intake, and even old beer recipes. He argues that understanding our connection with alcohol may still tell us a lot about our past and present culture in his concluding remarks, which have practical consequences for contemporary society.

Overall, Drinking in Medieval Europe is a terrific book and a must-read for anybody curious about the origins of alcoholic beverages. Readers are given a special view into the past by Geary's insightful and entertaining observations. This is a must-read regardless of your interest in beer culture or your study of the Middle Ages.”

Read actively

What is active reading? It's not just skimming the text. It's about thoroughly examining the book content and addressing specific questions while reading. This step may require multiple readings, but it will help you to make a more accurate analysis of the book and craft an interesting review. Ask yourself the following questions while reading the book, but do not feel obliged to answer all of them as some of them may not be relevant to your specific book:

1. What motivated the author to write this book? Is the purpose of informing, amusing, persuading, instructing, or something else? 

2. Who is the target reader for this book? Young adults? Scholars? Middle school students?

3. Does the author achieve their purpose? Are you convinced, entertained, or informed by the text?

4. If applicable, is there a moral takeaway from the book that speaks to more significant issues of our time or provides life advice based on events and characters portrayed in the narrative?

5. How does this work fit into its genre or field of literature (romance novels, historical fiction, etc.), and what sets it apart from other works?

6. How does the author's choice of words impact the tone of the book?

7. Are there any features or elements that stand out to you (e.g., unusual word choice, interesting storylines, an unexpected twist)?

8. Was the work edited well? Is the pacing consistent throughout? Do characters develop in-depth over time or remain static?

9. How does this work compare to books by this author or others writing in similar styles/genres?

10. Did you finish the book with a sense of satisfaction, or were you left wanting more? Would you recommend it to others, and why or why not?

Tip: Don't forget to mark important passages with sticky notes or highlight them for further reference.

Take notes while reading

It's quite impossible to remember all essential points, characters, and a detailed plot with simple reading. Write down all important elements, interesting facts, and details you may consider in your future book review. Also, it will be good to write down your impression of characters, plot development, writing style, etc. Ask yourself questions: What does this character think? What motivates him? Why did the author use specific words or phrases in this sentence? By doing so, you will be able to form an opinion on the main aspects of the book.

Formulate a thesis statement and key points

After closely reading and analyzing the book, it’s time to form an overall opinion. It will become the basis for your review and take a single sentence or two. Typically, a thesis statement for a book review includes the book title, the author’s name, and your opinion of the book. 

For example, a book review thesis statement may look like this: 

“Patrick J. Geary’s Drinking in Medieval Europe provides insight into how alcohol consumption varied among different classes and regions of medieval Europe, offering a more nuanced understanding of the role that drinking played in society during this period.” 

Also, write down a list of critical points you wish to consider in your book review. It will help you view all the ideas and details to support your arguments about the book.

Research other reviews

See what others have said about this particular book. Do their opinions agree or disagree with yours? If you can find reviews from authoritative sources, such as book critics or literary magazines, pay special attention to those - they will likely have the most insightful analysis. For example, you can find well-written reviews in The New York Times Book Reviews section and The New York Review of Books.

Seeing other people's thoughts can give you new ideas and angles to work with when writing your review. You don't need to copy anyone else's opinion; understanding the range of views can help inform your assessments.

Wrapping Up

There are many ways to improve your book review, so we have highlighted some to encourage further development and find additional publications on the topic. Actively read the book to consider all necessary details and provide convincing arguments for the reader why the book is worth reading.


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