Tuesday, December 22, 2009

All That You Should Know About Writing a Book Review

“I never read a book before reviewing it; it prejudices a man so”. These famous words of Sydney Smith clearly tell us a truth regarding books-that reviewing a book is no less significant a task than actually writing it out! In our fast moving world, leisurely reading of books is turning out to be an odd habit. People find it increasingly difficult to spare time for reading books. Even if one really manages to spare time, one is at a loss to decide which book is to read. If the choice proves to be a bad one, the whole time is wasted. There comes the role of reviews, which can function as trusted guides that will take you to books that you will really love to read. And if you are really short of time, they can still give you a good taste of the books without your reading them!

Book Review-What It Is

Hence, reviewing books is a serious job that requires special stills. It involves first hand reading of the book followed by a critical analysis of it, which then should be passed on to the readers in an easily palatable form.
Kinds of Book Review
There are basically two kinds of book reviews. The first is personal review. It is usually done by those great readers of books who are just not satisfied by reading the books; they want to comment upon them, and tell others about their find. They are more creative, but usually very subjective and biased. The second kind is academic or professional review. It is a more serious exercise, where the reviews are done in a very professional way, employing analytical skills, critical thinking and objectivity. In higher education, students are required to do reviews of this kind. In magazines and journals, professional writers provide this type of reviews, which are often fine critiques of the books. If you ever want to do a good book review, you should learn how to do such a serious, academic review.
How to Write An Academic Book Review
Writing an academic book review requires some hard work. Your effort should involve the following things:

1)Read the Book:
It goes without saying. The first step towards reviewing a book is actually reading it from cover to cover. It should be an alert reading, capturing all the ideas the book can possibly convey.
2)Understand Your Readers:
You should clearly understand the requirements and appreciating capacity of your forget readers, and frame your review accordingly.
You should be able to provide a simple and clear summary of the book to the readers. They are primarily interested in this.
4) Bring Out the Theme:
A good review should help readers understand the theme of the book even before they go on reading it. It will greatly help them.
5) Provide Perspective:
It is probably the most important contribution a good book review can make. The reviewer should provide a critical analysis of the book, bringing out its main arguments and relating them to wider issues that may be of concern to the common reader. If you can take care of these elementary things, you should be able to do a really good book review.

Reviewing books is, in the last analysis, a literary exercise. Apart from knowing the how-to-do of it, one should have a taste for literature and also a good language in order to bring out quality reviews. Hence, before taking your first step towards writing a book review, stop a moment to ponder over these words of W.H.Auden: “One cannot review a bad book without showing off”!

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