If you’ve got the task of writing a critical book review you may have already been in touch with a book report writing service for custom writing help and guidance, but you will probably still want to be aware of what is expected from a critical book review. Hopefully, you will be aware that you will need to identify, evaluate, and summarize any information and ideas that the author has displayed. In a nutshell, you need to take a close look at another person’s thoughts on a given topic from your own perspective. This is not just about your gut feeling about the book, but about your knowledge of the topic and also any aspects that have been mentioned by your lecturer.
Right from the offset, you need to make your stand clear. This stand also needs to be seen when you evaluate as well as in your conclusion. Always bear in mind that the aim is to point out a few key aspects related to the book and it is not a review of the entire book.
Aspects to consider when writing a critical book report
- Make sure you understand the task. The first aspect that you need to be able to do is to analyze the book and decide what the main compartments are in the book and how these all contribute to the book as a whole. By analyzing the book you will be able to determine why and how the author makes specific points and it also stops you from just summarizing what the author is saying. Before you begin, make sure you read your task thoroughly. No doubt, you will have been given specific instructions that you need to follow and you need to make sure that you keep these instructions in mind as you read the book. This will really help when it comes to writing your critical book review.
- Read the book. Before you can comment on any book you need to make sure that you have read it thoroughly as well as critically. This means you may need to read the book a few times so that you thoroughly understand what the author is trying to say. Remember to take notes as you read and pay particular attention to the introduction, preface, abstract, and summaries. This will give you a good insight into what the author was hoping to achieve when writing the book. The notes that you make whilst you are reading will come in use next.
- The Introduction. In your book review, you will need to begin with an introduction. If you are required to review one book and not to use any other sources, focus on the topic in the book. Also, think about the purpose the author had when writing a book. If, however, your task is to review a specific book as it links to other themes and issues which have been discussed in your course, then you need to make sure your introduction includes all relevant information. In your introduction, you need to make your position clear so highlight your thesis in relation to the author’s thesis. Once you begin writing your critical book review, bear in mind the following:
- Who is the author?
- How has the author approached the topic (from a researcher’s point of view, as a historian, or as a journalist)?
- Is the book a collection of facts or a memoir etc?
- What is the main problem that’s discussed in the book? How does this relate to a specific audience or discipline?
- How do you critically evaluate the book? What made you take this position and what are you basing this on?
Your introduction will also need to include an overview. The job of the overview is to outline the book’s different chapters or sections. In your overview, you may also include any other information related to the topic or your opinion which you will use when it comes to evaluating
- The Main Body. In the main body of your critical book review, you will need to outline your main arguments. We will provide you with some information on how you can write this.
Things to have in mind as you write your critical book review
- Does the author do a good job of presenting any factual information? If the author provides any solutions to a problem, is the solution promising?
- Consider what do you think are the most important points that the author is trying to make. Think about how these connect to each other.
- What aspects are the most effective i.e. the chapters descriptions or argument? Alternatively, what do you think is the least effective?
- What information is provided by the author which supports their points? Do you think it’s convincing or does it seem subjective?
The conclusion highlights your overall evaluation. You will have already talked about the major points that the author states, look at how the author supports their argument, and evaluate how effectively certain aspects of the book are.
The job you have now is to evaluate the book and decide whether the author hits its purpose. Consider the following aspects while writing a critical book review:
- Do you think the work is objective or subjective when it comes to getting their purpose across?
- Does the book maintain the forecast that’s been employed?
- Do you feel the author has excluded information that may be relevant?
- Has the author managed to achieve the purpose that they set out to with the book?
- What do you think is the final comment that you’d like to raise about the book?
Some additional tips
- Avoid giving a summary of each chapter.
- Try and include a quote from the book. Ideally, you want this quote to be a direct quote taken from the book. The quote needs to be something that summarizes an aspect of the book.
- Don’t add unnecessary words just to increase your word count.