Monday, September 8, 2014

REVIEW WITH CLASS by Rita Karnopp #reviewing

There’s no reason you can’t review a book with class and professionalism.  A book review is a description, judicious analysis, and an evaluation of the quality, gist, and impact of a book.  It’s so important to realize a book review is not a retelling. It’s not a book report or a summary.

A book review should focus on the book's purpose and content. How did the book affect you – the reader?  You should evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the how well the author told his/her story.  Your review should include a statement of what the author has tried to do, evaluate how well he/she has succeeded, and present evidence to support your appraisal.

There’s no right or wrong way to write a book review. Face it, book reviews are highly personal and reflect the opinion(s) of the reviewer. Your review can be as short as 50-100 words, or as long as 1500 words, depending on the purpose of the review.

I might add a personal note here – “If you can’t say something nice, maybe it’s best left unsaid.”  If you truly dislike a book, that’s okay, not every book we read will be #1.  But chastising a book in a review could make or break an author.  Is that your intent?  I would hope not.  If I don’t care for a book I’ve read, I let it go.  It’s not necessary to berate or trash the book or the author.

The following is a simple guide for writing a book review that works. 
  • 1.   Write a statement including basic information about the book: title, author, type of book.
  • 2.   Write a sentence indicating point of view and genre.
  • 3.   Evaluate the quality of the writing style by using some of the following standards: consistency, clarity, creativity, strength, pithiness, development, and even fluidity.
  • 4.   Ask yourself does the story reach the intended audience?
  • 5.   To me the most important question to ask yourself – then review from your heart – “how did this book affect me?” Did you have preconceived notions about the subject matter and now they’ve changed or perhaps they’re reinforced due to this book?
  • 6.   Did the book realize its goal(s)?
  • 7.   End your review with the oh-so-important, ‘would you recommend this book to others’? Why?

Remember, your review should include a brief summary, analysis, and comment on the book’s content.  Include your general conclusions. If you feel strongly to make a statement, use specific references and quotations to support them. And always end with a comment of support and referral

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