How to Write a Book Review Essay

How to write an interesting book review essay? In this article, we will provide 10 pointers that will show you how to write a solid book review.

Writing a book review essay is not an easy task. The real challenge is to make it interesting without revealing the important points of each book too much. Here is the list of 10 tips to tell you how to write a book review,

1. Ask questions first
Writing a review is how you answer questions via the intensive examination of the text. This means that you cannot produce a good review unless you come up with good questions. These questions will be your checklist or a guideline of your review.

How to come up with the questions? Read the book cover and try to ask subsequent questions such as "What is the genre of this book?", "Who is the target audience?", What is the author trying to tell you?" and so on.

2. Understand the author's purpose
The authors’ reason to write the book is your target for evaluation. So it is important to identify it and mention it in your review. Without this, your readers might be confused about what you are really analyzing. This will tell you whether the book’s purpose is attained and whether it is recommendable or not. This will reduce the bias and unfair judgment in your review.

How to determine the purpose of the author? What we always do is to carefully read "Table of Contents" and "Forward Section."

3. Jot down as you read
Part of being an active reader is to write your comments or insights while you read. Use paper and pen instead of direct typing your notes to avoid long and overdone comments about a certain part of the text. It can reduce false judgments about the book.

4. Write a review, not a report
One misconception about writing a book review is simply writing a summary of the book and some information about the author, but this is not a book review. Instead, it is a book report! A book review is an in-depth analysis of the book, and it includes the personal opinions and evaluation of the book done by the author.

5. 500-word review is enough
There is no point to make a 5000-word book review because it will just bog down your review. Just go straight to the points because this is what readers want and the reason why they are reading your review.

6. Include a synopsis
A synopsis or a short summary is sometimes necessary for a book review, especially when a book you are trying to review is not a well-known one. However, don't reveal the important points or spoilers.

7. Avoid using lots of quotes
Do not use a lot of quotes from the book. Instead, paraphrase to improve the physical appearance of your review and increase its credibility.

8. Analyze key features
This is important in business and academic book review. Since book in this genre is quite hard to read and understand, some book authors take a lot of time to add interesting graphs, charts, case studies, online resources, recommended software to enhance the learning. So you should highlight these features in the book review too.

9. Look both ways
To write a solid book review, you have to be fair. Readers will immediately stop reading your review if you seem to be biased. To avoid this, I suggest that you indicate both the strengths and weaknesses of the book. This will make a good impression and increase the interest of your readers.

10. Provide the final judgment
This is the overarching reason why you write a book review and why your readers will take the time to read your review. If you don't include this in your review, your book review is useless. Remember to always include your recommendation to readers in your book review.

However, the final judgment doesn't have to be harsh. You can say something like "this business book is for entry-level staff" if you find that the book is too basic.

What else should be included in a book review and why?

- Hacker, Diana, and Nancy Sommers. A Writer's Reference with Writing in the Disciplines. Macmillan, 2011.

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Last review and update: November 9, 2020
About the Editor
Ben Benjabutr is the editor of BookWorm4Life. He holds a Master's Degree in business with 10+ years of work experience and 8+ years of experience in blogging and online content production. He enjoys reading books about business, lifestyle and literature and he loves to share what he learns from books. You can drop him a line via e-mail.