A Book Review is Not a Book Report
All of us began writing book reports in elementary school. While they became a bit more complex as we progressed into high school, they were still primarily “reports” – s plot summary, a listing and brief explanation of major characters, and perhaps comments on theme, style, setting, etc. Most teachers gave us a template, and following it was relatively easy.
A book review, on the other hand, is a more complex piece of writing. It is assumed that the plot (or information development, in the case of a no-fiction work) is already known by the reader. Thus, little time is spent on the plot. Rather, certain aspects of the book must be analyzed in depth, and those analyses comprise the major thrust of the review. Perhaps the assignment is to identify and chart the progression of the conflict(s); perhaps a single character must be analyzed; perhaps the focus is demonstrating the author’s presentation and development of the theme(s). The point is this: a book review provides assigned in-depth coverage of one or two specific aspects of the book, while a book report provides summaries of all aspects of a book.
Producing a Superior Book Review
These steps are essential:
- You must actually read the book.
- You must fully understand what your instructor/professor is asking you to do
- You must organize your thoughts and pull specific information/excerpts from the book to prove your points
- You must compose your review in a coherent, fluent, and grammatically perfect manner
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