Literary Book Review
Before we begin our discussion on how to do a literary book review, let us first understand what is a book review. Dictionary.com describes a 'review' thus: 'a critical article or report, as in a periodical, on a book, play, recital, or the like; critique; evaluation.' Thus an academic book review or literary review needs to be critical in nature. By the same dictionary, we know that critical reviews of books are those 'involving skillful judgment as to truth, merit, etc'.
But do you have to be an acclaimed critic, to be able to write good and literary book reviews? Not necessarily. What you must have, however, is a great love for reading and the willingness to learn. And we will show you how to write a good book review. You must understand that there are some rules to follow before you are able to produce reviews that have some amount of academic excellence. These rules are as follows:
- Always read the book more than once and thoroughly each time. In the first reading the reader is likely to be occupied with understanding the story line, setting and the plot. But only a second reading allows the reader to concentrate on the finer elements of novel writing like writing style, symbolic implications, originality of the author etc.
- Critical book reviews are much more than book summaries. So don’t just summarize the book and expect them to qualify as professional book reviews. While writing academic book reviews, it is important to dwell on the social significance of the book, it's historic context, the writing style, the setting, characterization and other such literary elements.
- It is also important to write about your personal experience of reading the book. Answer questions like- how did the book effect you? Did the book appeal to you emotionally? Did you identify with any character? Were you outraged at some of the ideas expressed in the book? Remember that a book comes alive only when the reader reads it. Otherwise it is just a compilation of words on paper. So your personal reaction to the book is really important for the author and for the next reader.
- It is also important to maintain a degree of neutrality while discussing the book. Your personal views on a subject may clash with those expressed in the book. But that does not make the book a bad read. Don’t let your personal view points overshadow your review.
In case you still have your doubts on how to write a book review, you can view a scholarly book review example at Book-review-circle.com. This website contains many detailed book reviews. It also contains a more elaborate chapter on how to do a book review. After going through this chapter , nothing should stop you from writing great critical and literary reviews on books! All the best :-)
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