Critical book Review
If you have had a look at our previous blog, “Writing a critical Book review: How to Prepare” well, this article serves as a continuation. You have already read about how you can prepare effectively to get your critical review of a book down on a paper. Having prepared adequately, this article provides you with tips an ultimate guide on writing down your review. Follow the following steps to get your review done properly.
- Start with the header.
Most literary reviews have a heading in which the bibliographic information of the book is presented. If your teacher or editor does not have specific requirements for this section, order the elements according to the standard format: author, title, edition, place of publication: publisher, date of publication, number of pages.
Write the introduction.
A good introduction should be informative, clear, and captivate the reader so that he knows what awaits him and is interested in continuing reading.
Incorporate important details into the introduction: a brief history of the author and, if possible, his previous works of the same literary genre. Also indicate the subjects you intend to address during the criticism and give a preview of your opinion about the work.
There are several possibilities for opening the text: the historical context of the book, an anecdote, a surprising or intriguing sentence, a statement, etc. Regardless of the type of opening sentence, remember to choose something direct, concise, and related in some way to your critique of the work.
If you get stuck in the introduction, leave it and write it last. Once your arguments are organized and your position in relation to the work is established, it will be easier to write an introduction compatible with the content of the critic.
- Write a summary of the book.
Now that the header and introduction have been prepared, present the reader with a synopsis and the main themes of the work.
The synthesis has to be simple, informative, and to the point. Use quotes or paraphrases from the text of the book to give it credibility. To avoid accusations of plagiarism, please quote quotes and paraphrases appropriately.
Avoid a synopsis that begins with “[The essay] is about …”, “[The Book] tells the story of …”, “[The author] writes about …”. Try to reconcile the description of the literary elements (setting, plot, type of narration) with a critical analysis instead of just regurgitating the premise of the book.
Do not give important details of the plot or reveal the end of the book in your summary. Avoid detailing other events that occur from half of the book onwards. If the book is part of a series, mention this fact so that unfamiliar readers can find themselves.
- Evaluate and criticize the work.
Once you have presented a summary and the main themes of the book, it is time to start evaluating the work. This is the heart of your review, so try to be as direct and clear as possible.
Use the information you gathered during preparation to formulate the criticism. Explain how the book fulfills its intended purpose, how it compares to other books dealing with the same subject, indicate the points where the narrative could have been more convincing or well developed, and tell personal experiences (if any) ) that are related to the subject addressed in the book.
Make direct quotes to the book (provided they are properly identified) to support your position. In addition to reinforcing your point of view with a reliable source, direct quotes give the reader a sense of the style and narrative voice used by the author.
The golden rule is as follows: up to half or two-thirds of the criticism, presents a summary of the author’s main ideas, and use the remaining half or third to evaluate the work.
- Complete the review.
End the text with one or more paragraphs that summarize your critical analysis of the book in question. If you defended your position with good arguments, the conclusion will come naturally.
Examine the weaknesses and strengths of the work and discuss whether it is worthy of recommendation. If so, who do you think is the ideal target audience? Do not mention ideas, opinions, or works that you have not addressed in the development of criticism. If you like, give the book some kind of note (numeric, thumb up or down, stars, etc.).
5. Doing the finishing touches
- Reread and review the work. Your first attempt will not be as perfect as you would like, so make the necessary corrections and adjustments. Leave the sketch aside and reread it after a few days to see the text with a new look.
- Pass the text through a spell checker and correct any spelling or grammar errors. Nothing challenges the validity of literary criticism more than grammatical errors.
- Check that the direct citations and bibliographic references in the text are correct.
- Ask for other people’s feedback. If possible, show the criticism to someone before handing it over to your editor or teacher, as it is very difficult to judge and edit the work itself. Ask the person to evaluate the appeal of the introduction and the consistency and depth of their criticism.
- Always deliver the best job possible. Incorporate solutions into the final text for problems encountered by you and the people who read your work. To provide a pleasant reading, try to create a text that flows naturally from the introduction to the synthesis of the work, and from there to the critical analysis; try to examine the book from an original point of view, and eliminate any grammatical and spelling errors.
- As you write, think of the reader as someone you need to tell a story to. How would you express the themes and situations of the book in a relaxed conversation? This helps to simplify criticism and find a healthy balance between formal and informal language.
- Criticize the book you have in hand, not the one you wanted the author to have written. Criticizing means pointing out flaws and weaknesses in a book. Avoid talking about how it should be or what the author should have done. Propose a fair discussion and consider the public’s esteem for this work
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