Sunday, 24 July 2011

How To Write A Book Review

Aside from this blog, I write quite a lot of stuff for quite a few other websites, and my favourite type of article to write are book reviews. Following all of the positive feedback on the blog post I wrote on writing album reviews, I've decided to put another 'how to' post together for writing a book review!
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The first thing you have to do, obviously, is to read the book. As a real bookworm, this is my favourite part of writing a review. However, sometimes, as I've had recently, they book you've been sent/ asked to review is truly awful, and very very long. What do you mean I have to read 400 pages of this crap?! This is where my '100 pages' rule comes in. If you hate the book, stick with it for 100 pages at least. I find for most adult books after 100 pages you'll still be able to give a book a fair, albeit bad review. 

While you're reading, I really suggest that you have a pen and paper to hand to jot down any ideas that come to you. They could be anything, a phrase you really liked, if a character reminds you of something or something in the book you particularly liked or disliked. Sometimes I just demolish the entire book in one go, and forget to write anything down. However, usually if I've enjoyed the book that much I'll remeber exactly what I liked about it, why I was kept hooked and which bits I particularly enjoyed. 
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Once you've taken a few notes and finished the book its time to start writing. The first thing to thing about is the style you should be writing in and which audience you're writing for. Is it for your personal blog, or for a review magazine or website? Does the publication have a set style their reviewers usually stick to? Are you writing a review that is going to be read by children, adults, men, women? All of this is important to bear in mind when you approach writing your review.

You need to open your review with an opening statement that lets the reader know why they should read your review, and, but extension go on to share your oppinion of the book. Be creative, write anything you want but you should be able to step away from it and think 'yes, I want to read on' once you've left it for a while and gone back to read it.

Next talk about what you liked about the book. Make sure to include bits about the plot (without giving any spoilers away!), the setting and the characters, as well as any things you jotted down while you were reading that you particularly enjoyed, and you can still look back on with a slight smile on your face! 

Next, any criticisms you may have (if you did not enjoy the book this whole thing works the other way around, say why you did not enjoy it first, then put out some good points towards the end). Then finish the whole thing with a few lines or a brief statement, again hard hitting like your introduction that tells the person reading why they should or should not read the book.

Obviously, there are may other methods to use for writing reviews, and when you become more experienced you'll find they just free form in different structures as you plan and write, but I've tried to give you a simple to follow basic structure to get you going!


If you want to see a few examples, I've recently reviewed blogger and childrens writer extrodanaire Laura Jane Cassidy's debut novel Angel Kiss, and you can read my regular reviews over at my reviewer page over at Judging Covers or check my portfolio for links to some of my Guardian reviews!

10 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. Oh, you ve got such a beautifull blog.))
    Love your post.)

    Can you help me?
    I am doing a poll and I need answer only one question.

    "What are your favorite clothing firms?"

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  3. I love reading books, and was actually thinking about getting into review books next as well. You've highlighted some great tips.

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  4. This is such a helpful post, thank you. I've written a few reviews, but I've never really known the best way to go about it, and instead just dithered my way through them because I want to write about the book, without really knowing what I should put in. I don't suppose you know of any websites that people can get their book reviews seen on, do you? xx
    Sirens and Bells

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  5. @ Sirens & Bells - You could try searching the Book Blog Directory for somewhere to submit reviews? http://directory.kaysbookshelf.com/

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  6. thank you for all of this explication

    LaVoguette

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  7. reading is may favorite thing to do when i am bored or it's bad weather. Thanks for you tips! ;)

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  8. Great tips! I love reading! I am your newest follower, come check out my blog!

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  9. hahaha. i write my favorite quotes down but i bookmark them with random pieces of paper.:D

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  10. Thanks. This is amazingly helpful. You're really very talented.

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