Nick Lan, in his answer to the question posed on quora.com,”how do I write a book review?” has an interesting take on the subject.
He believes that writing a good review that people will love is not that difficult and suggested that one can finish it within just 10 steps.
He writes thus:
Try to dig out some clues about this book without reading it. For example: Does the book having an elegant typography? Can you figure out what the book will tell you from the cover? Is the book advertised exaggeratedly? In which genre does the publisher classify it? All these will tell you who is the target-reader of this book.
Open the book and scan it fast, and find out how the author organizes the sentences, there are how many pages and chapters, the paragraphs are long or short in average, and whether there are many dialogs in the content. From the elements above, you can have a rough idea about if this book is easy to read, and how the author builds the structure.
Create a frame to take notes. This will help you concentrate on some details when you read the book. You must have already drawn an outline for this book through the preparations above, then you can divide the entire book into several parts upon chapters or how the story goes, you can even sort them out by roles in the story. And you can write down some questions, like “Why this book ranks top 5 in the list”, “Why the editor recommends this book” and all other questions you want to know.
Read this book over.
Concentrate. This is the biggest challenge for most readers. When you read a book, you need to be aware of the reading experience. Which part attracts you most? Which ones make you feel boring? Which chapter is the key-point of the story? Which role you like most? And why?
It’s time to fulfill the frame which you created in step 3. Now, you backward to the beginning of the book, and take notes with the questions. What happened in the first chapter? How did it affect the story and how you feel about this chapter? Repeat this work one chapter by one chapter, and don’t forget to mark those highlights. Finally, answer these questions: “How does this book affect you on the whole?” “How does the author achieve this?” “How does each role affect the story?”
Sum the book up. This is the beginning of your book review, you have to keep it short and to the throat.
Judge the book. This is the other part of your book review, you should tell your readers do you think this book is good or bad? And don’t just give the result, you need to explain why. Now it is the show time for all your notes, you should use those notes, questions and answers to support your points from every angle.
Spend some time on the book’s related information as the supplement for your book review. For instance, in which genre will you classify this book? Is this book a pioneer in this kind of style, or it’s just a simulation? Is this the first book of the author? If not, compare it to other works of the same author. And compare it to other works of the same genre.
Now, you have almost finished your book review, time to look back and test your points. Have you covered all the important elements of the book? Who are your target readers? Are you writing this review to serve someone? Is your review outstanding among all the reviews of this book? If not, then you need to check the previous 9 steps and enhance your book review; if yes, your book review is finished!
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