Book review Pàgina següent

Aim: revise what kind of information should a book review include and understand the way it is organized.

It is hard to give an easy definition of what a review is. The format of a review may change from discipline to discipline, and from source to source. Novels, short-stories, theater plays, articles, theses, films, CDs, DVDs might be subject of reviews. Contents are also diverse; reviews can range from the merely descriptive to the very critical.

In these pages we will only deal with book review writing. In general terms, a book reviewer is expected to do a careful reading of the material to be reviewed, give an opinion and support it with convincing reasons. This is necessary because one key purpose of a review is to help readers decide whether they will read the book or not.

Book reviewing, thus, is far from easy. Your opinion must go beyond your first reaction to the work and be based both on knowledge of the topic as well as on other factors, for example:

  • The purpose of the author
  • The accepted literary standards
  • The evidence from the text

It is important to take a clear stand at the beginning of your review, in your evaluations of specific parts, and in your concluding commentary. Do not forget that the goal of a review is to make a few key points about the book, not to discuss everything the author has written.

Read the following reviews on two very famous novels. While reading, consider these questions:

  • Does the reviewer state an explicit opinion?
  • Does the reviewer present evidence from the text?
  • Does the reviewer go beyond a 'first reaction'? Is opinion objective or subjective?
  • Would this review help you decide to read the book?

Now, according to your own perception, which book review would you consider best?
Why is it better? Justify your answer.


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