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How to effectively write a Book Review ?

Many books reviews are more interesting reading than the books themselves. Reading books reviews, moreover, is a marvelous way of keeping yourself up-to-date on developments/ for these and other reasons, a well-written review is a distinct service to readers. If you are writing a book review, here’s how to go about it:

  • State the name of the book, author, publisher, place and year of publication, number of pages, and price. Example : The Great Indian Middle Class. Pavan Kumar, Burma, New Delhi: Penguin Books, 1998, pp, xiv+ 232, Rs 250.
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  • Remember: your task is not to summarize, but evaluate. Avoid statements such as: “In the third chapter the author talks about…. , “”The fourth chapter deals with… ” Summary statements such as these have little place in a book review, and detract from its vigor. Your contribution is evaluation, not summary.
  • Understand the book thoroughly before you attempt to evaluate it. Don’t attribute positions or views to authors which they do not maintain.
  • In your critical review, answer the following questions:
    1. What is the purpose of the author in writing the book ?
    2. Does the author accomplish this purpose ?
    3. Do you think there was a need for such a book ? Every book should have a reason for existence: some new contribution or addition to work already done.
    4. What are the strong points of the book ? Weak points ? Illustrate
    5. Are there any particular positions, concepts, or colculstion that you thought particularly worthwhile or, perhaps, questionable ?
    6. Do you have any comments on the organization , printing, or layout of the book ?
    7. Would you recommend the book ? To whom specifically ? Why ?
  • Be scrupulously fair but be honest. Undeserved praise serves no purpose. Honest criticism, even if negative, spurts the  author to greater efforts.

So become a reader of book reviews and when you write one, stay one target. The target is evolution, criticism both negative and positive. Build up confidence and pride in your own judgment.

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