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Primus Pilus

How to write a book review

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There have been some private discussions taking place over what should constitute reviews submitted/published by UNRV.com. As a result, Cato, our very own bastion of moderation ( :( ), offered up this excellent basic guideline to help nurture budding reviewers. Please do feel free to offer modifications, additional suggestions, etc.


How to Review a Book


Reviewing a book is a lot like setting up a blind date. Like helping others find true love--a tricky business even for yourself--helping others to find a good book requires knowledge about your victims intended matches, forthrightness about any reservations you have, and encouragement wherever it is justified.


In your reviews, here are some questions that you really ought to address so that you're most likely to make a good match.


1. Introduce the book to its natural audience.


* What is the basic topic of the book?

* Who would be interested in this topic?

* What are the credentials of the author?

* How does the author's approach to his topic differ from those of others who have covered the same topic?

* Is there anything special about the background of the work (e.g., publication date, awards, influence cited by other authors)?


2. Provide a snapshot of the book.


* What is the theme of the work and its supporting points?

* What is the tone/style of the work? (Including quotations is highly encouraged!)


3. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the book.


* What was your overall impression of the book? Instructive, entertaining, maddening?

* Do you agree with the author's thesis? If so, what other books make similar points? If not, what other books would you recommend?

* Does the author provide sufficient information for the reader to reach an objective judgment about the thesis? If not, what more is needed?

* Were there important topics neglected by the author?

* What new directions are suggested by the book? Are there natural sequels to be read next?


4. Provide your bottom line recommendation.

* Given your main points from above, is this book really worth reading?

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