A book review describes, analyzes, and evaluates a book by examining its purpose and its contribution.
A book review should address the following:
Your professor may specify additional instructions or objectives for their book review assignment. Therefore, be sure to read the assignment instructions carefully.
In many ways, your book review can be structured like a typical essay, using an introduction, body, and conclusion.
Like other introductions, the book review introduction should move from broad (the topic of the book) to narrow (your specific argument or purpose statement).
Your reader will expect you to do the following in your introduction:
The thesis of your book review may vary depending on the assignment.
George Orwell’s 1984 provides insight into three course themes: critical thinking as a form of resistance, the role of misinformation in totalitarian societies, and the connection between privacy and personal freedom. The review that follows argues that the novel’s engagement with these themes can deepen our understanding of these themes in the course context by illustrating their interconnections.
Sara Jaquette Ray’s The Ecological Other: Environmental Exclusion in American Culture is an important contribution to environmental justice scholarship because it offers a nuanced account of how environmental discourse has positioned people with disabilities, immigrants, and Native Americans as environmental outsiders. At the same time, it suggests how environmental activists can frame their arguments with greater inclusivity and care.
In your body paragraphs, you will describe, analyze, and evaluate the book. Your reader will expect you to do the following in the body of your review:
In the body of your book review, you will support your thesis with reference to specific examples from the text. Although you may organize this material in a number of different ways, three common patterns of organization are thematic, chronological, and evaluative.
Rather than summarizing the book or restating your thesis, use the conclusion to provide your final thoughts. Consider the following questions:
The conclusion is your last chance to add analysis to your book review, so be sure to address the book’s overall significance.
Try using signal words like ‘ultimately’ or ‘overall’ instead of ‘in conclusion’ to help you frame your conclusion through an analytical lens while also telling the reader that they should pay special attention to what follows.
The assignment’s instructions may also provide clues for material that you could include in the conclusion.
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