Although you should include what you feel is appropriate for explaining your assessment of a book, reviews generally include the following kinds of information.
Most reviews start off with a heading that includes all the bibliographic information about the book. If your assignment sheet does not indicate which form you should use, you can use the following:
Title. Author. Place of publication: publisher, date of publication. Number of pages.
Like most pieces of writing, the review itself usually begins with an introduction that lets your readers know what the review will say. The first paragraph usually includes the author and title again, so your readers don't have to look up to find the title. You should also include a very brief overview of the contents of the book, the purpose or audience for the book, and your reaction and evaluation.
Reviews then generally move into a section of background information that helps place the book in context and discuss criteria for judging the book.
Finally, reviewers get to the heart of their writing--their evaluation of the book. In this section, reviewers discuss a variety of issues:
- How well the book has achieved its goal,
- What possibilities are suggested by the book,
- What the book has left out,
- How the book compares to others on the subject,
- What specific points are not convincing, and
- What personal experiences you've had related to the subject.
It is important to carefully distinguish your views from the author's, so that you don't confuse your reader.
Like other essays, book reviews usually end with a conclusion, which ties together issues raised in the review and provides a concise comment on the book.
There is, of course, no set formula, but a general rule of thumb is that the...