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How to Write Effective Book Review That Helps Readers Decide

How to Write Effective Book Review That Helps Readers Decide

How to Write Effective Book Review That Helps Readers Decide

How to Write  Effective Book Review That Helps Readers Decide
How to Write Effective Book Review That Helps Readers Decide

There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of people who browse books for publication in magazines and newspapers,

and many more who browse books on the Internet. If you add those who review magazines, newspapers, movies,

theater, blogs, websites, Facebook styles, Twitter tweets, what you have can reach millions (well, that’s an exaggeration, but you get the point).

Some reviewers are good enough at reviewing that they are paid and well paid for their thoughts on what they read.

Some do what I might describe as a journey trip, competent, but not inspired, while others are absolutely, incredibly

scary and should not be allowed near a pen, pencil, or computer when in preview mode.

Reviewers — whether their interest is fiction or non-fiction, pop music or classics, TV shows, movies, magazines,

blogs, or whatever you have — all have their viewing styles. I have been writing, for a salary and fun, for

How to Write Effective Book Review That Helps Readers Decide

many years. I was reading too. I read hundreds of thousands of words in print and on the Internet and developed

strong opinions not only about what makes a good writer but also about what makes a good review of writing.

The following is an overview of my review style, “review style” which means how I prepare to write a review, not the actual words I use. But make no mistake, the right words come from preparation.

Because I specialize in reviewing books, primarily mysteries and mainstream, with only the bullying of blogs and

similar activities, and I have never reviewed music or movies — except among friends — in this article I will limit

myself to my thoughts on reviewing books. Another note for full disclosure: I am not talking about reviewing

textbooks, nor technical or scientific volumes written for a specific and equally technical or scientific audience.

I talk

How to Write Effective Book Review That Helps Readers Decide

How to Write  Effective Book Review That Helps Readers Decide
How to Write Effective Book Review That Helps Readers Decide

about novels, anthologies of short stories, about things we read most often for pleasure. So here is my answer to my question. What makes a good review?

The first thing I do when I review a book is: I READ A BOOK! Do not laugh. Writing a review by skipping other

reviews or copying what booksellers advertise about it is not funny at all. Not only is it unfortunate, but it is also unfair to the writer and dishonest. It should not happen.

However, I read more than one book review that did not differ much from CliffsNotes. In such cases, it is easy to see

that the reviewer did not spend time with the book, other than probably the fogging of the jacket. In recent

days, I have been reading reviews of the same book in various publications that used identical language without the

merit of a reviewer, so I could not say whether they were written by the same person or whether others “borrowed”.

At times, the reviewers missed the book, started writing too early, and thus missed the critical points.

How to Write Effective Book Review That Helps Readers Decide

How to Write  Effective Book Review That Helps Readers Decide
How to Write Effective Book Review That Helps Readers Decide

However, keep in mind that I am reading FOR a book before calming down to read it for my review. I look at

the publishers’ publications, knowing of course their prejudices. I read the notes on the jacket and always read the

preface and the subsequent word before I start the actual reading. In footnote books — such as the Teddy Roosevelt

trilogy I read — I look at those pages of the book before I start reading. I doubt some writers would prefer readers

not to read their subsequent text — sorry, they couldn’t resist — once they’ve finished the book, but I think that

makes the story more enjoyable to read, and that’s what, for me, for this kind of reading is at stake.

As I read a review book, I notice chapters and pages to read a second time. I do not make voluminous notes because

How to Write Effective Book Review That Helps Readers Decide

How to Write  Effective Book Review That Helps Readers Decide
How to Write Effective Book Review That Helps Readers Decide

it interferes with reading; from the earliest pages I want to feel the flow of the story by making more mental notes

than physical ones. The time when I allowed the intention to publish a book review to interfere with reading is when

I find a sentence or paragraph that I might want to quote, or if there is an important philosophical or cultural point I do not want to miss.

Among the mental notes I make is my reaction to the writer’s style, the effectiveness of the drawing, making me

part of the story being told. I look for idiosyncrasies in people and places that take them out of the ordinary. I notice

How to Write Effective Book Review That Helps Readers Decide

certain twists in phrases or the use of words or descriptions that charm me or frighten me enough to include them in

the review. I am also looking for personal characteristics, for the story being told or for the writer, which I can describe that will give additional insight to the reader.

My goals for writing a review are twofold. First, I want to talk to the reader as if we were sitting in my kitchen

exchanging thoughts about what we were reading. I do not pontify or teach how to possess any unusual knowledge of

what the writer thought. I use it a lot

How to Write  Effective Book Review That Helps Readers Decide
How to Write Effective Book Review That Helps Readers Decide

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