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Book Review vs Book Report: Here’s How They Compare

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by  Antony W

April 19, 2023

book review vs book report

In this post, we do a front to back comparison on book review vs book report.

In particular, we’ll look at the differences between the two so that you can easily tell them apart and have an easy time writing.

Let’s get started.

Key Takeaways

  • A book review and a book report have aspects that easily overlap. For example, they both give a summary of a book to help readers determine the value of a book.

What is a Book Review?

what is a book review

A book review is an assessment of a literary work, typically written by a critic or reviewer.

It aims to provide a detailed analysis of the book's content, quality, and style, and may take various forms such as opinion pieces, scholarly reviews, or summary reviews.

Book reviews can be found in a variety of outlets, including newspapers, magazines, online directories, academic journals, and websites.

They serve as valuable resources for readers seeking to make informed decisions about what to read, and for authors seeking feedback on their work.

In both high school and college, teachers often assign book reviews as a way to assess students' ability to analyze the complexities of scholarly texts and synthesize research to demonstrate their understanding of the book's content.

You have the responsibility to read the book and provide a thorough and critical evaluation of its significance.

The length of your review will vary, ranging from a few paragraphs to an average of 2,000 words, depending on the instructor's guidelines or the complexity of the book.

It is important to remember that a book review reflects your personal opinion and taste, and what you think about a particular work of literature may differ from someone else's perspective.

What is a Book Report?

what is a book report

A book report is a comprehensive summary of a book's key elements, including its title, setting, plot, characters, and author.

It should also indicate the publication year and genre.

When writing a book report, it's important to focus on the most important points and key ideas addressed by the author.

Including relevant quotations from the book can also support your general observations, as long as you properly cite them.

In addition to summarizing the book's content, a good book report should also include your personal response to the material.

You may also need to evaluate the book's strengths and weaknesses to help potential readers decide whether to read it.

Book Review vs Book Report: What are the Differences?

book review vs book report

It's common for students to conflate book reports with book reviews, which can result in poor grades if not properly understood.

Although there are similarities between the two, it's essential to differentiate their purposes and formats.

The following table provides a concise overview of the key differences between a book review and a book report.

Structure of a Book Review

A book review requires a sophisticated and elaborate structure, involving an in-depth examination of the book's elements to assist potential readers in making an informed decision about whether to read it or not.

Typically, book reviews range between 500 and 2,000 words, although the length can vary depending on the book.

The Structure of a Book Report

In contrast, a book report has a more straightforward structure and only provides a basic summary of the book's content.

Due to its simplicity, book reports are usually shorter, spanning between 200 and 500 words.

Writing a Book Review

When writing a book review, the focus should be on shedding new light on the book for the target audience and providing reasons to read or not read it.

While it is acceptable to discuss the plot, climax, biography, and characters of the story, the review should primarily focus on the author's intent, symbols, and thematic elements.

It should also evaluate the relevance of the story to its historical context and the author's effectiveness in covering the subject matter.

While it is optional to discuss the tone of the author and look at whether it is sympathetic or biased, it is not necessary.

In addition to discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the book, the review should help potential readers determine the value of the book.

Writing a Book Report

A book report typically includes biographical information about the author, such as their place of birth, education, residence, and family.

This information helps readers understand the author's perspective in writing the book.

The report should also include a summary of the book, covering important details such as the main characters, setting, plot, and climax.

While it is uncommon, some instructors may ask students to identify and discuss relevant symbols and themes in the book report, which can help readers understand the book better.

Get Help with Book Review Writing

Despite having a clear understanding of the distinction between a book review and a book report, completing the assignment can still be a challenging task.

If you find yourself struggling with a book review project, there's no need to worry.

Our team of book review writers is available to assist you in completing the task within the shortest possible time.

Simply reach out to us, and our team of professional writers and editors will guide you in the right direction.

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

book review or book report

How to Write a Book Report

Use the links below to jump directly to any section of this guide:

Book Report Fundamentals

Preparing to write, an overview of the book report format, how to write the main body of a book report, how to write a conclusion to a book report, reading comprehension and book reports, book report resources for teachers .

Book reports remain a key educational assessment tool from elementary school through college. Sitting down to close read and critique texts for their content and form is a lifelong skill, one that benefits all of us well beyond our school years. With the help of this guide, you’ll develop your reading comprehension and note-taking skills. You’ll also find resources to guide you through the process of writing a book report, step-by-step, from choosing a book and reading actively to revising your work. Resources for teachers are also included, from creative assignment ideas to sample rubrics.

Book reports follow general rules for composition, yet are distinct from other types of writing assignments. Central to book reports are plot summaries, analyses of characters and themes, and concluding opinions. This format differs from an argumentative essay or critical research paper, in which impartiality and objectivity is encouraged. Differences also exist between book reports and book reviews, who do not share the same intent and audience. Here, you’ll learn the basics of what a book report is and is not.

What Is a Book Report?

"Book Report" ( ThoughtCo )

This article, written by a professor emeritus of rhetoric and English, describes the defining characteristics of book reports and offers observations on how they are composed.

"Writing a Book Report" (Purdue OWL)

Purdue’s Online Writing Lab outlines the steps in writing a book report, from keeping track of major characters as you read to providing adequate summary material.

"How to Write a Book Report" ( Your Dictionary )

This article provides another helpful guide to writing a book report, offering suggestions on taking notes and writing an outline before drafting. 

"How to Write a Successful Book Report" ( ThoughtCo )

Another post from ThoughtCo., this article highlights the ten steps for book report success. It was written by an academic advisor and college enrollment counselor.

What’s the Difference Between a Book Report and an Essay?

"Differences Between a Book Report & Essay Writing" ( Classroom)

In this article from the education resource Classroom,  you'll learn the differences and similarities between book reports and essay writing.

"Differences Between a Book Report and Essay Writing" (SeattlePi.com)

In this post from a Seattle newspaper's website, memoirist Christopher Cascio highlights how book report and essay writing differ.

"The Difference Between Essays and Reports" (Solent Online Learning)

This PDF from Southampton Solent University includes a chart demonstrating the differences between essays and reports. Though it is geared toward university students, it will help students of all levels understand the differing purposes of reports and analytical essays.

What’s the Difference Between a Book Report and a Book Review?

"How to Write a Book Review and a Book Report" (Concordia Univ.)

The library at Concordia University offers this helpful guide to writing book report and book reviews. It defines differences between the two, then presents components that both forms share.

"Book Reviews" (Univ. of North Carolina)

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s writing guide shows the step-by-step process of writing book reviews, offering a contrast to the composition of book reports.

Active reading and thoughtful preparation before you begin your book report are necessary components of crafting a successful piece of writing. Here, you’ll find tips and resources to help you learn how to select the right book, decide which format is best for your report, and outline your main points.

Selecting and Finding a Book

"30 Best Books for Elementary Readers" (Education.com)

This article from Education.com lists 30 engaging books for students from kindergarten through fifth grade. It was written by Esme Raji Codell, a teacher, author, and children's literature specialist.

"How to Choose a Good Book for a Report (Middle School)" (WikiHow)

This WikiHow article offers suggestions for middle schoolers on how to choose the right book for a report, from getting started early on the search process to making sure you understand the assignment's requirements.

"Best Book-Report Books for Middle Schoolers" (Common Sense Media)

Common Sense Media has compiled this list of 25 of the best books for middle school book reports. For younger students, the article suggests you check out the site's "50 Books All Kids Should Read Before They're 12."

"50 Books to Read in High School" (Lexington Public Library)

The Lexington, Kentucky Public Library has prepared this list to inspire high school students to choose the right book. It includes both classics and more modern favorites.

The Online Computer Library Center's catalogue helps you locate books in libraries near you, having itemized the collections of 72,000 libraries in 170 countries.

Formats of Book Reports

"Format for Writing a Book Report" ( Your Dictionary )

Here, Your Dictionary supplies guidelines for the basic book report format. It describes what you'll want to include in the heading, and what information to include in the introductory paragraph. Be sure to check these guidelines against your teacher's requirements.

"The Good Old Book Report" (Scholastic)

Nancy Barile’s blog post for Scholastic lists the questions students from middle through high school should address in their book reports.

How to Write an Outline

"Writer’s Web: Creating Outlines" (Univ. of Richmond)

The University of Richmond’s Writing Center shows how you can make use of micro and macro outlines to organize your argument.

"Why and How to Create a Useful Outline" (Purdue OWL)

Purdue’s Online Writing Lab demonstrates how outlines can help you organize your report, then teaches you how to create outlines.

"Creating an Outline" (EasyBib)

EasyBib, a website that generates bibliographies, offers sample outlines and tips for creating your own. The article encourages you to think about transitions and grouping your notes.

"How to Write an Outline: 4 Ways to Organize Your Thoughts" (Grammarly)

This blog post from a professional writer explains the advantages of using an outline, and presents different ways to gather your thoughts before writing.

In this section, you’ll find resources that offer an overview of how to write a book report, including first steps in preparing the introduction. A good book report's introduction hooks the reader with strong opening sentences and provides a preview of where the report is going.

"Step-by-Step Outline for a Book Report" ( Classroom )

This article from Classroom furnishes students with a guide to the stages of writing a book report, from writing the rough draft to revising.

"Your Roadmap to a Better Book Report" ( Time4Writing )

Time4Writing offers tips for outlining your book report, and describes all of the information that the introduction, body, and conclusion should include.

"How to Start a Book Report" ( ThoughtCo)

This ThoughtCo. post, another by academic advisor and college enrollment counselor Grace Fleming, demonstrates how to write a pithy introduction to your book report.

"How to Write an Introduction for a Book Report" ( Classroom )

This brief but helpful post from Classroom  details what makes a good book report introduction, down to the level of individual sentences.

The body paragraphs of your book report accomplish several goals: they describe the plot, delve more deeply into the characters and themes that make the book unique, and include quotations and examples from the book. Below are some resources to help you succeed in summarizing and analyzing your chosen text.

Plot Summary and Description

"How Do You Write a Plot Summary?" ( Reference )

This short article presents the goals of writing a plot summary, and suggests a word limit. It emphasizes that you should stick to the main points and avoid including too many specific details, such as what a particular character wears.

"How to Write a Plot for a Book Report" ( The Pen & The Pad )

In this article from a resource website for writers, Patricia Harrelson outlines what information to include in a plot summary for a book report. 

"How to Write a Book Summary" (WikiHow)

Using Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as an example, this WikiHow article demonstrates how to write a plot summary one step at a time.

Analyzing Characters and Themes

"How to Write a Character Analysis Book Report" ( The Pen & The Pad )

Kristine Tucker shows how to write a book report focusing on character. You can take her suggestions as they are, or consider  incorporating them into the more traditional book report format.

"How to Write a Character Analysis" (YouTube)

The SixMinuteScholar Channel utilizes analysis of the film  Finding Nemo to show you how to delve deeply into character, prioritizing inference over judgment.

"How to Define Theme" ( The Editor's Blog )

Fiction editor Beth Hill contributes an extended definition of theme. She also provides examples of common themes, such as "life is fragile."

"How to Find the Theme of a Book or Short Story" ( ThoughtCo )

This blog post from ThoughtCo. clarifies the definition of theme in relation to symbolism, plot, and moral. It also offers examples of themes in literature, such as love, death, and good vs. evil.

Selecting and Integrating Quotations

"How to Choose and Use Quotations" (Santa Barbara City College)

This guide from a college writing center will help you choose which quotations to use in your book report, and how to blend quotations with your own words.

"Guidelines for Incorporating Quotes" (Ashford Univ.)

This PDF from Ashford University's Writing Center introduces the ICE method for incorporating quotations: introduce, cite, explain.

"Quote Integration" (YouTube)

This video from The Write Way YouTube channel illustrates how to integrate quotations into writing, and also explains how to cite those quotations.

"Using Literary Quotations" (Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison)

This guide from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Writing Center helps you emphasize your analysis of a quotation, and explains how to incorporate quotations into your text.

Conclusions to any type of paper are notoriously tricky to write. Here, you’ll learn some creative ways to tie up loose ends in your report and express your own opinion of the book you read. This open space for sharing opinions that are not grounded in critical research is an element that often distinguishes book reports from other types of writing.

"How to Write a Conclusion for a Book Report" ( Classroom )

This brief article from the education resource  Classroom illustrates the essential points you should make in a book report conclusion.

"Conclusions" (Univ. of North Carolina)

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Writing Center lays out strategies for writing effective conclusions. Though the article is geared toward analytical essay conclusions, the tips offered here will also help you write a strong book report.

"Ending the Essay: Conclusions" (Harvard College Writing Center)

Pat Bellanca’s article for Harvard University’s Writing Center presents ways to conclude essays, along with tips. Again, these are suggestions for concluding analytical essays that can also be used to tie up a book report's loose ends.

Reading closely and in an engaged manner is the strong foundation upon which all good book reports are built. The resources below will give you a picture of what active reading looks like, and offer strategies to assess and improve your reading comprehension. Further, you’ll learn how to take notes—or “annotate” your text—making it easier to find important information as you write.

How to Be an Active Reader

"Active Reading Strategies: Remember and Analyze What You Read" (Princeton Univ.)

Princeton University’s McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning recommends ten strategies for active reading, and includes sample diagrams.

"Active Reading" (Open Univ.)

The Open University offers these techniques for reading actively alongside video examples. The author emphasizes that you should read for comprehension—not simply to finish the book as quickly as possible.

"7 Active Reading Strategies for Students" ( ThoughtCo )

In this post, Grace Fleming outlines seven methods for active reading. Her suggestions include identifying unfamiliar words and finding the main idea. 

"5 Active Reading Strategies for Textbook Assignments" (YouTube)

Thomas Frank’s seven-minute video demonstrates how you can retain the most important information from long and dense reading material.

Assessing Your Reading Comprehension

"Macmillan Readers Level Test" (MacMillan)

Take this online, interactive test from a publishing company to find out your reading level. You'll be asked a number of questions related to grammar and vocabulary.

"Reading Comprehension Practice Test" (ACCUPLACER)

ACCUPLACER is a placement test from The College Board. This 20-question practice test will help you see what information you retain after reading short passages.

"Reading Comprehension" ( English Maven )

The English Maven site has aggregated exercises and tests at various reading levels so you can quiz your reading comprehension skills.

How to Improve Your Reading Comprehension

"5 Tips for Improving Reading Comprehension" ( ThoughtCo )

ThoughtCo. recommends five tips to increase your reading comprehension ability, including reading with tools such as highlighters, and developing new vocabulary.

"How to Improve Reading Comprehension: 8 Expert Tips" (PrepScholar)

This blog post from PrepScholar provides ideas for improving your reading comprehension, from expanding your vocabulary to discussing texts with friends.

CrashCourse video: "Reading Assignments" (YouTube)

This CrashCourse video equips you with tools to read more effectively. It will help you determine how much material you need to read, and what strategies you can use to absorb what you read.

"Improving Reading Comprehension" ( Education Corner )

From a pre-reading survey through post-reading review, Education Corner  walks you through steps to improve reading comprehension.

Methods of In-text Annotation

"The Writing Process: Annotating a Text" (Hunter College)

This article from Hunter College’s Rockowitz Writing Center outlines how to take notes on a text and provides samples of annotation.

"How To Annotate Text While Reading" (YouTube)

This video from the SchoolHabits YouTube channel presents eleven annotation techniques you can use for better reading comprehension.

"5 Ways To Annotate Your Books" ( Book Riot )

This article from the Book Riot  blog highlights five efficient annotation methods that will save you time and protect your books from becoming cluttered with unnecessary markings.

"How Do You Annotate Your Books?" ( Epic Reads )

This post from Epic Reads highlights how different annotation methods work for different people, and showcases classic methods from sticky notes to keeping a reading notebook.

Students at every grade level can benefit from writing book reports, which sharpen critical reading skills. Here, we've aggregated sources to help you plan book report assignments and develop rubrics for written and oral book reports. You’ll also find alternative book report assessment ideas that move beyond the traditional formats.

Teaching Elementary School Students How to Write Book Reports

"Book Reports" ( Unique Teaching Resources )

These reading templates courtesy of Unique Teaching Resources make great visual aids for elementary school students writing their first book reports.

"Elementary Level Book Report Template" ( Teach Beside Me )

This   printable book report template from a teacher-turned-homeschooler is simple, classic, and effective. It asks basic questions, such as "who are the main characters?" and "how did you feel about the main characters?"

"Book Reports" ( ABC Teach )

ABC Teach ’s resource directory includes printables for book reports on various subjects at different grade levels, such as a middle school biography book report form and a "retelling a story" elementary book report template.

"Reading Worksheets" ( Busy Teacher's Cafe )

This page from Busy Teachers’ Cafe contains book report templates alongside reading comprehension and other language arts worksheets.

Teaching Middle School and High School Students How to Write Book Reports

"How to Write a Book Report: Middle and High School Level" ( Fact Monster)

Fact Monster ’s Homework Center discusses each section of a book report, and explains how to evaluate and analyze books based on genre for students in middle and high school.

"Middle School Outline Template for Book Report" (Trinity Catholic School)

This PDF outline template breaks the book report down into manageable sections for seventh and eighth graders by asking for specific information in each paragraph.

"Forms for Writing a Book Report for High School" ( Classroom )

In this article for Classroom,  Elizabeth Thomas describes what content high schoolers should focus on when writing their book reports.

"Forms for Writing a Book Report for High School" ( The Pen & The Pad )

Kori Morgan outlines techniques for adapting the book report assignment to the high school level in this post for The Pen & The Pad .

"High School Book Lists and Report Guidelines" (Highland Hall Waldorf School)

These sample report formats, grading paradigms, and tips are collected by Highland Hall Waldorf School. Attached are book lists by high school grade level.

Sample Rubrics

"Book Review Rubric Editable" (Teachers Pay Teachers)

This free resource from Teachers Pay Teachers allows you to edit your book report rubric to the specifications of your assignment and the grade level you teach.

"Book Review Rubric" (Winton Woods)

This PDF rubric from a city school district includes directions to take the assignment long-term, with follow-up exercises through school quarters.

"Multimedia Book Report Rubric" ( Midlink Magazine )

Perfect for oral book reports, this PDF rubric from North Carolina State University's Midlink Magazine  will help you evaluate your students’ spoken presentations.

Creative Book Report Assignments

"25 Book Report Alternatives" (Scholastic)

This article from the Scholastic website lists creative alternatives to the standard book report for pre-kindergarteners through high schoolers.

"Fresh Ideas for Creative Book Reports" ( Education World )

Education World offers nearly 50 alternative book report ideas in this article, from a book report sandwich to a character trait diagram.

"A Dozen Ways to Make Amazingly Creative Book Reports" ( We Are Teachers )

This post from We Are Teachers puts the spotlight on integrating visual arts into literary study through multimedia book report ideas.

"More Ideas Than You’ll Ever Use for Book Reports" (Teachnet.com)

This list from Teachnet.com includes over 300 ideas for book report assignments, from "interviewing" a character to preparing a travel brochure to the location in which the book is set.

"Fifty Alternatives to the Book Report" (National Council of Teachers of English)

In this PDF resource from the NCTE's  English Journal,  Diana Mitchell offers assignment ideas ranging from character astrology signs to a character alphabet.

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How to write a book review and a book report

A book review is a descriptive and critical/evaluative account of a book. It provides a summary of the content, assesses the value of the book, and recommends it (or not) to other potential readers.

A book report is an objective summary of the main ideas and arguments that the book's author has presented. The purpose of the report is to give enough information to help decide whether the book will be of use or interest to any potential readers.

Common points that both book reviews and book reports share are presented below. The last point, Critical Comments, is intended only for those writing book reviews.

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Bibliographical Information

Give the author's name; full title of book including subtitle; editor, if any; place, publisher and date of publication; edition, if necessary; and the number of pages - all this in the appropriate bibliographical style (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) under the title of the review or report.

Background information

Supply any information about the author which shows their credentials for writing in this field or which reveals any influences which may have affected the author's point of view. Note any interesting circumstances that led to the writing of the book.

Intended audience

The author's intention may be apparent by the way the subject of the book is treated. Is the material meant for specialists, students, or the general public? Is it focused on a specific subject or is it a general survey of a wider subject? Several areas may provide clues: appendices, bibliographies and general indexes usually accompany scholarly works; prefaces and introductions often contain an author's explicit statement of intention; the content and style of expression will be a good indication of the intended audience.

Subject and thesis statement

What is the book about? Tell your reader not only the main concern of the book in its entirety (subject) but also what the author's particular point of view is on that subject (thesis statement). If you cannot find an adequate statement in the author's own words or if you feel that the stated thesis statement is not that which the book actually develops (make sure you check for yourself), then you will have to compose a thesis statement that does cover all the material. This statement must be brief (a sentence or a paragraph), accurate and comprehensive.

Summary of content

The summary is based on your reading notes, follows the author's order, and consists solely of the main ideas which advance the author's argument. It may be presented with the analysis of structure or discussed separately.

Critical comments (book reviews)

Critical comments should form the bulk of the book review. State whether or not you feel the author's treatment of the subject matter is appropriate for the intended audience. Ask yourself:

  • Has the purpose of the book been achieved?
  • What contribution does the book make to the field?
  • Is the treatment of the subject matter objective?
  • Are there facts and evidence that have been omitted?
  • What kinds of data, if any, are used to support the author's thesis statement?
  • Can the same data be interpreted to alternate ends?
  • Is the writing style clear and effective?
  • Does the book raise issues or topics for discussion?

Support your evaluation with evidence from the text. In conclusion, you may want to state whether you liked or disliked the book.

Sources on writing book reviews

Concordia Library sources:

  • Buckley, J. (2013). Fit to print: the Canadian student's guide to essay writing . (see pages 180-185).
  • Drewry, J. E. (1974). Writing book reviews .

Sources on writing book reports

  • Northey, M. & McKibbin, J. (2010). Making sense: A student's guide to research and writing .
  • Teitelbaum, H. (1982). How to write book reports .
  • Purdue Online Writing Lab. (2011). Writing a Book Report

For more information, ask a librarian

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A Beginner's Guide to Writing a Book Report (with Examples)

Last Updated: March 13, 2024 Fact Checked

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Sample Book Reports & Summaries

Expert q&a.

This article was co-authored by Jake Adams and by wikiHow staff writer, Raven Minyard, BA . Jake Adams is an academic tutor and the owner of Simplifi EDU, a Santa Monica, California based online tutoring business offering learning resources and online tutors for academic subjects K-College, SAT & ACT prep, and college admissions applications. With over 14 years of professional tutoring experience, Jake is dedicated to providing his clients the very best online tutoring experience and access to a network of excellent undergraduate and graduate-level tutors from top colleges all over the nation. Jake holds a BS in International Business and Marketing from Pepperdine University. There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 1,413,910 times.

A book report is a short essay that summarizes and analyzes a work of fiction or nonfiction. Writing a book report may not seem fun at first, but it gives you a great chance to fully understand a work and its author. In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about how to write a book report, from choosing a book and outlining to drafting and editing your final paper.

Things You Should Know

  • Read the entire book and take notes on important themes, characters, and events. Use your notes to create an outline with evidence that supports your analysis.
  • Include the title and author in your intro, then summarize the plot, main characters, and setting of the book.
  • Analyze the author’s writing style, as well as the main themes and arguments of the book. Include quotes and examples to support your statements.

Researching Your Book Report

Step 1 Follow the requirements of your assignment.

  • For example, find out if your teacher wants you to include citations, such as page numbers from the book, in your report.
  • Ask your teacher how much of your paper to devote to summary versus analysis. Most book reports are direct summaries with objective analysis rather than your personal opinions. In contrast, a book review or commentary is more opinion-driven.

Jake Adams

  • Some popular books for book reports include To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Animal Farm by George Orwell, and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Choose a book at your grade level.

Step 3 Write down the key elements of the book.

  • Author: Who wrote the book? Do you know any other works by this author?
  • Genre: Is the book fiction or nonfiction? If it’s fiction, is it historical, fantasy, horror, etc.? If it’s nonfiction, is it a biography, memoir, science, etc.?
  • Audience: Who would find this book appealing? Is it intended for a specific age range or gender? Do you typically enjoy books like this?
  • Title: Does the title catch your interest? Does it fit well with the book’s content?
  • Book Cover/Illustrations: What does the book cover convey and does it accurately represent the book? How do you feel when you look at it? If the book has illustrations, what are they and do they hold your interest?

Step 4 Read the entire book.

  • Take breaks while reading to keep your attention sharp. Try to find a pace that is comfortable for you. If you get distracted after 15 minutes, read in 15-minute intervals. If you can go an hour, read for an hour at a time.
  • Give yourself enough time to read the entire book. It’s very difficult to write a book report if you’ve just skimmed over everything. Don’t procrastinate!
  • Don’t trust online book summaries. You can’t guarantee that they are accurate or true to the text.

Step 5 Take careful notes when reading.

  • For example, look for a sentence that clearly describes a main setting in the book, such as “The castle was gloomy and made out of large black stones.”

Outlining Your Book Report

Step 1 Create an outline.

  • Introduction: Introduce the title, author, and publication information. Include a brief overview of the book’s genre and main theme, and state your purpose for writing the report.
  • Summary: Concisely summarize the plot or central idea, highlighting main events, characters, and conflicts. Focus on important aspects while avoiding spoilers.
  • Analysis and Evaluation: Evaluate the author’s writing style and use of literary devices, like foreshadowing, metaphors, imagery, etc. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the book and use quotes and examples from the text.
  • Themes and Messages: Identify the book’s main themes or messages and how they develop through the course of the book. Provide specific quotes and examples.
  • Character Analysis: Analyze the main characters in the book, their development, and their relationships. Explain their motivations, personalities, and significance to the story. Provide examples and quotes to support your analysis.
  • Personal Reflection: Depending on your teacher’s instructions, you might share your personal opinions and discuss what you liked and disliked about the book. Reflect on how the book relates to broader themes or issues.
  • Conclusion: Summarize your main points and conclude with your final thoughts or reflections on the book.
  • Bibliography: If required, include a works cited page or bibliography listing all the sources you used to write your book report.
  • Outlining takes time, but it saves you more time once you reach the editing stage.
  • Some people prefer to outline with pen and paper, while others just type up a list on the computer. Choose the method that works best for you.

Step 2 Intermix examples and quotations from the text.

  • Be careful not to overuse quotes. If it seems like every other line is a quote, try to dial back. Aim to include a maximum of one quotation per paragraph. Quotes and examples should still take a backseat to your summary.

Step 3 Don’t try to cover everything.

  • For example, you’ll likely need to focus primarily on discussing the most important characters or the characters that appear most frequently in the text.
  • When you are finished with your outline, go back through it to see if it makes sense. If the paragraphs don’t flow into one another, move them around or add/delete new ones until they do.
  • Also, check to see if your outline covers all of the major elements of the book, such as the plot, characters, and setting.

Writing Your Book Report

Step 1 Open with an informative intro paragraph.

  • For example, a sentence summary might state, “This book is about the main character’s journey to Africa and what she learns on her travels.”
  • Don’t take up too much space with your introduction. In general, an introduction should be 3-6 sentences long, though in rare cases, they may be longer or shorter.

Step 2 Describe the book’s setting.

  • Use vivid language when you can and include plenty of details. For example, you might write, “The farm was surrounded by rolling hills.”

Step 3 Include a general plot summary.

  • For instance, if the main character moves to Africa, you might describe what happens before the move, how the move goes, and how they settle in once they arrive.

Step 4 Introduce the main characters.

  • For example, you might write that the main character is “a middle-aged woman who enjoys the finer things in life, such as designer clothes.” Then, connect this description to the plot summary by describing how her views change after her travels, if they do.
  • Expect to introduce the characters in the same sentences and paragraphs as the plot introduction.

Step 5 Examine main themes and/or arguments in your body paragraphs.

  • You might write, “The author argues that travel gives you a new perspective. That is why her main characters all seem happier and more grounded after visiting new places.”
  • For fiction, determine if the author is using the story to pass along a certain moral or lesson. For example, a book about an underdog athlete could encourage readers to take chances to pursue their dreams.

Step 6 Comment on the writing style and tone.

  • For example, an author who uses lots of slang terms is probably going for a hip, approachable style.

Step 7 Write a concise conclusion.

  • Some teachers require, or strongly suggest, that you include the author’s name and the book title in your concluding paragraph.
  • When writing a conclusion , don’t introduce any new thoughts. Any important points should be made in your body paragraphs. Save the space for your recap.

Step 8 Include a bibliography, if required.

Reviewing and Revising Your Book Report

Step 1 Edit your paper.

  • Before you submit your paper, make sure that you’ve spelled the author’s name and any character names correctly.
  • Don’t trust your computer’s spell check to catch all the errors for you. Spell check can be helpful, but it isn’t perfect and can make mistakes.

Step 2 Ask someone else to read it.

  • If you’re nervous about asking, try saying something like “It would be great if you could go over my book report and make sure that it reads smoothly.”
  • Remember, no one’s first draft is perfect, so don’t get upset if someone suggests you do something differently. They want to help make your report the best it can be, so don’t take constructive criticism personally.

Step 3 Polish your final draft.

  • For example, double-check that you are using the correct font, font size, and margins.
  • Once you've finished proofreading, revising, and checking that you've addressed all the requirements, you're ready to submit your book report!

book review or book report

  • Even though your book report is your own work, avoid using “I” too much. It can make your writing feel choppy. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
  • It might be tempting to watch the movie or read the online notes instead of reading the book. Resist this urge! Your teacher will be able to tell the difference. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0

Tips from our Readers

  • Calm down and walk around if you get too frustrated while writing. If you write a book report while angry, you're more likely to misspell things!
  • Choose a unique book. Harry Potter or Percy Jackson is an absolute no. Everyone chooses those. Try something different!
  • Write when anything comes to mind! You don't want to lose your ideas!

book review or book report

  • Give yourself plenty of time to write your report. Don’t wait until the last minute or you may feel rushed. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
  • Stealing or using another person’s work is considered plagiarism and academic dishonesty. Make sure that the work you submit is all your own. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0

You Might Also Like

Write a Comparative Essay

  • ↑ https://www.aresearchguide.com/write-book-report.html
  • ↑ Jake Adams. Academic Tutor & Test Prep Specialist. Expert Interview. 24 July 2020.
  • ↑ https://grammark.org/how-to-write-a-book-report/
  • ↑ https://library.valleycollege.edu/elements_of_book_report.pdf
  • ↑ https://takelessons.com/blog/steps-to-writing-a-book-report
  • ↑ https://www.infoplease.com/homework-help/homework-center-writing-book-report
  • ↑ https://liberalarts.oregonstate.edu/wlf/what-setting
  • ↑ https://www.tcc.edu/wp-content/uploads/archive/writing-center-handouts/essay-types-plot-summary.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.cornerstone.edu/blog-post/six-steps-to-really-edit-your-paper/

About This Article

Jake Adams

To write a book report, start by introducing the author and the name of the book and then briefly summarizing the story. Next, discuss the main themes and point out what you think the author is trying to suggest to the reader. Finally, write about the author’s style of writing, paying particular attention to word choice and the overall tone of the book. For tips on editing and polishing your paper before turning it in, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to Write a Book Report (+ Book Report Example) 

Download for free, specific tips for writing effective book reports..

Write better book reports using the tips, examples, and outlines presented here. This resource covers three types of effective book reports: plot summaries, character analyses, and theme analyses. It also features a specific book report example for students.

How to write a book report (+ book report example) 

Whether you're a student looking to show your comprehension of a novel, or simply a book lover wanting to share your thoughts, writing a book report can be a rewarding experience. This guide, filled with tips, tricks, and a book report example, will help you craft a report that effectively communicates your understanding and analysis of your chosen book.

Looking for a printable resource on book reports? See our Printable Book Report Outlines and Examples

What is a book report? 

Book reports can take on many different forms. Writing a book review helps you practice giving your opinion about different aspects of a book, such as an author's use of description or dialogue.

You can write book reports of any type, from fiction to non-fiction research papers, or essay writing; however, there are a few basic elements you need to include to convey why the book you read was interesting when writing a good book report.

Close up shot of student writing a book report in class. Book report example.

Types of book reports 

Three types of effective book reports are plot summaries, character analyses, and theme analyses. Each type focuses on different aspects of the book and requires a unique approach. These three types of book reports will help you demonstrate your understanding of the book in different ways.

Plot summary

When you are writing a plot summary for your book report you don't want to simply summarize the story. You need to explain what your opinion is of the story and why you feel the plot is so compelling, unrealistic, or sappy. It is the way you analyze the plot that will make this a good report. Make sure that you use plenty of examples from the book to support your opinions.

Try starting the report with a sentence similar to the following:

The plot of I Married a Sea Captain , by Monica Hubbard, is interesting because it gives the reader a realistic sense of what it was like to be the wife of a whaling captain and live on Nantucket during the 19th century.

Character analysis

If you choose to write a character analysis, you can explore the physical and personality traits of different characters and the way their actions affect the plot of the book.

  • Explore the way a character dresses and what impression that leaves with the reader.
  • What positive characteristics does the character possess?
  • Does the character have a "fatal flaw" that gets him/her into trouble frequently?
  • Try taking examples of dialogue and analyzing the way a character speaks. Discuss the words he/she chooses and the way his/her words affect other characters.
  • Finally, tie all of your observations together by explaining the way the characters make the plot move forward.

In the novel Charlotte's Web , by E. B. White, Templeton the rat may seem like an unnecessary character but his constant quest for food moves the plot forward in many ways.

Theme analyses

Exploring the themes (or big ideas that run throughout the story) in a book can be a great way to write a book report because picking a theme that you care about can make the report easier to write. Try bringing some of your thoughts and feelings as a reader into the report as a way to show the power of a theme. Before you discuss your own thoughts, however, be sure to establish what the theme is and how it appears in the story.

  • Explain  exactly  what theme you will be exploring in your book report.
  • Use as many examples and quotations from the book as possible to prove that the theme is important to the story.
  • Make sure that you talk about each example or quotation you've included. Make a direct connection between the theme and the example from the book.
  • After you have established the theme and thoroughly examined the way it affects the book, include a few sentences about the impact the theme had upon you and why it made the book more or less enjoyable to read.

In the novel Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry , by Mildred Taylor, the theme of racial prejudice is a major catalyst in the story.

How to write a book report

Close up shot of male student writing a book report in journal. Book report example.

1. Thoroughly read the book

Immerse yourself in the book, taking the time to read it in its entirety. As you read, jot down notes on important aspects such as key points, themes, and character developments.

2. Identify the main elements of the book

Scrutinize the book's primary components, including its main themes, characters, setting, and plot. These elements will form the basis of your report.

3. Formulate a thesis statement

Compose a thesis statement that encapsulates your personal perspective about the book. This should be a concise statement that will guide your analysis and give your report a clear focus.

4. Create a detailed outline

Plan the structure of your book report. This outline should include an introduction, body paragraphs each focusing on a different aspect of the book, and a conclusion.

5. Craft the introduction

The introduction should provide basic information such as the book's title and author, and present your thesis statement. It should engage the reader and make them interested in your analysis.

6. Write the body of the report

In the body of your report, discuss in detail the book's main elements that you identified in step 3. Use specific examples from the text to support your analysis and to prove your thesis statement.

7. Write a strong conclusion

Your conclusion should summarize your analysis, reaffirm your thesis, and provide a closing thought or reflection on the overall book.

8. Review and edit your report

After writing, take the time to revise your report for clarity and coherence. Check for and correct any grammar or spelling errors. Ensure that your report clearly communicates your understanding and analysis of the book.

9. Include citations

If you have used direct quotes or specific ideas from the book, make sure to include proper citations . This is crucial in academic writing and helps avoid plagiarism.

10. Proofread

Finally, proofread your work. Look for any missed errors and make sure that the report is the best it can be before submitting it.

High school teacher hands back graded book reports. Book report example.

Book report example 

Below is a book report example on the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

In  To Kill a Mockingbird , Harper Lee presents a thoughtful exploration of racial prejudice, morality, and the loss of innocence. Set in the small, fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the Great Depression, the book centers around the Finch family - young Scout, her older brother Jem, and their widowed father, Atticus. Scout's character provides a fresh perspective as she narrates her experiences and observations of the unjust racial prejudice in her town. Her honesty and curiosity, coupled with her father's teachings, allow her to grow from innocence to a more profound understanding of her society's inequalities. The plot revolves around Atticus Finch, a respected lawyer, defending a black man, Tom Robinson, unjustly accused of raping a white woman. As the trial progresses, it becomes clear that Robinson is innocent, and the accusation was a product of racial prejudice. Despite compelling evidence in Robinson's favor, he is convicted, symbolizing the power of bias over truth. The theme of racial prejudice is a significant part of the book. Lee uses the trial and its unjust outcome to critique the racial prejudice prevalent in society. For example, despite Atticus's solid defense, the jury's racial bias leads them to find Robinson guilty. This instance highlights how deeply ingrained prejudice can subvert justice. The book also explores the theme of the loss of innocence. Scout and Jem's experiences with prejudice and injustice lead to their loss of innocence and a better understanding of the world's complexities. For example, Scout's realization of her town's unfair treatment of Robinson demonstrates her loss of innocence and her understanding of societal biases. Overall,  To Kill a Mockingbird  is a compelling exploration of the harsh realities of prejudice and the loss of innocence. Harper Lee's intricate characters and vivid storytelling have made this book a classic.

The above is an excellent book report example for several reasons. First, it provides a clear, concise summary of the plot without giving away the entire story. Second, it analyzes the main characters, their roles, and their impacts on the story. Third, it discusses the major themes of the book - racial prejudice and loss of innocence - and supports these themes with evidence from the text. Finally, it presents a personal perspective on the book's impact and overall message, demonstrating a deep understanding of the book's significance.

Book report checklist

Always  include the following elements in any book report:

  • The type of book report you are writing
  • The book's title
  • The author of the book
  • The time when the story takes place
  • The location where the story takes place
  • The names and a  brief  description of each of the characters you will be discussing
  • Many quotations and examples from the book to support your opinions
  • A thesis statement
  • The point of view of the narrator
  • Summary of the book
  • The main points or themes discussed in the work of fiction or non-fiction
  • The first paragraph (introductory paragraph), body paragraphs, and final paragraph
  • The writing styles of the author
  • A critical analysis of the fiction or non-fiction book

Don't forget! 

No matter what type of book report you decide to write, ensure it includes basic information about the main characters, and make sure that your writing is clear and expressive so that it’s easy for audiences in middle school, high school, college-level, or any grade level to understand. Also, include examples from the book to support your opinions. Afterward, conduct thorough proofreading to complete the writing process. Book reports may seem disconnected from your other schoolwork, but they help you learn to summarize, compare and contrast, make predictions and connections, and consider different perspectives & skills you'll need throughout your life.

Looking for more writing resources? You can find them in our creative writing center .

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Book Reviews

What this handout is about.

This handout will help you write a book review, a report or essay that offers a critical perspective on a text. It offers a process and suggests some strategies for writing book reviews.

What is a review?

A review is a critical evaluation of a text, event, object, or phenomenon. Reviews can consider books, articles, entire genres or fields of literature, architecture, art, fashion, restaurants, policies, exhibitions, performances, and many other forms. This handout will focus on book reviews. For a similar assignment, see our handout on literature reviews .

Above all, a review makes an argument. The most important element of a review is that it is a commentary, not merely a summary. It allows you to enter into dialogue and discussion with the work’s creator and with other audiences. You can offer agreement or disagreement and identify where you find the work exemplary or deficient in its knowledge, judgments, or organization. You should clearly state your opinion of the work in question, and that statement will probably resemble other types of academic writing, with a thesis statement, supporting body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Typically, reviews are brief. In newspapers and academic journals, they rarely exceed 1000 words, although you may encounter lengthier assignments and extended commentaries. In either case, reviews need to be succinct. While they vary in tone, subject, and style, they share some common features:

  • First, a review gives the reader a concise summary of the content. This includes a relevant description of the topic as well as its overall perspective, argument, or purpose.
  • Second, and more importantly, a review offers a critical assessment of the content. This involves your reactions to the work under review: what strikes you as noteworthy, whether or not it was effective or persuasive, and how it enhanced your understanding of the issues at hand.
  • Finally, in addition to analyzing the work, a review often suggests whether or not the audience would appreciate it.

Becoming an expert reviewer: three short examples

Reviewing can be a daunting task. Someone has asked for your opinion about something that you may feel unqualified to evaluate. Who are you to criticize Toni Morrison’s new book if you’ve never written a novel yourself, much less won a Nobel Prize? The point is that someone—a professor, a journal editor, peers in a study group—wants to know what you think about a particular work. You may not be (or feel like) an expert, but you need to pretend to be one for your particular audience. Nobody expects you to be the intellectual equal of the work’s creator, but your careful observations can provide you with the raw material to make reasoned judgments. Tactfully voicing agreement and disagreement, praise and criticism, is a valuable, challenging skill, and like many forms of writing, reviews require you to provide concrete evidence for your assertions.

Consider the following brief book review written for a history course on medieval Europe by a student who is fascinated with beer:

Judith Bennett’s Ale, Beer, and Brewsters in England: Women’s Work in a Changing World, 1300-1600, investigates how women used to brew and sell the majority of ale drunk in England. Historically, ale and beer (not milk, wine, or water) were important elements of the English diet. Ale brewing was low-skill and low status labor that was complimentary to women’s domestic responsibilities. In the early fifteenth century, brewers began to make ale with hops, and they called this new drink “beer.” This technique allowed brewers to produce their beverages at a lower cost and to sell it more easily, although women generally stopped brewing once the business became more profitable.

The student describes the subject of the book and provides an accurate summary of its contents. But the reader does not learn some key information expected from a review: the author’s argument, the student’s appraisal of the book and its argument, and whether or not the student would recommend the book. As a critical assessment, a book review should focus on opinions, not facts and details. Summary should be kept to a minimum, and specific details should serve to illustrate arguments.

Now consider a review of the same book written by a slightly more opinionated student:

Judith Bennett’s Ale, Beer, and Brewsters in England: Women’s Work in a Changing World, 1300-1600 was a colossal disappointment. I wanted to know about the rituals surrounding drinking in medieval England: the songs, the games, the parties. Bennett provided none of that information. I liked how the book showed ale and beer brewing as an economic activity, but the reader gets lost in the details of prices and wages. I was more interested in the private lives of the women brewsters. The book was divided into eight long chapters, and I can’t imagine why anyone would ever want to read it.

There’s no shortage of judgments in this review! But the student does not display a working knowledge of the book’s argument. The reader has a sense of what the student expected of the book, but no sense of what the author herself set out to prove. Although the student gives several reasons for the negative review, those examples do not clearly relate to each other as part of an overall evaluation—in other words, in support of a specific thesis. This review is indeed an assessment, but not a critical one.

Here is one final review of the same book:

One of feminism’s paradoxes—one that challenges many of its optimistic histories—is how patriarchy remains persistent over time. While Judith Bennett’s Ale, Beer, and Brewsters in England: Women’s Work in a Changing World, 1300-1600 recognizes medieval women as historical actors through their ale brewing, it also shows that female agency had its limits with the advent of beer. I had assumed that those limits were religious and political, but Bennett shows how a “patriarchal equilibrium” shut women out of economic life as well. Her analysis of women’s wages in ale and beer production proves that a change in women’s work does not equate to a change in working women’s status. Contemporary feminists and historians alike should read Bennett’s book and think twice when they crack open their next brewsky.

This student’s review avoids the problems of the previous two examples. It combines balanced opinion and concrete example, a critical assessment based on an explicitly stated rationale, and a recommendation to a potential audience. The reader gets a sense of what the book’s author intended to demonstrate. Moreover, the student refers to an argument about feminist history in general that places the book in a specific genre and that reaches out to a general audience. The example of analyzing wages illustrates an argument, the analysis engages significant intellectual debates, and the reasons for the overall positive review are plainly visible. The review offers criteria, opinions, and support with which the reader can agree or disagree.

Developing an assessment: before you write

There is no definitive method to writing a review, although some critical thinking about the work at hand is necessary before you actually begin writing. Thus, writing a review is a two-step process: developing an argument about the work under consideration, and making that argument as you write an organized and well-supported draft. See our handout on argument .

What follows is a series of questions to focus your thinking as you dig into the work at hand. While the questions specifically consider book reviews, you can easily transpose them to an analysis of performances, exhibitions, and other review subjects. Don’t feel obligated to address each of the questions; some will be more relevant than others to the book in question.

  • What is the thesis—or main argument—of the book? If the author wanted you to get one idea from the book, what would it be? How does it compare or contrast to the world you know? What has the book accomplished?
  • What exactly is the subject or topic of the book? Does the author cover the subject adequately? Does the author cover all aspects of the subject in a balanced fashion? What is the approach to the subject (topical, analytical, chronological, descriptive)?
  • How does the author support their argument? What evidence do they use to prove their point? Do you find that evidence convincing? Why or why not? Does any of the author’s information (or conclusions) conflict with other books you’ve read, courses you’ve taken or just previous assumptions you had of the subject?
  • How does the author structure their argument? What are the parts that make up the whole? Does the argument make sense? Does it persuade you? Why or why not?
  • How has this book helped you understand the subject? Would you recommend the book to your reader?

Beyond the internal workings of the book, you may also consider some information about the author and the circumstances of the text’s production:

  • Who is the author? Nationality, political persuasion, training, intellectual interests, personal history, and historical context may provide crucial details about how a work takes shape. Does it matter, for example, that the biographer was the subject’s best friend? What difference would it make if the author participated in the events they write about?
  • What is the book’s genre? Out of what field does it emerge? Does it conform to or depart from the conventions of its genre? These questions can provide a historical or literary standard on which to base your evaluations. If you are reviewing the first book ever written on the subject, it will be important for your readers to know. Keep in mind, though, that naming “firsts”—alongside naming “bests” and “onlys”—can be a risky business unless you’re absolutely certain.

Writing the review

Once you have made your observations and assessments of the work under review, carefully survey your notes and attempt to unify your impressions into a statement that will describe the purpose or thesis of your review. Check out our handout on thesis statements . Then, outline the arguments that support your thesis.

Your arguments should develop the thesis in a logical manner. That logic, unlike more standard academic writing, may initially emphasize the author’s argument while you develop your own in the course of the review. The relative emphasis depends on the nature of the review: if readers may be more interested in the work itself, you may want to make the work and the author more prominent; if you want the review to be about your perspective and opinions, then you may structure the review to privilege your observations over (but never separate from) those of the work under review. What follows is just one of many ways to organize a review.

Introduction

Since most reviews are brief, many writers begin with a catchy quip or anecdote that succinctly delivers their argument. But you can introduce your review differently depending on the argument and audience. The Writing Center’s handout on introductions can help you find an approach that works. In general, you should include:

  • The name of the author and the book title and the main theme.
  • Relevant details about who the author is and where they stand in the genre or field of inquiry. You could also link the title to the subject to show how the title explains the subject matter.
  • The context of the book and/or your review. Placing your review in a framework that makes sense to your audience alerts readers to your “take” on the book. Perhaps you want to situate a book about the Cuban revolution in the context of Cold War rivalries between the United States and the Soviet Union. Another reviewer might want to consider the book in the framework of Latin American social movements. Your choice of context informs your argument.
  • The thesis of the book. If you are reviewing fiction, this may be difficult since novels, plays, and short stories rarely have explicit arguments. But identifying the book’s particular novelty, angle, or originality allows you to show what specific contribution the piece is trying to make.
  • Your thesis about the book.

Summary of content

This should be brief, as analysis takes priority. In the course of making your assessment, you’ll hopefully be backing up your assertions with concrete evidence from the book, so some summary will be dispersed throughout other parts of the review.

The necessary amount of summary also depends on your audience. Graduate students, beware! If you are writing book reviews for colleagues—to prepare for comprehensive exams, for example—you may want to devote more attention to summarizing the book’s contents. If, on the other hand, your audience has already read the book—such as a class assignment on the same work—you may have more liberty to explore more subtle points and to emphasize your own argument. See our handout on summary for more tips.

Analysis and evaluation of the book

Your analysis and evaluation should be organized into paragraphs that deal with single aspects of your argument. This arrangement can be challenging when your purpose is to consider the book as a whole, but it can help you differentiate elements of your criticism and pair assertions with evidence more clearly. You do not necessarily need to work chronologically through the book as you discuss it. Given the argument you want to make, you can organize your paragraphs more usefully by themes, methods, or other elements of the book. If you find it useful to include comparisons to other books, keep them brief so that the book under review remains in the spotlight. Avoid excessive quotation and give a specific page reference in parentheses when you do quote. Remember that you can state many of the author’s points in your own words.

Sum up or restate your thesis or make the final judgment regarding the book. You should not introduce new evidence for your argument in the conclusion. You can, however, introduce new ideas that go beyond the book if they extend the logic of your own thesis. This paragraph needs to balance the book’s strengths and weaknesses in order to unify your evaluation. Did the body of your review have three negative paragraphs and one favorable one? What do they all add up to? The Writing Center’s handout on conclusions can help you make a final assessment.

Finally, a few general considerations:

  • Review the book in front of you, not the book you wish the author had written. You can and should point out shortcomings or failures, but don’t criticize the book for not being something it was never intended to be.
  • With any luck, the author of the book worked hard to find the right words to express her ideas. You should attempt to do the same. Precise language allows you to control the tone of your review.
  • Never hesitate to challenge an assumption, approach, or argument. Be sure, however, to cite specific examples to back up your assertions carefully.
  • Try to present a balanced argument about the value of the book for its audience. You’re entitled—and sometimes obligated—to voice strong agreement or disagreement. But keep in mind that a bad book takes as long to write as a good one, and every author deserves fair treatment. Harsh judgments are difficult to prove and can give readers the sense that you were unfair in your assessment.
  • A great place to learn about book reviews is to look at examples. The New York Times Sunday Book Review and The New York Review of Books can show you how professional writers review books.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Drewry, John. 1974. Writing Book Reviews. Boston: Greenwood Press.

Hoge, James. 1987. Literary Reviewing. Charlottesville: University Virginia of Press.

Sova, Dawn, and Harry Teitelbaum. 2002. How to Write Book Reports , 4th ed. Lawrenceville, NY: Thomson/Arco.

Walford, A.J. 1986. Reviews and Reviewing: A Guide. Phoenix: Oryx Press.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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17 Book Review Examples to Help You Write the Perfect Review

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Blog – Posted on Friday, Mar 29

17 book review examples to help you write the perfect review.

17 Book Review Examples to Help You Write the Perfect Review

It’s an exciting time to be a book reviewer. Once confined to print newspapers and journals, reviews now dot many corridors of the Internet — forever helping others discover their next great read. That said, every book reviewer will face a familiar panic: how can you do justice to a great book in just a thousand words?

As you know, the best way to learn how to do something is by immersing yourself in it. Luckily, the Internet (i.e. Goodreads and other review sites , in particular) has made book reviews more accessible than ever — which means that there are a lot of book reviews examples out there for you to view!

In this post, we compiled 17 prototypical book review examples in multiple genres to help you figure out how to write the perfect review . If you want to jump straight to the examples, you can skip the next section. Otherwise, let’s first check out what makes up a good review.

Are you interested in becoming a book reviewer? We recommend you check out Reedsy Discovery , where you can earn money for writing reviews — and are guaranteed people will read your reviews! To register as a book reviewer, sign up here.

Pro-tip : But wait! How are you sure if you should become a book reviewer in the first place? If you're on the fence, or curious about your match with a book reviewing career, take our quick quiz:

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What must a book review contain?

Like all works of art, no two book reviews will be identical. But fear not: there are a few guidelines for any aspiring book reviewer to follow. Most book reviews, for instance, are less than 1,500 words long, with the sweet spot hitting somewhere around the 1,000-word mark. (However, this may vary depending on the platform on which you’re writing, as we’ll see later.)

In addition, all reviews share some universal elements, as shown in our book review templates . These include:

  • A review will offer a concise plot summary of the book. 
  • A book review will offer an evaluation of the work. 
  • A book review will offer a recommendation for the audience. 

If these are the basic ingredients that make up a book review, it’s the tone and style with which the book reviewer writes that brings the extra panache. This will differ from platform to platform, of course. A book review on Goodreads, for instance, will be much more informal and personal than a book review on Kirkus Reviews, as it is catering to a different audience. However, at the end of the day, the goal of all book reviews is to give the audience the tools to determine whether or not they’d like to read the book themselves.

Keeping that in mind, let’s proceed to some book review examples to put all of this in action.

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Book review examples for fiction books

Since story is king in the world of fiction, it probably won’t come as any surprise to learn that a book review for a novel will concentrate on how well the story was told .

That said, book reviews in all genres follow the same basic formula that we discussed earlier. In these examples, you’ll be able to see how book reviewers on different platforms expertly intertwine the plot summary and their personal opinions of the book to produce a clear, informative, and concise review.

Note: Some of the book review examples run very long. If a book review is truncated in this post, we’ve indicated by including a […] at the end, but you can always read the entire review if you click on the link provided.

Examples of literary fiction book reviews

Kirkus Reviews reviews Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man :

An extremely powerful story of a young Southern Negro, from his late high school days through three years of college to his life in Harlem.
His early training prepared him for a life of humility before white men, but through injustices- large and small, he came to realize that he was an "invisible man". People saw in him only a reflection of their preconceived ideas of what he was, denied his individuality, and ultimately did not see him at all. This theme, which has implications far beyond the obvious racial parallel, is skillfully handled. The incidents of the story are wholly absorbing. The boy's dismissal from college because of an innocent mistake, his shocked reaction to the anonymity of the North and to Harlem, his nightmare experiences on a one-day job in a paint factory and in the hospital, his lightning success as the Harlem leader of a communistic organization known as the Brotherhood, his involvement in black versus white and black versus black clashes and his disillusion and understanding of his invisibility- all climax naturally in scenes of violence and riot, followed by a retreat which is both literal and figurative. Parts of this experience may have been told before, but never with such freshness, intensity and power.
This is Ellison's first novel, but he has complete control of his story and his style. Watch it.

Lyndsey reviews George Orwell’s 1984 on Goodreads:

YOU. ARE. THE. DEAD. Oh my God. I got the chills so many times toward the end of this book. It completely blew my mind. It managed to surpass my high expectations AND be nothing at all like I expected. Or in Newspeak "Double Plus Good." Let me preface this with an apology. If I sound stunningly inarticulate at times in this review, I can't help it. My mind is completely fried.
This book is like the dystopian Lord of the Rings, with its richly developed culture and economics, not to mention a fully developed language called Newspeak, or rather more of the anti-language, whose purpose is to limit speech and understanding instead of to enhance and expand it. The world-building is so fully fleshed out and spine-tinglingly terrifying that it's almost as if George travelled to such a place, escaped from it, and then just wrote it all down.
I read Fahrenheit 451 over ten years ago in my early teens. At the time, I remember really wanting to read 1984, although I never managed to get my hands on it. I'm almost glad I didn't. Though I would not have admitted it at the time, it would have gone over my head. Or at the very least, I wouldn't have been able to appreciate it fully. […]

The New York Times reviews Lisa Halliday’s Asymmetry :

Three-quarters of the way through Lisa Halliday’s debut novel, “Asymmetry,” a British foreign correspondent named Alistair is spending Christmas on a compound outside of Baghdad. His fellow revelers include cameramen, defense contractors, United Nations employees and aid workers. Someone’s mother has FedExed a HoneyBaked ham from Maine; people are smoking by the swimming pool. It is 2003, just days after Saddam Hussein’s capture, and though the mood is optimistic, Alistair is worrying aloud about the ethics of his chosen profession, wondering if reporting on violence doesn’t indirectly abet violence and questioning why he’d rather be in a combat zone than reading a picture book to his son. But every time he returns to London, he begins to “spin out.” He can’t go home. “You observe what people do with their freedom — what they don’t do — and it’s impossible not to judge them for it,” he says.
The line, embedded unceremoniously in the middle of a page-long paragraph, doubles, like so many others in “Asymmetry,” as literary criticism. Halliday’s novel is so strange and startlingly smart that its mere existence seems like commentary on the state of fiction. One finishes “Asymmetry” for the first or second (or like this reader, third) time and is left wondering what other writers are not doing with their freedom — and, like Alistair, judging them for it.
Despite its title, “Asymmetry” comprises two seemingly unrelated sections of equal length, appended by a slim and quietly shocking coda. Halliday’s prose is clean and lean, almost reportorial in the style of W. G. Sebald, and like the murmurings of a shy person at a cocktail party, often comic only in single clauses. It’s a first novel that reads like the work of an author who has published many books over many years. […]

Emily W. Thompson reviews Michael Doane's The Crossing on Reedsy Discovery :

In Doane’s debut novel, a young man embarks on a journey of self-discovery with surprising results.
An unnamed protagonist (The Narrator) is dealing with heartbreak. His love, determined to see the world, sets out for Portland, Oregon. But he’s a small-town boy who hasn’t traveled much. So, the Narrator mourns her loss and hides from life, throwing himself into rehabbing an old motorcycle. Until one day, he takes a leap; he packs his bike and a few belongings and heads out to find the Girl.
Following in the footsteps of Jack Kerouac and William Least Heat-Moon, Doane offers a coming of age story about a man finding himself on the backroads of America. Doane’s a gifted writer with fluid prose and insightful observations, using The Narrator’s personal interactions to illuminate the diversity of the United States.
The Narrator initially sticks to the highways, trying to make it to the West Coast as quickly as possible. But a hitchhiker named Duke convinces him to get off the beaten path and enjoy the ride. “There’s not a place that’s like any other,” [39] Dukes contends, and The Narrator realizes he’s right. Suddenly, the trip is about the journey, not just the destination. The Narrator ditches his truck and traverses the deserts and mountains on his bike. He destroys his phone, cutting off ties with his past and living only in the moment.
As he crosses the country, The Narrator connects with several unique personalities whose experiences and views deeply impact his own. Duke, the complicated cowboy and drifter, who opens The Narrator’s eyes to a larger world. Zooey, the waitress in Colorado who opens his heart and reminds him that love can be found in this big world. And Rosie, The Narrator’s sweet landlady in Portland, who helps piece him back together both physically and emotionally.
This supporting cast of characters is excellent. Duke, in particular, is wonderfully nuanced and complicated. He’s a throwback to another time, a man without a cell phone who reads Sartre and sleeps under the stars. Yet he’s also a grifter with a “love ‘em and leave ‘em” attitude that harms those around him. It’s fascinating to watch The Narrator wrestle with Duke’s behavior, trying to determine which to model and which to discard.
Doane creates a relatable protagonist in The Narrator, whose personal growth doesn’t erase his faults. His willingness to hit the road with few resources is admirable, and he’s prescient enough to recognize the jealousy of those who cannot or will not take the leap. His encounters with new foods, places, and people broaden his horizons. Yet his immaturity and selfishness persist. He tells Rosie she’s been a good mother to him but chooses to ignore the continuing concern from his own parents as he effectively disappears from his old life.
Despite his flaws, it’s a pleasure to accompany The Narrator on his physical and emotional journey. The unexpected ending is a fitting denouement to an epic and memorable road trip.

The Book Smugglers review Anissa Gray’s The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls :

I am still dipping my toes into the literally fiction pool, finding what works for me and what doesn’t. Books like The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray are definitely my cup of tea.
Althea and Proctor Cochran had been pillars of their economically disadvantaged community for years – with their local restaurant/small market and their charity drives. Until they are found guilty of fraud for stealing and keeping most of the money they raised and sent to jail. Now disgraced, their entire family is suffering the consequences, specially their twin teenage daughters Baby Vi and Kim.  To complicate matters even more: Kim was actually the one to call the police on her parents after yet another fight with her mother. […]

Examples of children’s and YA fiction book reviews

The Book Hookup reviews Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give :

♥ Quick Thoughts and Rating: 5 stars! I can’t imagine how challenging it would be to tackle the voice of a movement like Black Lives Matter, but I do know that Thomas did it with a finesse only a talented author like herself possibly could. With an unapologetically realistic delivery packed with emotion, The Hate U Give is a crucially important portrayal of the difficulties minorities face in our country every single day. I have no doubt that this book will be met with resistance by some (possibly many) and slapped with a “controversial” label, but if you’ve ever wondered what it was like to walk in a POC’s shoes, then I feel like this is an unflinchingly honest place to start.
In Angie Thomas’s debut novel, Starr Carter bursts on to the YA scene with both heart-wrecking and heartwarming sincerity. This author is definitely one to watch.
♥ Review: The hype around this book has been unquestionable and, admittedly, that made me both eager to get my hands on it and terrified to read it. I mean, what if I was to be the one person that didn’t love it as much as others? (That seems silly now because of how truly mesmerizing THUG was in the most heartbreakingly realistic way.) However, with the relevancy of its summary in regards to the unjust predicaments POC currently face in the US, I knew this one was a must-read, so I was ready to set my fears aside and dive in. That said, I had an altogether more personal, ulterior motive for wanting to read this book. […]

The New York Times reviews Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood :

Alice Crewe (a last name she’s chosen for herself) is a fairy tale legacy: the granddaughter of Althea Proserpine, author of a collection of dark-as-night fairy tales called “Tales From the Hinterland.” The book has a cult following, and though Alice has never met her grandmother, she’s learned a little about her through internet research. She hasn’t read the stories, because her mother, Ella Proserpine, forbids it.
Alice and Ella have moved from place to place in an attempt to avoid the “bad luck” that seems to follow them. Weird things have happened. As a child, Alice was kidnapped by a man who took her on a road trip to find her grandmother; he was stopped by the police before they did so. When at 17 she sees that man again, unchanged despite the years, Alice panics. Then Ella goes missing, and Alice turns to Ellery Finch, a schoolmate who’s an Althea Proserpine superfan, for help in tracking down her mother. Not only has Finch read every fairy tale in the collection, but handily, he remembers them, sharing them with Alice as they journey to the mysterious Hazel Wood, the estate of her now-dead grandmother, where they hope to find Ella.
“The Hazel Wood” starts out strange and gets stranger, in the best way possible. (The fairy stories Finch relays, which Albert includes as their own chapters, are as creepy and evocative as you’d hope.) Albert seamlessly combines contemporary realism with fantasy, blurring the edges in a way that highlights that place where stories and real life convene, where magic contains truth and the world as it appears is false, where just about anything can happen, particularly in the pages of a very good book. It’s a captivating debut. […]

James reviews Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight, Moon on Goodreads:

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown is one of the books that followers of my blog voted as a must-read for our Children's Book August 2018 Readathon. Come check it out and join the next few weeks!
This picture book was such a delight. I hadn't remembered reading it when I was a child, but it might have been read to me... either way, it was like a whole new experience! It's always so difficult to convince a child to fall asleep at night. I don't have kids, but I do have a 5-month-old puppy who whines for 5 minutes every night when he goes in his cage/crate (hopefully he'll be fully housebroken soon so he can roam around when he wants). I can only imagine! I babysat a lot as a teenager and I have tons of younger cousins, nieces, and nephews, so I've been through it before, too. This was a believable experience, and it really helps show kids how to relax and just let go when it's time to sleep.
The bunny's are adorable. The rhymes are exquisite. I found it pretty fun, but possibly a little dated given many of those things aren't normal routines anymore. But the lessons to take from it are still powerful. Loved it! I want to sample some more books by this fine author and her illustrators.

Publishers Weekly reviews Elizabeth Lilly’s Geraldine :

This funny, thoroughly accomplished debut opens with two words: “I’m moving.” They’re spoken by the title character while she swoons across her family’s ottoman, and because Geraldine is a giraffe, her full-on melancholy mode is quite a spectacle. But while Geraldine may be a drama queen (even her mother says so), it won’t take readers long to warm up to her. The move takes Geraldine from Giraffe City, where everyone is like her, to a new school, where everyone else is human. Suddenly, the former extrovert becomes “That Giraffe Girl,” and all she wants to do is hide, which is pretty much impossible. “Even my voice tries to hide,” she says, in the book’s most poignant moment. “It’s gotten quiet and whispery.” Then she meets Cassie, who, though human, is also an outlier (“I’m that girl who wears glasses and likes MATH and always organizes her food”), and things begin to look up.
Lilly’s watercolor-and-ink drawings are as vividly comic and emotionally astute as her writing; just when readers think there are no more ways for Geraldine to contort her long neck, this highly promising talent comes up with something new.

Examples of genre fiction book reviews

Karlyn P reviews Nora Roberts’ Dark Witch , a paranormal romance novel , on Goodreads:

4 stars. Great world-building, weak romance, but still worth the read.
I hesitate to describe this book as a 'romance' novel simply because the book spent little time actually exploring the romance between Iona and Boyle. Sure, there IS a romance in this novel. Sprinkled throughout the book are a few scenes where Iona and Boyle meet, chat, wink at each, flirt some more, sleep together, have a misunderstanding, make up, and then profess their undying love. Very formulaic stuff, and all woven around the more important parts of this book.
The meat of this book is far more focused on the story of the Dark witch and her magically-gifted descendants living in Ireland. Despite being weak on the romance, I really enjoyed it. I think the book is probably better for it, because the romance itself was pretty lackluster stuff.
I absolutely plan to stick with this series as I enjoyed the world building, loved the Ireland setting, and was intrigued by all of the secondary characters. However, If you read Nora Roberts strictly for the romance scenes, this one might disappoint. But if you enjoy a solid background story with some dark magic and prophesies, you might enjoy it as much as I did.
I listened to this one on audio, and felt the narration was excellent.

Emily May reviews R.F. Kuang’s The Poppy Wars , an epic fantasy novel , on Goodreads:

“But I warn you, little warrior. The price of power is pain.”
Holy hell, what did I just read??
➽ A fantasy military school
➽ A rich world based on modern Chinese history
➽ Shamans and gods
➽ Detailed characterization leading to unforgettable characters
➽ Adorable, opium-smoking mentors
That's a basic list, but this book is all of that and SO MUCH MORE. I know 100% that The Poppy War will be one of my best reads of 2018.
Isn't it just so great when you find one of those books that completely drags you in, makes you fall in love with the characters, and demands that you sit on the edge of your seat for every horrific, nail-biting moment of it? This is one of those books for me. And I must issue a serious content warning: this book explores some very dark themes. Proceed with caution (or not at all) if you are particularly sensitive to scenes of war, drug use and addiction, genocide, racism, sexism, ableism, self-harm, torture, and rape (off-page but extremely horrific).
Because, despite the fairly innocuous first 200 pages, the title speaks the truth: this is a book about war. All of its horrors and atrocities. It is not sugar-coated, and it is often graphic. The "poppy" aspect refers to opium, which is a big part of this book. It is a fantasy, but the book draws inspiration from the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Rape of Nanking.

Crime Fiction Lover reviews Jessica Barry’s Freefall , a crime novel:

In some crime novels, the wrongdoing hits you between the eyes from page one. With others it’s a more subtle process, and that’s OK too. So where does Freefall fit into the sliding scale?
In truth, it’s not clear. This is a novel with a thrilling concept at its core. A woman survives plane crash, then runs for her life. However, it is the subtleties at play that will draw you in like a spider beckoning to an unwitting fly.
Like the heroine in Sharon Bolton’s Dead Woman Walking, Allison is lucky to be alive. She was the only passenger in a private plane, belonging to her fiancé, Ben, who was piloting the expensive aircraft, when it came down in woodlands in the Colorado Rockies. Ally is also the only survivor, but rather than sitting back and waiting for rescue, she is soon pulling together items that may help her survive a little longer – first aid kit, energy bars, warm clothes, trainers – before fleeing the scene. If you’re hearing the faint sound of alarm bells ringing, get used to it. There’s much, much more to learn about Ally before this tale is over.

Kirkus Reviews reviews Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One , a science-fiction novel :

Video-game players embrace the quest of a lifetime in a virtual world; screenwriter Cline’s first novel is old wine in new bottles.
The real world, in 2045, is the usual dystopian horror story. So who can blame Wade, our narrator, if he spends most of his time in a virtual world? The 18-year-old, orphaned at 11, has no friends in his vertical trailer park in Oklahoma City, while the OASIS has captivating bells and whistles, and it’s free. Its creator, the legendary billionaire James Halliday, left a curious will. He had devised an elaborate online game, a hunt for a hidden Easter egg. The finder would inherit his estate. Old-fashioned riddles lead to three keys and three gates. Wade, or rather his avatar Parzival, is the first gunter (egg-hunter) to win the Copper Key, first of three.
Halliday was obsessed with the pop culture of the 1980s, primarily the arcade games, so the novel is as much retro as futurist. Parzival’s great strength is that he has absorbed all Halliday’s obsessions; he knows by heart three essential movies, crossing the line from geek to freak. His most formidable competitors are the Sixers, contract gunters working for the evil conglomerate IOI, whose goal is to acquire the OASIS. Cline’s narrative is straightforward but loaded with exposition. It takes a while to reach a scene that crackles with excitement: the meeting between Parzival (now world famous as the lead contender) and Sorrento, the head of IOI. The latter tries to recruit Parzival; when he fails, he issues and executes a death threat. Wade’s trailer is demolished, his relatives killed; luckily Wade was not at home. Too bad this is the dramatic high point. Parzival threads his way between more ’80s games and movies to gain the other keys; it’s clever but not exciting. Even a romance with another avatar and the ultimate “epic throwdown” fail to stir the blood.
Too much puzzle-solving, not enough suspense.

Book review examples for non-fiction books

Nonfiction books are generally written to inform readers about a certain topic. As such, the focus of a nonfiction book review will be on the clarity and effectiveness of this communication . In carrying this out, a book review may analyze the author’s source materials and assess the thesis in order to determine whether or not the book meets expectations.

Again, we’ve included abbreviated versions of long reviews here, so feel free to click on the link to read the entire piece!

The Washington Post reviews David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon :

The arc of David Grann’s career reminds one of a software whiz-kid or a latest-thing talk-show host — certainly not an investigative reporter, even if he is one of the best in the business. The newly released movie of his first book, “The Lost City of Z,” is generating all kinds of Oscar talk, and now comes the release of his second book, “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI,” the film rights to which have already been sold for $5 million in what one industry journal called the “biggest and wildest book rights auction in memory.”
Grann deserves the attention. He’s canny about the stories he chases, he’s willing to go anywhere to chase them, and he’s a maestro in his ability to parcel out information at just the right clip: a hint here, a shading of meaning there, a smartly paced buildup of multiple possibilities followed by an inevitable reversal of readerly expectations or, in some cases, by a thrilling and dislocating pull of the entire narrative rug.
All of these strengths are on display in “Killers of the Flower Moon.” Around the turn of the 20th century, oil was discovered underneath Osage lands in the Oklahoma Territory, lands that were soon to become part of the state of Oklahoma. Through foresight and legal maneuvering, the Osage found a way to permanently attach that oil to themselves and shield it from the prying hands of white interlopers; this mechanism was known as “headrights,” which forbade the outright sale of oil rights and granted each full member of the tribe — and, supposedly, no one else — a share in the proceeds from any lease arrangement. For a while, the fail-safes did their job, and the Osage got rich — diamond-ring and chauffeured-car and imported-French-fashion rich — following which quite a large group of white men started to work like devils to separate the Osage from their money. And soon enough, and predictably enough, this work involved murder. Here in Jazz Age America’s most isolated of locales, dozens or even hundreds of Osage in possession of great fortunes — and of the potential for even greater fortunes in the future — were dispatched by poison, by gunshot and by dynamite. […]

Stacked Books reviews Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers :

I’ve heard a lot of great things about Malcolm Gladwell’s writing. Friends and co-workers tell me that his subjects are interesting and his writing style is easy to follow without talking down to the reader. I wasn’t disappointed with Outliers. In it, Gladwell tackles the subject of success – how people obtain it and what contributes to extraordinary success as opposed to everyday success.
The thesis – that our success depends much more on circumstances out of our control than any effort we put forth – isn’t exactly revolutionary. Most of us know it to be true. However, I don’t think I’m lying when I say that most of us also believe that we if we just try that much harder and develop our talent that much further, it will be enough to become wildly successful, despite bad or just mediocre beginnings. Not so, says Gladwell.
Most of the evidence Gladwell gives us is anecdotal, which is my favorite kind to read. I can’t really speak to how scientifically valid it is, but it sure makes for engrossing listening. For example, did you know that successful hockey players are almost all born in January, February, or March? Kids born during these months are older than the others kids when they start playing in the youth leagues, which means they’re already better at the game (because they’re bigger). Thus, they get more play time, which means their skill increases at a faster rate, and it compounds as time goes by. Within a few years, they’re much, much better than the kids born just a few months later in the year. Basically, these kids’ birthdates are a huge factor in their success as adults – and it’s nothing they can do anything about. If anyone could make hockey interesting to a Texan who only grudgingly admits the sport even exists, it’s Gladwell. […]

Quill and Quire reviews Rick Prashaw’s Soar, Adam, Soar :

Ten years ago, I read a book called Almost Perfect. The young-adult novel by Brian Katcher won some awards and was held up as a powerful, nuanced portrayal of a young trans person. But the reality did not live up to the book’s billing. Instead, it turned out to be a one-dimensional and highly fetishized portrait of a trans person’s life, one that was nevertheless repeatedly dubbed “realistic” and “affecting” by non-transgender readers possessing only a vague, mass-market understanding of trans experiences.
In the intervening decade, trans narratives have emerged further into the literary spotlight, but those authored by trans people ourselves – and by trans men in particular – have seemed to fall under the shadow of cisgender sensationalized imaginings. Two current Canadian releases – Soar, Adam, Soar and This One Looks Like a Boy – provide a pointed object lesson into why trans-authored work about transgender experiences remains critical.
To be fair, Soar, Adam, Soar isn’t just a story about a trans man. It’s also a story about epilepsy, the medical establishment, and coming of age as seen through a grieving father’s eyes. Adam, Prashaw’s trans son, died unexpectedly at age 22. Woven through the elder Prashaw’s narrative are excerpts from Adam’s social media posts, giving us glimpses into the young man’s interior life as he traverses his late teens and early 20s. […]

Book Geeks reviews Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love :

WRITING STYLE: 3.5/5
SUBJECT: 4/5
CANDIDNESS: 4.5/5
RELEVANCE: 3.5/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3.5/5
“Eat Pray Love” is so popular that it is almost impossible to not read it. Having felt ashamed many times on my not having read this book, I quietly ordered the book (before I saw the movie) from amazon.in and sat down to read it. I don’t remember what I expected it to be – maybe more like a chick lit thing but it turned out quite different. The book is a real story and is a short journal from the time when its writer went travelling to three different countries in pursuit of three different things – Italy (Pleasure), India (Spirituality), Bali (Balance) and this is what corresponds to the book’s name – EAT (in Italy), PRAY (in India) and LOVE (in Bali, Indonesia). These are also the three Is – ITALY, INDIA, INDONESIA.
Though she had everything a middle-aged American woman can aspire for – MONEY, CAREER, FRIENDS, HUSBAND; Elizabeth was not happy in her life, she wasn’t happy in her marriage. Having suffered a terrible divorce and terrible breakup soon after, Elizabeth was shattered. She didn’t know where to go and what to do – all she knew was that she wanted to run away. So she set out on a weird adventure – she will go to three countries in a year and see if she can find out what she was looking for in life. This book is about that life changing journey that she takes for one whole year. […]

Emily May reviews Michelle Obama’s Becoming on Goodreads:

Look, I'm not a happy crier. I might cry at songs about leaving and missing someone; I might cry at books where things don't work out; I might cry at movies where someone dies. I've just never really understood why people get all choked up over happy, inspirational things. But Michelle Obama's kindness and empathy changed that. This book had me in tears for all the right reasons.
This is not really a book about politics, though political experiences obviously do come into it. It's a shame that some will dismiss this book because of a difference in political opinion, when it is really about a woman's life. About growing up poor and black on the South Side of Chicago; about getting married and struggling to maintain that marriage; about motherhood; about being thrown into an amazing and terrifying position.
I hate words like "inspirational" because they've become so overdone and cheesy, but I just have to say it-- Michelle Obama is an inspiration. I had the privilege of seeing her speak at The Forum in Inglewood, and she is one of the warmest, funniest, smartest, down-to-earth people I have ever seen in this world.
And yes, I know we present what we want the world to see, but I truly do think it's genuine. I think she is someone who really cares about people - especially kids - and wants to give them better lives and opportunities.
She's obviously intelligent, but she also doesn't gussy up her words. She talks straight, with an openness and honesty rarely seen. She's been one of the most powerful women in the world, she's been a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School, she's had her own successful career, and yet she has remained throughout that same girl - Michelle Robinson - from a working class family in Chicago.
I don't think there's anyone who wouldn't benefit from reading this book.

Hopefully, this post has given you a better idea of how to write a book review. You might be wondering how to put all of this knowledge into action now! Many book reviewers start out by setting up a book blog. If you don’t have time to research the intricacies of HTML, check out Reedsy Discovery — where you can read indie books for free and review them without going through the hassle of creating a blog. To register as a book reviewer , go here .

And if you’d like to see even more book review examples, simply go to this directory of book review blogs and click on any one of them to see a wealth of good book reviews. Beyond that, it's up to you to pick up a book and pen — and start reviewing!

Continue reading

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Writing a Book Report

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Book reports are informative reports that discuss a book from an objective stance. They are similar to book reviews but focus more on a summary of the work than an evaluation of it. Book reports commonly describe what happens in a work; their focus is primarily on giving an account of the major plot, characters, thesis, and/or main idea of the work. Most often, book reports are a K-12 assignment and range from 250 to 500 words.

Book reviews are most often a college assignment, but they also appear in many professional works: magazines, newspapers, and academic journals. If you are looking to write a book review instead of a book report, please see the OWL resource, Writing a Book Review .

Before You Read

Before you begin to read, consider what types of things you will need to write your book report. First, you will need to get some basic information from the book:

  • Publisher location, name of publisher, year published
  • Number of Pages

You can either begin your report with some sort of citation, or you can incorporate some of these items into the report itself.

Next, try to answer the following questions to get you started thinking about the book:

  • Author: Who is the author? Have you read any other works by this author?
  • Genre: What type of book is this: fiction, nonfiction, biography, etc.? What types of people would like to read this kind of book? Do you typically read these kinds of books? Do you like them?
  • Title: What does the title do for you? Does it spark your interest? Does it fit well with the text of the book?
  • Pictures/Book Jacket/Cover/Printing: What does the book jacket or book cover say? Is it accurate? Were you excited to read this book because of it? Are there pictures? What kinds are there? Are they interesting?

As You Read

While reading a work of fiction, keep track of the major characters. You can also do the same with biographies. When reading nonfiction works, however, look for the main ideas and be ready to talk about them.

  • Characters: Who are the main characters? What happens to them? Did you like them? Were there good and bad characters?
  • Main Ideas: What is the main idea of the book? What happens? What did you learn that you did not know before?
  • Quotes: What parts did you like best? Are there parts that you could quote to make your report more enjoyable?

When You Are Ready to Write

Announce the book and author. Then, summarize what you have learned from the book. Explain what happens in the book, and discuss the elements you liked, did not like, would have changed, or if you would recommend this book to others and why. Consider the following items as well:

  • Principles/characters: What elements did you like best? Which characters did you like best and why? How does the author unfold the story or the main idea of the book?
  • Organize: Make sure that most of your paper summarizes the work. Then you may analyze the characters or themes of the work.
  • Your Evaluation: Choose one or a few points to discuss about the book. What worked well for you? How does this work compare with others by the same author or other books in the same genre? What major themes, motifs, or terms does the book introduce, and how effective are they? Did the book appeal to you on an emotional or logical way?
  • Recommend: Would you recommend this book to others? Why? What would you tell them before they read it? What would you talk about after you read it?

Revising/Final Copy

Do a quick double check of your paper:

  • Double-check the spelling of the author name(s), character names, special terms, and publisher.
  • Check the punctuation and grammar slowly.
  • Make sure you provide enough summary so that your reader or instructor can tell you read the book.
  • Consider adding some interesting quotes from the reading.

How to Write a Book Review: A Comprehensive Tutorial With Examples

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You don’t need to be a literary expert to craft captivating book reviews. With one in every three readers selecting books based on insightful reviews, your opinions can guide fellow bibliophiles toward their next literary adventure.

Learning how to write a book review will not only help you excel at your assigned tasks, but you’ll also contribute valuable insights to the book-loving community and turn your passion into a professional pursuit.

In this comprehensive guide,  PaperPerk  will walk you through a few simple steps to master the art of writing book reviews so you can confidently embark on this rewarding journey.

What is a Book Review?

A book review is a critical evaluation of a book, offering insights into its content, quality, and impact. It helps readers make informed decisions about whether to read the book.

Writing a book review as an assignment benefits students in multiple ways. Firstly, it teaches them how to write a book review by developing their analytical skills as they evaluate the content, themes, and writing style .

Secondly, it enhances their ability to express opinions and provide constructive criticism. Additionally, book review assignments expose students to various publications and genres, broadening their knowledge.

Furthermore, these tasks foster essential skills for academic success, like critical thinking and the ability to synthesize information. By now, we’re sure you want to learn how to write a book review, so let’s look at the book review template first.

Table of Contents

Book Review Template

How to write a book review- a step by step guide.

Check out these 5 straightforward steps for composing the best book review.

Step 1: Planning Your Book Review – The Art of Getting Started

You’ve decided to take the plunge and share your thoughts on a book that has captivated (or perhaps disappointed) you. Before you start book reviewing, let’s take a step back and plan your approach. Since knowing how to write a book review that’s both informative and engaging is an art in itself.

Choosing Your Literature

First things first, pick the book you want to review. This might seem like a no-brainer, but selecting a book that genuinely interests you will make the review process more enjoyable and your insights more authentic.

Crafting the Master Plan

Next, create an  outline  that covers all the essential points you want to discuss in your review. This will serve as the roadmap for your writing journey.

The Devil is in the Details

As you read, note any information that stands out, whether it overwhelms, underwhelms, or simply intrigues you. Pay attention to:

  • The characters and their development
  • The plot and its intricacies
  • Any themes, symbols, or motifs you find noteworthy

Remember to reserve a body paragraph for each point you want to discuss.

The Key Questions to Ponder

When planning your book review, consider the following questions:

  • What’s the plot (if any)? Understanding the driving force behind the book will help you craft a more effective review.
  • Is the plot interesting? Did the book hold your attention and keep you turning the pages?
  • Are the writing techniques effective? Does the author’s style captivate you, making you want to read (or reread) the text?
  • Are the characters or the information believable? Do the characters/plot/information feel real, and can you relate to them?
  • Would you recommend the book to anyone? Consider if the book is worthy of being recommended, whether to impress someone or to support a point in a literature class.
  • What could improve? Always keep an eye out for areas that could be improved. Providing constructive criticism can enhance the quality of literature.

Step 2 – Crafting the Perfect Introduction to Write a Book Review

In this second step of “how to write a book review,” we’re focusing on the art of creating a powerful opening that will hook your audience and set the stage for your analysis.

Identify Your Book and Author

Begin by mentioning the book you’ve chosen, including its  title  and the author’s name. This informs your readers and establishes the subject of your review.

Ponder the Title

Next, discuss the mental images or emotions the book’s title evokes in your mind . This helps your readers understand your initial feelings and expectations before diving into the book.

Judge the Book by Its Cover (Just a Little)

Take a moment to talk about the book’s cover. Did it intrigue you? Did it hint at what to expect from the story or the author’s writing style? Sharing your thoughts on the cover can offer a unique perspective on how the book presents itself to potential readers.

Present Your Thesis

Now it’s time to introduce your thesis. This statement should be a concise and insightful summary of your opinion of the book. For example:

“Normal People” by Sally Rooney is a captivating portrayal of the complexities of human relationships, exploring themes of love, class, and self-discovery with exceptional depth and authenticity.

Ensure that your thesis is relevant to the points or quotes you plan to discuss throughout your review.

Incorporating these elements into your introduction will create a strong foundation for your book review. Your readers will be eager to learn more about your thoughts and insights on the book, setting the stage for a compelling and thought-provoking analysis.

How to Write a Book Review: Step 3 – Building Brilliant Body Paragraphs

You’ve planned your review and written an attention-grabbing introduction. Now it’s time for the main event: crafting the body paragraphs of your book review. In this step of “how to write a book review,” we’ll explore the art of constructing engaging and insightful body paragraphs that will keep your readers hooked.

Summarize Without Spoilers

Begin by summarizing a specific section of the book, not revealing any major plot twists or spoilers. Your goal is to give your readers a taste of the story without ruining surprises.

Support Your Viewpoint with Quotes

Next, choose three quotes from the book that support your viewpoint or opinion. These quotes should be relevant to the section you’re summarizing and help illustrate your thoughts on the book.

Analyze the Quotes

Write a summary of each quote in your own words, explaining how it made you feel or what it led you to think about the book or the author’s writing. This analysis should provide insight into your perspective and demonstrate your understanding of the text.

Structure Your Body Paragraphs

Dedicate one body paragraph to each quote, ensuring your writing is well-connected, coherent, and easy to understand.

For example:

  • In  Jane Eyre , Charlotte Brontë writes, “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me.” This powerful statement highlights Jane’s fierce independence and refusal to be trapped by societal expectations.
  • In  Normal People , Sally Rooney explores the complexities of love and friendship when she writes, “It was culture as class performance, literature fetishized for its ability to take educated people on false emotional journeys.” This quote reveals the author’s astute observations on the role of culture and class in shaping personal relationships.
  • In  Wuthering Heights , Emily Brontë captures the tumultuous nature of love with the quote, “He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” This poignant line emphasizes the deep, unbreakable bond between the story’s central characters.

By following these guidelines, you’ll create body paragraphs that are both captivating and insightful, enhancing your book review and providing your readers with a deeper understanding of the literary work. 

How to Write a Book Review: Step 4 – Crafting a Captivating Conclusion

You’ve navigated through planning, introductions, and body paragraphs with finesse. Now it’s time to wrap up your book review with a  conclusion that leaves a lasting impression . In this final step of “how to write a book review,” we’ll explore the art of writing a memorable and persuasive conclusion.

Summarize Your Analysis

Begin by summarizing the key points you’ve presented in the body paragraphs. This helps to remind your readers of the insights and arguments you’ve shared throughout your review.

Offer Your Final Conclusion

Next, provide a conclusion that reflects your overall feelings about the book. This is your chance to leave a lasting impression and persuade your readers to consider your perspective.

Address the Book’s Appeal

Now, answer the question: Is this book worth reading? Be clear about who would enjoy the book and who might not. Discuss the taste preferences and circumstances that make the book more appealing to some readers than others.

For example:  The Alchemist is a book that can enchant a young teen, but those who are already well-versed in classic literature might find it less engaging.

Be Subtle and Balanced

Avoid simply stating whether you “liked” or “disliked” the book. Instead, use nuanced language to convey your message. Highlight the pros and cons of reading the type of literature you’ve reviewed, offering a balanced perspective.

Bringing It All Together

By following these guidelines, you’ll craft a conclusion that leaves your readers with a clear understanding of your thoughts and opinions on the book. Your review will be a valuable resource for those considering whether to pick up the book, and your witty and insightful analysis will make your review a pleasure to read. So conquer the world of book reviews, one captivating conclusion at a time!

How to Write a Book Review: Step 5 – Rating the Book (Optional)

You’ve masterfully crafted your book review, from the introduction to the conclusion. But wait, there’s one more step you might consider before calling it a day: rating the book. In this optional step of “how to write a book review,” we’ll explore the benefits and methods of assigning a rating to the book you’ve reviewed.

Why Rate the Book?

Sometimes, when writing a professional book review, it may not be appropriate to state whether you liked or disliked the book. In such cases, assigning a rating can be an effective way to get your message across without explicitly sharing your personal opinion.

How to Rate the Book

There are various rating systems you can use to evaluate the book, such as:

  • A star rating (e.g., 1 to 5 stars)
  • A numerical score (e.g., 1 to 10)
  • A letter grade (e.g., A+ to F)

Choose a rating system that best suits your style and the format of your review. Be consistent in your rating criteria, considering writing quality, character development, plot, and overall enjoyment.

Tips for Rating the Book

Here are some tips for rating the book effectively:

  • Be honest: Your rating should reflect your true feelings about the book. Don’t inflate or deflate your rating based on external factors, such as the book’s popularity or the author’s reputation.
  • Be fair:Consider the book’s merits and shortcomings when rating. Even if you didn’t enjoy the book, recognize its strengths and acknowledge them in your rating.
  • Be clear: Explain the rationale behind your rating so your readers understand the factors that influenced your evaluation.

Wrapping Up

By including a rating in your book review, you provide your readers with an additional insight into your thoughts on the book. While this step is optional, it can be a valuable tool for conveying your message subtly yet effectively. So, rate those books confidently, adding a touch of wit and wisdom to your book reviews.

Additional Tips on How to Write a Book Review: A Guide

In this segment, we’ll explore additional tips on how to write a book review. Get ready to captivate your readers and make your review a memorable one!

Hook ’em with an Intriguing Introduction

Keep your introduction precise and to the point. Readers have the attention span of a goldfish these days, so don’t let them swim away in boredom. Start with a bang and keep them hooked!

Embrace the World of Fiction

When learning how to write a book review, remember that reviewing fiction is often more engaging and effective. If your professor hasn’t assigned you a specific book, dive into the realm of fiction and select a novel that piques your interest.

Opinionated with Gusto

Don’t shy away from adding your own opinion to your review. A good book review always features the writer’s viewpoint and constructive criticism. After all, your readers want to know what  you  think!

Express Your Love (or Lack Thereof)

If you adored the book, let your readers know! Use phrases like “I’ll definitely return to this book again” to convey your enthusiasm. Conversely, be honest but respectful even if the book wasn’t your cup of tea.

Templates and Examples and Expert Help: Your Trusty Sidekicks

Feeling lost? You can always get help from formats, book review examples or online  college paper writing service  platforms. These trusty sidekicks will help you navigate the world of book reviews with ease. 

Be a Champion for New Writers and Literature

Remember to uplift new writers and pieces of literature. If you want to suggest improvements, do so kindly and constructively. There’s no need to be mean about anyone’s books – we’re all in this literary adventure together!

Criticize with Clarity, Not Cruelty

When adding criticism to your review, be clear but not mean. Remember, there’s a fine line between constructive criticism and cruelty. Tread lightly and keep your reader’s feelings in mind.

Avoid the Comparison Trap

Resist the urge to compare one writer’s book with another. Every book holds its worth, and comparing them will only confuse your reader. Stick to discussing the book at hand, and let it shine in its own light.

Top 7 Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Writing a book review can be a delightful and rewarding experience, especially when you balance analysis, wit, and personal insights. However, some common mistakes can kill the brilliance of your review. 

In this section of “how to write a book review,” we’ll explore the top 7 blunders writers commit and how to steer clear of them, with a dash of  modernist literature  examples and tips for students writing book reviews as assignments.

Succumbing to the Lure of Plot Summaries

Mistake: Diving headfirst into a plot summary instead of dissecting the book’s themes, characters, and writing style.

Example: “The Bell Jar chronicles the life of a young woman who experiences a mental breakdown.”

How to Avoid: Delve into the book’s deeper aspects, such as its portrayal of mental health, societal expectations, and the author’s distinctive narrative voice. Offer thoughtful insights and reflections, making your review a treasure trove of analysis.

Unleashing the Spoiler Kraken

Mistake: Spilling major plot twists or the ending without providing a spoiler warning, effectively ruining the reading experience for potential readers.

Example: “In Metamorphosis, the protagonist’s transformation into a monstrous insect leads to…”

How to Avoid: Tread carefully when discussing significant plot developments, and consider using spoiler warnings. Focus on the impact of these plot points on the overall narrative, character growth, or thematic resonance.

Riding the Personal Bias Express

Mistake: Allowing personal bias to hijack the review without providing sufficient evidence or reasoning to support opinions.

Example: “I detest books about existential crises, so The Sun Also Rises was a snoozefest.”

How to Avoid: While personal opinions are valid, it’s crucial to back them up with specific examples from the book. Discuss aspects like writing style, character development, or pacing to support your evaluation and provide a more balanced perspective.

Wielding the Vague Language Saber

Mistake: Resorting to generic, vague language that fails to capture the nuances of the book and can come across as clichéd.

Example: “This book was mind-blowing. It’s a must-read for everyone.”

How to Avoid: Use precise and descriptive language to express your thoughts. Employ specific examples and quotations to highlight memorable scenes, the author’s unique writing style, or the impact of the book’s themes on readers.

Ignoring the Contextualization Compass

Mistake: Neglecting to provide context about the author, genre, or cultural relevance of the book, leaving readers without a proper frame of reference.

Example: “This book is dull and unoriginal.”

How to Avoid: Offer readers a broader understanding by discussing the author’s background, the genre conventions the book adheres to or subverts, and any societal or historical contexts that inform the narrative. This helps readers appreciate the book’s uniqueness and relevance.

Overindulging in Personal Preferences

Mistake: Letting personal preferences overshadow an objective assessment of the book’s merits.

Example: “I don’t like stream-of-consciousness writing, so this book is automatically bad.”

How to Avoid: Acknowledge personal preferences but strive to evaluate the book objectively. Focus on the book’s strengths and weaknesses, considering how well it achieves its goals within its genre or intended audience.

Forgetting the Target Audience Telescope

Mistake: Failing to mention the book’s target audience or who might enjoy it, leading to confusion for potential readers.

Example: “This book is great for everyone.”

How to Avoid: Contemplate the book’s intended audience, genre, and themes. Mention who might particularly enjoy the book based on these factors, whether it’s fans of a specific genre, readers interested in character-driven stories, or those seeking thought-provoking narratives.

By dodging these common pitfalls, writers can craft insightful, balanced, and engaging book reviews that help readers make informed decisions about their reading choices.

These tips are particularly beneficial for students writing book reviews as assignments, as they ensure a well-rounded and thoughtful analysis.!

Many students requested us to cover how to write a book review. This thorough guide is sure to help you. At Paperperk, professionals are dedicated to helping students find their balance. We understand the importance of good grades, so we offer the finest writing service , ensuring students stay ahead of the curve. So seek expert help because only Paperperk is your perfect solution!

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Book Report Vs. Book Review (Differences and Similarities)

Many of us become accustomed to writing book reports at a very young age. Elementary classrooms are often decorated with templates for this paper: author, title, characters, setting, problem/conflict, main events, conclusion, etc. These common stepping stones are in place to prepare students for years of formal book reporting. The good news is that they actually do represent the necessary components. If this is what a book report entails, what sort of things the review will offer?

A book review is an analysis or critical review of a story that evaluates how well it achieves its purpose. Ultimately, did the author accomplish what they set out to do?

  • Did they efficiently convey their argument to the reader?
  • Were you convinced by their evidence and support statements?
  • Was their writing organized?
  • How well did they compare to similar pieces in the same category?

In this article, we will look at the key elements of and the difference between a book report and book review and how to avoid confusing the two. We will also provide a guide to writing a paper that will fit all the needed criteria.

Book Report: Main Characteristics

A book report is primarily a factual account of the contents of a story. Your main goal would be to accurately summarize the information in the piece. You would need to provide the reader with the author's name, title, the number of pages, publication date, author's thesis, main events or main ideas, the organization of the book, and setting and characters (if you can apply it).

The book report should also give the reader a full picture of the story by including an equal summary of each section. Lastly, you are allowed to, and should, insert some of your final thoughts and the opinions of the piece. Your opinion should be small in comparison to your summary but may highlight your recommendations or any particular things that you liked or disliked. You may want to indicate your preferences of a particular genre or writing style. Do you normally prefer fiction books over non-fiction ones? If this is a non-fiction piece, did that aspect influence your opinion about it at all?

Book reports are easy to prepare and straight to the point. Keeping your summary substantial and your final thoughts minimal should ensure you've prepared a suitable paper.

The Tricky Part: Book Review

A book review can be seen as a more sophisticated approach to understanding and relaying the same information presented in a report. It can be described as "sophisticated" in that the work requires a greater level of effort, thoughtfulness, and is an analysis as compared to a book report. As students grow, so does their ability to think critically. The graduation from a report to a review enables an individual to take the information obtained in a report and apply it to higher order thought processes: analyzing, criticizing, persuading, and evaluating.

At times, the greatest challenge for students is establishing solid points of analysis and identifying what aspects of the book are worth exploring. Before attempting to probe any area of the story, students should have:

  • a precise understanding of the author's main argument (that requires you to read the book);
  • a preliminary list of issues addressed with appropriate evidence;
  • a clear position on whether to recommend the novel to others and why.

This is the information about the piece that your review will include. When explaining your position, you can argue about many issues in favor or disfavor of the plot. Examples include the author's voice and writing style. Was it clear? Did you enjoy the style of writing? What changes would you like to see and why?

After reading and identifying these key points, you will hopefully be more prepared to provide a critical assessment. Keep in mind that your end goal is to persuade the audience and provide clear arguments.

Evaluation Areas to Consider

Look for some key points found in an evaluation rubric for a writing assessment.

  • audience/purpose
  • organization
  • elaboration (support details)
  • use of language

Think of it as "checking" the author's work and reviewing it as you would be a peer or, in some respects, as a teacher would for a student. Though you should not be as much concerned about the technical setup as you should be about how well of a job the author did when writing a book conveying the message and achieving the purpose of their writing.

Additionally, note any significant flaws in the author's general writing ability and highlight their strengths. A strength would be an area in which the author did an exceptional job exhibiting their point to the reader.

Sample Book Review Setup

  • Introduction/Background. This section of your review is self-explanatory and should contain the title, publication information, author's name and background, category of writing they present, a bit of history, the purpose of the writing, and your main thesis statement.
  • Short Summary. In this brief section, you will replicate what is done by simply summarizing the piece. Keep it concise. Try to only highlight the main events and noteworthy aspects.
  • Analysis/Assessment. This is the meat of your paper and the main reason for writing. As stated earlier, your purpose is to analyze and evaluate. Here, you should provide a critical assessment of the story's central argument, evidence to support it, organizational structure, and how well it fulfills its objective.
  • Conclusion. Sum up what you have been suggesting throughout your review. Restate your opinion in a concise sentence or two and provide a final statement. Would you recommend it or not? How does it fit in on a larger scale as it relates to its impact and contribution to its genre and literature?

Avoiding Confusion

A lot of the confusion usually lies with the book review . It's not difficult for many people to write a report because it is primarily a summary. If asked to write a review, the student may extend the summary section a bit too far and include details that do not support their argument (to persuade the reader one way or the other). Likewise, when doing a report, the writer should be cautious of not inserting too much opinion and losing the focus which is to relay factual information.

Maintaining the needed balance between fact and opinion is one of the best ways to successfully write both book reports and reviews.

When you are faced with such an assignment, it can be hard to wrap your head around the concepts and the way you're supposed to proceed with preparing your paper. If the pressure is too much, there is an option you can use to ease your burden. Ask for custom writing help!

All of our writers are proficient in report and review writing and can guarantee you the highest grade imaginable. They will prepare a detailed analysis completed with appropriate critical comments. With our company, you get low prices, absolutely high quality, and total confidentiality.

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book review or book report

Difference Between Book Review And Book Report?

Imagine you try to pull off a great book report. So you expect a perfect A+ grade. But you couldn’t even get ‘B’ or ‘C.’  It’s no wonder that some students get help with assignments to ease this overwhelming shock. 

There are good numbers of students who find themselves in a similar situation. It’s not because they don’t understand the subject matter. It’s a question of structure. They cannot differentiate a book report from a book review.

Tutors must have provided some requirements tailored to book reviews or reports on the instruction board. Hence, most students get bad grades because they don’t pay attention to these details. In any case, the first step in getting an assignment right is by following simple instructions. 

This article will walk you through how you can tell the difference between a book report and a book review. 

  • 1.1 Elements of a Book Review
  • 2.1 Parts of a Book Report
  • 3 Key Differences  between a Book Review and Book Report 
  • 4.1 Scope/Purpose
  • 4.2 Word Count
  • 4.3 Perspective
  • 5 Conclusion

What is a Book Review?

Difference Between Book Review And Book Report?

A book review is an illustrative, subjective, evaluative, and critical account of a book. It typically describes a book based on style and content. 

Book reviews typically range from 600 to 2,000 words. However, it could be more depending on the assignment requirements.

Elements of a Book Review

You may think that a book review is all about a brief opinion of a book. No more, no less. That’s not true. This is not only the piece of information that your tutor wants from you. 

A resourceful book review comprises four elements. They are as follows:

  • Short Summary

It’d best to assume that your audience does not know what the book is about. This way, you can summarize the book better. A good summary requires you to map out the main ideas and why they are essential. 

Another information to include in a book review is the book’s background. A solid background requires comparing the author’s argument to related historical information. This applies to both fiction and non-fiction works. 

  • Author’s Information

It’s also essential to incorporate the author’s information into the review. For instance, what is the author’s educational background? Does it influence his beliefs? This way, your reader can understand why the author has raised a specific argument. 

Evaluation is the conclusive part of the review. It’s an appraisal of the strengths and pain points of the book. An evaluative account also shows how the book has achieved its purpose. 

Note that book reviews may also include your opinions. However, you should reread your assignment instructions to determine whether it’s part of its requirements. 

Now that you know what a book review is let’s get to a book report. 

What is a Book Report?

Unlike a book review, a book report discusses a book from an objective and informative perspective. People often interchange with book reviews. But it tilts toward a book summary than a critical account of it. 

Book reports give a concise account of what happened in a book. They navigate through the thesis and characters of a work.

Most book reports stretch from 250 to 500 words. 

Parts of a Book Report

  • Introduction

The first part of a book report should include the title of the work and the author’s name. After that, you may open with an exciting extract from the creation to grab the reader’s attention. 

If it is a story, you should introduce the specific place where it takes place. For non-stories, we recommend that you include the integral setting. Integral setting means the societal elements in work, such as language. 

Introduce the main ideas

It’d be best to mention every character in your report. 

  • Evaluation/Recommendation

Key Differences  between a Book Review and Book Report 

Now that we’ve walked you through the basics let’s get to business. , scope/purpose.

A book review analyses the work. It encompasses the main ideas in a piece of work critically. Hence, a book review aims to shed new light on the readers.

On the other hand, a book report rehashes the work. The purpose of a book report is to give information about the work. In any case, a book review takes a diagnostic approach that tests the significance of the text. 

A book review typically ranges from 600 to 2,000 words. It’s because teachers expect students to write as much as possible in book reviews. However, it would help if you stuck to the word count in your assignment instructions. 

On the other hand, a book report typically stretches from 250 to 500 words. It’s because your teachers don’t expect you to write beyond what happened in a book. However, you may highlight your recommendations. 

Perspective

A book report requires you to write from an objective perspective. 

On the other hand, a book review requires you to write from a subjective perspective. That is to say, your opinions matter.

It can be challenging to strike a balance between opinion and facts. However, mastering them will go a long way in helping you to differentiate a book review from a  book report. 

book review or book report

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Good book report questions

Good book report questions

Writing a book report is a common activity students are required to go through today. Reading is one thing but the ability to summarize and analyze information is totally different. One can read a lot of books but still be unable to develop a good book report due to the lack of knowledge of what it should look like. Therefore, students often seek book report help in order to understand how to write one. In this article we are going to provide some good book report questions that will provide guidance as to which direction to go when choosing a format of a book report. Even if you have never faced the challenge of writing one, it is most likely that you will soon receive such assignment. And it is always better to face it prepared knowing what to do. So keep reading to get to know more about how to develop a good one. Even if you have written one or many reports by now, you can still find out more to polish up your writing skills. Questions for a book report provided below will serve a good foundation for every student.

book report questions

❓ How to Write a Good Book Report

There is a difference between a book report and a book review which everybody should know prior to writing any of these. They are not the same although there are some similarities. A lot of students mix them up turning in reports when reviews are requested and vice versa. Book reports are all about explaining topical details and the storyline of the book. Those writing this type of assignment are to present biographical information about the author of the book (year of birth, marital status, his/her education and worldview, etc.). After the biographical information, there should go a brief summary of the book content – the main characters and the development of the plot.

Now a book review is different as it requires an in-depth analysis in addition to the things mentioned in a book report. The bio of the author along with the summary of the story also belongs in the review but the attention paid to these things should not be so significant. In other words, these things are not central in writing a book review . Instead, they are all considered a background information upon which one may analyze and evaluate the book in general. A book review is then more about analysis and evaluation where students are required to identify the author’s main message and ideas as well as to understand the meaning of symbolic elements present in the text. Now as we have managed to draw the line of separation between a book report and a book review, we can move on to how to write a book report.

Book reports can be of different types and formats. Most common forms of book reports are plot summaries, theme and character analysis. This type of assignment will help you practice expressing your own opinion about different aspects of the text and eventually expressing your thoughts on pretty much any subject in future. But no matter what type of book report you are about to write, there are some common things you have to include into your paper:

  • Specify the kind of book report
  • Include the title of the book
  • Put the name of the author
  • Indicate the time when the story takes place
  • Mention the location of the events taking place in the book
  • List the names of the characters briefly describing each one of them (at least those you will be discussing in the report)
  • Add quotations in order to back up your opinions

📄 Plot Summaries

This type of book report assumes one has to explain own opinions about the plot and why he/she believes so. Your purpose should be to describe and characterize the plot and back up your opinions by some examples from the book.

🖋 Character Analysis

Here you can explore the traits of the main characters and how they affect the development of the plot in the book. There are many things you can pay attention to when analyzing the characters, such as clothing, moral flaws, dialogues, actions, etc.

📗 Theme Analysis

This form of book reports allows exploring the themes and big ideas that are interwoven within the entire story. You can simply choose a theme that seems to be the most important or the one you like the most and try to bring some of your thoughts to highlight the topic.

📚 Book Report Questions

What can help you write book reports efficiently is the list of questions to direct your thinking and writing. You can google phrases like “book report questions for high school” or “book report questions for middle school” depending on what your level of writing is. But in order to save some time for you, we have decided to come up with our own list of questions that should help develop a good book report. Therefore, there is no need to type something like “write my book report” in a google search tab in hopes to find someone who will do it all for you. Instead, you may consider the questions to ask for a book report and try to write it on your own. Here is the list:

  • What genre does your book belong to? Fiction, non-fiction, etc.
  • Do you like the book? Why so? If yes, would you recommend it to your friends?
  • Can you come up with another title?
  • What is the setting/background information?
  • Who are the main characters?
  • Are the names of the characters in any way descriptive?
  • How does the story start? Why do you think the author chose to start his book this way?
  • How does the story develop?
  • Did you have any associations coming to your mind when you were reading the story?
  • Did you find anything funny in the story?
  • What’s your favorite part?
  • Is there a problem in the story? What is this problem?
  • Do you think that the author could have come up with a better solution (if there is one)?
  • Is there the main idea that you can identify?
  • Can you identify the purpose of the book?
  • What are the lessons the book teaches (if any)?
  • Is the topic of the book important? Why?
  • Did any of the characters in the book do something you did not quite like?
  • Can you identify the main purpose of writing the book?
  • Did the book help you generate new ideas?

✅ Final Remarks

Now that you know what book reports are all about, we recommend you to try and write one. But when we say “write one”, we don’t necessarily mean that the very first thing you have to do in order to produce a good book report is to take a pen and start writing something. There are other things one should do before writing. We suggest you jot down the information you would want to take special note of when reading the book. Keep this piece of paper next to you when you read a book. As you read, take notes of the plot, characters and the main idea. Then you can go through the questions listed above – they should help you understand the book better. When you are done with the questions, organize your thoughts into an outline and draft the book report. From there you have to only edit and revise the draft to produce a perfect paper.

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WTOP News

WTOP Book Report: Reporter-turned-author Christina Estes unveils debut mystery novel ‘Off the Air’

Terik King | [email protected]

April 28, 2024, 5:36 AM

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This story was written as part of the WTOP Book Report series written by Terik King.  Read more of that coverage .

book review or book report

Award-winning journalist Christina Estes steps into the realm of fiction with her debut mystery novel, “Off the Air” (Minotaur Books) , introducing readers to the tenacious Phoenix, Arizona-based TV reporter Jolene Garcia.

Garcia finds herself at the center of a media frenzy following the suspicious death of Larry Lemmon, a controversial talk show host at a local radio station. Having conducted Lemmon’s final interview, Garcia and her station initially possess a competitive edge.

However, the arrival of an onslaught of national media outlets escalates the stakes, plunging Garcia into a cutthroat investigation that could define her career, or perhaps, threaten her life.

“ It’s been 15 years (since) I said, ‘I’m gonna write a book,’” Estes said in an interview with the WTOP Book Report, providing insight into the book’s genesis.

“ I just wanted to give people a look behind local news and what goes on. There are newsroom politics. There are wonderful newsroom relationships. There’s a bond, sort of a special bond, that you create working in a newsroom. Sometimes it’s great. Sometimes it’s not. And the pressure of all of the social media and the business reality of the constant corporate cutbacks … I put it in Jolene.”  

Estes explained that she chose to ground the feisty, driven Garcia’s character in aspects of her personal experience as well: highlighting her Midwestern roots and her experiences as a former foster parent (making Garcia a former foster youth), creating parallels between Garcia’s journey and her own.

“I made her feel like a fish out of water because I felt like a major fish out of water when I moved to Phoenix,” Estes shared, reflecting on her personal connection to Garcia’s back story.

The character’s disadvantaged upbringing adds an extra dimension to her motivation, Estes said, because “she also is seeking recognition and attention that she didn’t get growing up. And that really leads her to sometimes behave in ways that maybe some people don’t like that can come across as abrasive or a little ‘too much.’ She doesn’t know when to stop, because … she is seeking recognition, often through her reporting, when she’s really looking for it with her family.” 

This drives the character of Jolene to assume extraordinary risks in the name of finding Lemmon’s killer. Would the journalist Estes have acted in the same way? “29-year-old me might have,” Estes said, “Today? No. You mellow with age.”

“Off The Air” reads as a tribute to Phoenix itself, as Jolene’s quest for answers unfolds against a vivid backdrop of the people, places and the essence of what makes Phoenix unique. “I was able to actually put in a couple of my real-life references here in Phoenix,” said Estes, “and made them sort of Jolene’s experiences in the book.” 

One such anecdote: a memorable Emmy nomination for a lighthearted feature about a fish visiting the dentist in Arizona. Estes (and Jolene) lost to another story — about bubble wrap. “I tracked down the guy that won,” Estes said, “I said, ‘I want to give you a belated yet sincere congratulations.’ And I sent him a book.” 

Asked about the challenge of balancing her demanding day job with her literary aspirations. “I would say I did not juggle it very well,” Estes laughed, referring to “Off The Air”’s 15-year gestation.

That said, another Jolene Garcia novel is in the works, and Estes said the next one will arrive much sooner. “It’s been my dream to have a mystery series set in Phoenix. So yes … Jolene is working on yet another suspicious death. She’s convinced it suspicious. She’s trying to find out if that’s really the case.”

For those intrigued by the enigmatic world of local news and the relentless pursuit of truth, “Off the Air” beckons as a riveting read, offering a compelling blend of mystery, intrigue and a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the world of journalism.

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© 2024 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Terik King is an Associate Producer for WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2022 he held roles producing podcasts, unscripted television and content for MTV, the NFL and independent documentary production companies.

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book review or book report

Democrats, political figures dogpile onto Trump VP hopeful after story of animal killings

book review or book report

It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative — a growing number of elected officials and political groups all suddenly want you to know: they love their dogs.

The outpouring of animal love from political social media is all in response to South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem (R) — who is believed to be in the running to be Donald Trump’s running mate — admitting in her forthcoming book that she killed a family dog and goat in a gravel pit with a gun on the same day.

According to an excerpt of the book obtained by the Guardian in advance of its publication next month, Noem, a farmer and rancher, said she shot and killed her 14-month-old wirehair pointer, Cricket, because she was “untrainable” and aggressive.

Noem described how Cricket was overexcited on a hunt and wrote that she attacked another family’s chickens like “a trained assassin.” The governor also said Cricket had tried to bite her during the incident, later writing that she “hated that dog.”

After killing Cricket, Noem wrote that she then decided to kill a family goat that was “nasty and mean” and which “loved to chase” Noem’s children.

Democrats, including President Biden’s reelection campaign, had some fun with it — along with some spirited politicking.

The Democratic National Committee, responding to Noem’s book excerpt, issued a statement on behalf of “the dogs of the DNC, aka the Dogmocratic Party.”

“As DNC’s canine companions, we’ve heard a lot from our owners about just how extreme and dangerous Donald Trump and his far-right MAGA allies are — but nothing could prepare us for the truly disturbing and horrifying passages Kristi L. Noem willingly chose to put in her new book,” the statement said.

“Our message is plain and simple: If you want elected officials who don’t brag about brutally killing their pets as part of their self-promotional book tour, then listen to our owners — and vote Democrat,” the statement added.

After Noem’s excerpt went public, the Biden campaign’s rapid response team shared pictures on X of Vice President Harris holding a puppy and President Biden walking his German shepherd, Commander , at the White House (although Commander was removed from the White House last year after he bit several staffers and Secret Service officers).

Democratic Gov. Tim Walz (Minn.) shared a photo on X of him feeding his dog a treat, writing the caption, “Post a picture with your dog that doesn’t involve shooting them and throwing them in a gravel pit. I’ll start.” The post garnered responses from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-Mich.) and Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) with their furry companions.

Post a picture with your dog that doesn’t involve shooting them and throwing them in a gravel pit. I’ll start. https://t.co/VA3O0lcHtJ pic.twitter.com/gICODi9YD5 — Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) April 26, 2024

The Lincoln Project, a political organization founded by moderate conservatives who oppose Trump, published a tongue-in-cheek video that seemed to nod at Sarah McLachlan’s earworm ads for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

“You have options,” a narrator says in the video. “Shooting your dog in the face should not be one of them. And if you do happen to shoot your dog in the face, please don’t write about it in your autobiography.”

The organization also subsequently said that Trump and Noem’s “disregard for animals reflects their disregard for everything else. Cruelty is the point.”

Other Republicans who do not support Trump, including former Trump aides Alyssa Farah Griffin and Sarah Matthews , as well as Meghan McCain , similarly expressed shock over Noem’s story.

And Laura Loomer, a right-wing activist and Trump ally, wrote on X, “You can’t shoot your dog and then be VP.”

Post a picture with your dog that doesn’t involve shooting them and throwing them in a gravel pit. https://t.co/TJzQXsguNE pic.twitter.com/uJd0DdwI0Y — Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) April 27, 2024

Noem’s actions have been blasted by animal advocacy organizations. Colleen O’Brien, senior vice president of media relations at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said in a statement that the excerpt reveals the governor “obviously fails to understand the vital political concepts of education, cooperation, compromise, and compassion.”

Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund — the lobbying arm of the Humane Society of the United States — said in a statement that “there is no redeeming takeaway from a story about the ending of these animals’ lives, including a juvenile dog who was the family pet.”

The organization noted that the 86 million American homes “have at least one beloved pet and value our relationship with them. There are so many effective and humane ways to deal with canine behavioral issues that don’t resort to such means.”

Noem appeared to verify the details of the excerpt published by the Guardian, writing on X Friday morning, “We love animals, but tough decisions like this happen all the time on a farm. Sadly, we just had to put down 3 horses a few weeks ago that had been in our family for 25 years.”

The governor, in her post, then urged her followers to preorder “ No Going Back ,” her forthcoming book, “if you want more real, honest, and politically INcorrect stories that’ll have the media gasping.”

Amy B Wang contributed to this report.

book review or book report

book review or book report

By the Book

Letter by Letter, Steve Gleason Typed His Memoir With His Eyes

The former N.F.L. player has been living with A.L.S. for more than a decade. Sharing “the most lacerating and vulnerable times” in “A Life Impossible” was worth the physical and emotional toll, he says.

Credit... Rebecca Clarke

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Describe your ideal reading experience (when, where, what, how).

I have always loved to read, and I read nearly anywhere. Journalists used to get a kick out of the fact that in the midst of the chaotic joy of the [New Orleans] Saints locker room, I would lie on the floor reading books.

These days, while I’m not so good at flipping pages, I still tear through books. I listen on Audible, or read on Kindle, and for the books I’d like to pass on, I buy the book for the shelves in our house.

The ideal reading experience? For me, there is nothing more glorious than sitting outside under the shade of an oak tree with my wife, Michel, or our 12-year-old son, Rivers, listening on Audible or hearing them read the hard copy. (Rivers and I just finished the young readers adaptation of “The Boys in the Boat,” by Daniel James Brown.) Our 5-year-old daughter, Gray, is just learning to read, so I look forward to continuing this tradition in nature, my sanctuary, for many years.

What book do you turn to during hard times?

Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning.” There were a couple years, as I was losing the ability to move, talk and breathe, that I felt so lonely, ashamed and weary that I was ready to give up and die. His words helped me choose life.

What did it take to write a nearly 300-page book?

In a word … everything. I type with my eyes, letter by letter, so to write this, it took a physical toll to write for several hours each day for two years. It took patience and discipline. People often talk about “writer’s block,” but I think I experienced something of the opposite thousands of times over the past couple years. Ordinary writers may have a wonderful idea to get on the page, then they quickly write it down. But I type so slowly that the wonderful idea that was so vivid and clear eventually slipped into the fog as I trudged and typed.

It also took an emotional toll. To relive the most lacerating and vulnerable times of my life, then to share those experiences in a raw, truthful human way, rather than a heroic way, took an extraordinary amount of trust. It’s clear to me that sharing our shortcomings and weaknesses with each other is our greatest strength. Our salvation.

Why do you describe yourself as afraid to finish it?

There were multiple reasons. Unlike most authors, I’m not able to quickly scroll through a chapter to revise or edit. I have bragged on social media, “I get more done in one day than most people get done in 15 minutes!” So, during the end of the writing process, there was fear that I would lose the input I needed to tell our story fully and truthfully.

Michel and I took some enormous risks in openly and transparently sharing our journey as a couple enduring the dark traumas of life with A.L.S. When you read the searing experience that we have been through, you may feel kind of like you’re overhearing conversations that you shouldn’t be hearing. But these difficult, truthful and compassionate conversations were our redemption, and our healing. I also took some personal risks in sharing my fairly unconventional views on religion and spirituality.

I think the most frightening aspect may be that once published, my life story would become solid, static and fixed. That is so crazy to me, because, as a lifelong explorer, my perspectives, philosophical outlooks, and beliefs are dynamic and fluid.

Galleys for your book opened with a quote from Shakespeare, “Tears water our growth.” How did you come across it? Why that quote?

I know this will come as a shock, but not everything I read on the internet is true! While this quote was attributed to Shakespeare, we did a little digging and there is no record of him ever saying or writing this, even though it’s constantly attributed to him. Although, in “As You Like It,” he does write: “Sweet are the uses of adversity. …” [The quote is now attributed to Author Unknown.]

What kind of reader were you as a child? Do any childhood books and authors stick with you?

My mom was a language arts teacher, so she would read to me nearly every night and I was a voracious reader growing up. The book that stands out from my youth is “Ender’s Game,” a novel by Orson Scott Card. In sixth grade I found this book in the Bookmobile, a big yellow van that I remember with great nostalgia. I can’t say exactly why, but I also read it a couple years after I was diagnosed with A.L.S.

I sense that in both my adolescence and the crazy unknowns of life where I was losing the ability to move, talk and breathe, I resonated with two themes in “Ender’s Game” — feeling isolation, and working to discover my own identity.

I’m reminded of a profound truth in a quote from Ender: “In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him.” In embracing this paradox, I find strength and compassion in the midst of adversity.

What book has had the greatest impact on you?

Wow, this is an impossible question to answer, but I enjoy dancing with the impossible. It would be “21 Lessons for the 21st Century ,” by Yuval Noah Harari . I read this in early 2019, my ninth season with A.L.S. In “21 Lessons,” Harari explores the profound challenges facing humanity, including technological disruption, political polarization and existential risks. With such rapid change, life will become ever more chaotic.

Harari mentions multiple times that the realest thing in the world is suffering. He goes on to say that suffering is a product of patterns in our own minds, and offers a tool that has helped him alleviate suffering and be more resilient — meditation. I now train my mind in meditation for two to three hours a day. I didn’t realize it then, but as I started meditation, I was embarking on a practice of a lifetime.

What’s the last great book you read?

When I was diagnosed, one of the first questions I asked in a journal entry was, “Can I discover peace of mind, even if this disease destroys my body?” That inquiry has been a guiding light for me the past 13 years. “The Good Life: Lessons From the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness,” by Robert Waldinger and Marc Schulz, has real-life stories I could relate to, providing insights which have helped illuminate the path for me to live longer, and be grateful and content.

The last book that made you cry?

“I Wish for You,” by David Wax and illustrated by Brett Blumenthal. During spring break, as our daughter nestled beside me in bed, our caregiver, Jenni, read from the book. It lists about a dozen of the most important character traits and values that I aspire to embody and instill in our kids. Witnessing Gray following along with her tiny finger, I was overwhelmed by the miraculousness of the moment. Despite being 10 years past my expiration date, here I was, sharing a cherished reading experience.

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Trump VP contender Kristi Noem writes of killing dog – and goat – in new book

South Dakota governor includes bloody tale in campaign volume – and admits ‘a better politician … wouldn’t tell the story here’

  • Who will be Trump’s VP? A shortlist

In 1952, as a Republican candidate for vice-president, Richard Nixon stirred criticism by admitting receiving a dog, Checkers , as a political gift.

In 2012, as the Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney was pilloried for tying a dog , Seamus, to the roof of the family car for a cross-country trip.

But in 2024 Kristi Noem , a strong contender to be named running mate to Donald Trump , the presumptive Republican nominee, has managed to go one further – by admitting killing a dog of her own.

“Cricket was a wirehair pointer, about 14 months old,” the South Dakota governor writes in a new book, adding that the dog, a female, had an “aggressive personality” and needed to be trained to be used for hunting pheasant.

What unfolds over the next few pages shows how that effort went very wrong indeed – and, remarkably, how Cricket was not the only domestic animal Noem chose to kill one day in hunting season.

Noem’s book – No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward – will be published in the US next month. The Guardian obtained a copy.

Like other aspirants to be Trump’s second vice-president who have ventured into print , Noem offers readers a mixture of autobiography, policy prescriptions and political invective aimed at Democrats and other enemies, all of it raw material for speeches on the campaign stump.

She includes her story about the ill-fated Cricket, she says, to illustrate her willingness, in politics as well as in South Dakota life, to do anything “difficult, messy and ugly” if it simply needs to be done.

By taking Cricket on a pheasant hunt with older dogs, Noem says, she hoped to calm the young dog down and begin to teach her how to behave. Unfortunately, Cricket ruined the hunt, going “out of her mind with excitement, chasing all those birds and having the time of her life”.

Noem describes calling Cricket, then using an electronic collar to attempt to bring her under control. Nothing worked. Then, on the way home after the hunt, as Noem stopped to talk to a local family, Cricket escaped Noem’s truck and attacked the family’s chickens, “grabb[ing] one chicken at a time, crunching it to death with one bite, then dropping it to attack another”.

Cricket the untrainable dog, Noem writes, behaved like “a trained assassin”.

When Noem finally grabbed Cricket, she says, the dog “whipped around to bite me”. Then, as the chickens’ owner wept, Noem repeatedly apologised, wrote the shocked family a check “for the price they asked, and helped them dispose of the carcasses littering the scene of the crime”.

Through it all, Noem says, Cricket was “the picture of pure joy”.

“I hated that dog,” Noem writes, adding that Cricket had proved herself “untrainable”, “dangerous to anyone she came in contact with” and “less than worthless … as a hunting dog”.

“At that moment,” Noem says, “I realised I had to put her down.”

Noem, who also represented her state in Congress for eight years, got her gun, then led Cricket to a gravel pit.

“It was not a pleasant job,” she writes, “but it had to be done. And after it was over, I realised another unpleasant job needed to be done.”

Incredibly, Noem’s tale of slaughter is not finished.

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Her family, she writes, also owned a male goat that was “nasty and mean”, because it had not been castrated. Furthermore, the goat smelled “disgusting, musky, rancid” and “loved to chase” Noem’s children, knocking them down and ruining their clothes.

Noem decided to kill the unnamed goat the same way she had just killed Cricket the dog. But though she “dragged him to a gravel pit”, the goat jumped as she shot and therefore survived the wound. Noem says she went back to her truck, retrieved another shell, then “hurried back to the gravel pit and put him down”.

At that point, Noem writes, she realised a construction crew had watched her kill both animals. The startled workers swiftly got back to work, she writes, only for a school bus to arrive and drop off Noem’s children.

“Kennedy looked around confused,” Noem writes of her daughter, who asked: “Hey, where’s Cricket?”

On Friday, reaction to news of Noem’s description of killing her dog and her goat included satire, the Barack Obama adviser turned podcaster Tommy Vietor calling the governor “Jeffrey Dahmer with veneers”, a reference to a famous serial killer and a recent scandal over Noem’s cosmetic dentistry treatment .

But most responses, particularly from dog lovers and people who hunt with dogs, simply expressed disgust.

Rick Wilson, of the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, called Noem “deliberately cruel” and “trash”. Ryan Busse, the Democratic candidate for governor of Montana, said : “Anyone who has ever owned a birddog knows how disgusting, lazy and evil this is. Damn.”

Noem herself posted a screengrab of the Guardian report – and an admission that she recently “put down three horses”.

“We love animals,” she said, “but tough decisions like this happen all the time on a farm. Sadly, we just had to put down three horses a few weeks ago that had been in our family for 25 years.”

The governor also said her book contained “more real, honest and politically incorrect stories that’ll have the media gasping”.

In the book, however, she sums up her story about Cricket the dog and the unnamed, un-castrated goat with what may prove a contender for the greatest understatement of election year: “I guess if I were a better politician I wouldn’t tell the story here.”

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  1. Book Review vs Book Report: Here's How They Compare

    Structure of a Book Review. A book review requires a sophisticated and elaborate structure, involving an in-depth examination of the book's elements to assist potential readers in making an informed decision about whether to read it or not. Typically, book reviews range between 500 and 2,000 words, although the length can vary depending on the ...

  2. Book review vs book report

    Book Report vs Book Review. First of all, a book report is simpler in its structure and it doesn't require any deep text analysis as opposed to a book review. That is why professors and teachers grade papers very low when they receive reports instead of reviews. They take it as a student choosing a shortcut to make his/her job easier when in ...

  3. How to Write a Book Report

    Central to book reports are plot summaries, analyses of characters and themes, and concluding opinions. This format differs from an argumentative essay or critical research paper, in which impartiality and objectivity is encouraged. Differences also exist between book reports and book reviews, who do not share the same intent and audience.

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    Book reviews typically evaluate recently-written works. They offer a brief description of the text's key points and often provide a short appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of the work. Readers sometimes confuse book reviews with book reports, but the two are not identical. Book reports commonly describe what happens in a work; their ...

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  6. How to write a book review and a book report · Help & how-to

    About A book review is a descriptive and critical/evaluative account of a book. It provides a summary of the content, assesses the value of the book, and recommends it (or not) to other potential readers. A book report is an objective summary of the main ideas and arguments that the book's author has presented. The purpose of the report is to give enough information to help decide whether the ...

  7. How to Write a Book Report: A Step-by-Step Guide

    Include the title and author in your intro, then summarize the plot, main characters, and setting of the book. Analyze the author's writing style, as well as the main themes and arguments of the book. Include quotes and examples to support your statements. Part 1.

  8. How to Write a Book Report (+ Book Report Example)

    2. Identify the main elements of the book. Scrutinize the book's primary components, including its main themes, characters, setting, and plot. These elements will form the basis of your report. 3. Formulate a thesis statement. Compose a thesis statement that encapsulates your personal perspective about the book.

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    Develop the body: You can follow your outline or a book report template to write the body of your report. Discuss each element (plot, characters, themes, etc.) in separate paragraphs or sections. Conclude your report: Summarize your main points and offer your final thoughts and evaluation of the book. Review and revise: Finally, review and ...

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  16. How to Write a Book Review (Meaning, Tips & Examples)

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  17. Book Report VS Book Review: Similarities and Differences

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  18. 24 Good Book Review Questions for a Book Report

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    Hence, a book review aims to shed new light on the readers. On the other hand, a book report rehashes the work. The purpose of a book report is to give information about the work. In any case, a book review takes a diagnostic approach that tests the significance of the text. Word Count; A book review typically ranges from 600 to 2,000 words.

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    The name of the author or writers. The genre of the book (for example, biography, autobiography, or fiction). The main subject, plot, or theme of the book. A brief summary of the key points or ideas treated in the book. The reader's response to the book, identifying its apparent strengths and weaknesses. A summary of the book's themes.

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