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For a novice in academic writing, the difference between a book report and a book review might seem unclear. In fact, the purpose of the former is to describe a book, while the purpose of the latter is to explain your view on the book and persuade the reader. Therefore, a book report focuses on the summary while the review is based on the reader’s commentary.
So how do you write a book report? Let us analyze its structure:
Start by providing the basic details such as:
- The book title
- The author
- The genre
- Publishing details (publisher, publication date)
Then, introduce the reader to the content of the book by saying what the author describes and why. Be careful and keep this introduction very brief. Next, include your thesis statement.
Basically, the body of a book report consists of two parts: the book description and evaluation. So you have to first explain what the book is about, describe the author’s purpose, etc. and then say whether you like the book or not and justify your opinion. Speaking about the book evaluation, it will differ greatly depending on whether you are describing a work of fiction or non-fiction.
If you are reporting on fiction, you have to stimulate your reader’s imagination, so carefully describe such details as the setting and characters. It is also very important to discuss the narrator since his/her point of view helps to create the context.
Be careful when summarizing the plot. On the one hand, you have to make the summary clear, but on the other hand, avoid providing too many details. Otherwise, the reader might not be willing to actually read the book you are discussing.
Most probably, your report will be geared towards an academic audience, so you should be careful when describing the background details such as the author’s central argument, purpose, and conclusions. Remember about words economy – avoid repetitions and redundancies, making your statements concise and clear.
Analysis and Evaluation
The analysis and evaluation enable you to become a critic of the book. However, remember that you will have to make your arguments compelling and establish credibility by backing up your claims with ample of evidence. To find the right evidence, ask yourself the following questions when reading the book:
- Who do you think the author’s intended audience is?
- How does the author appeal to the reader’s emotions?
- Does the author make any assumptions?
- Does the author ask his/her readers any questions?
- Is the author persuasive?
- Is the book written well?
- Do you think the author succeeded in delivering his/her main argument?
- Would you recommend this book for other people to read? Why?
This is the last paragraph of your report. Here, you should summarize the main claims and arguments, restate the thesis statement, and mention some other important things you want your readers to remember. Although you can also describe your feelings after reading the book, do not include any new arguments in this paragraph.