Today is the first day of Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany. It is the biggest book fair in the world. I wonder how many people around the world come to this event. My book is there along with thousands of books from many other countries and I will see what happens without any push of additional marketing in there.
And this morning, I would like to talk about Enthusiasm Review Contest. Talking about Book Review, do you ever know what does it mean?
As the person who is involved in the online writing course, I think I need to share the basic info about Book Review in this special post for my Review Contestants.
Definition of A Book Review is a description, critical analysis, and an evaluation on the quality, meaning, and significance of a book, not a retelling. It should focus on the book's purpose, content, and authority. A critical book review is not a book report or a summary. It is a reaction paper in which strengths and weaknesses of the material are analyzed. It should include a statement of what the author has tried to do, evaluates how well (in the opinion of the reviewer) the author has succeeded, and presents evidence to support this evaluation. (The italic sentences shows that you don't have to do but if you can present them, it will make your review great).
Book Reviews are highly personal and reflect the opinions of the reviewer. A review can be as short as 50-100 words, or as long as 1500 words, depending on the purpose of the review.
Regarding of the Book Review information I got from LA Valley College Library in California, the standard procedures for writing book reviews are suggestions, not formulae that must be used.
1. Write a statement giving essential information about the book: title, author, first copyright date, type of book, general subject matter, price and ISBN (these information should be mentioned in the review by blogger, FB contestants, or it has been sent/published to/by online and printed media as I've mentioned in the review contest rules)
2. State the author’s purpose in writing the book. Sometimes authors state their purpose in the preface or the first chapter.
3. State the theme and the thesis of the book.
4. Explain the method of development-the way the author supports the thesis. Illustrate your remarks with specific references and quotations. In general, authors tend to use the following methods, exclusively or in combination.
a. Description: The author presents word-pictures of scenes and events by giving specific details that appeal to the five senses, or to the reader’s imagination. Description presents background and setting. Its primary purpose is to help the reader realize, through as many sensuous details as possible, the way things (and people) are, in the episodes being described.
b. Narration: The author tells the story of a series of events, usually presented in chronological order. In a novel however, chronological order may be violated for the sake of the plot. The emphasis in narration, in both fiction and non-fiction, is on the events. Narration tells what has happened. Its primary purpose is to tell a story.
c. Exposition: The author uses explanation and analysis to present a subject or to clarify an idea. Exposition presents the facts about a subject or an issue as clearly and impartially as possible. Its primary purpose is to explain.
d. Argument: The author uses the techniques of persuasion to establish the truth of a statement or to convince the reader of its falsity. The purpose is to persuade the reader to believe something and perhaps to act on that belief. Argument takes sides on an issue. Its primary purpose is to convince.
5. Evaluate the book for interest, accuracy, objectivity, importance, thoroughness, and usefulness to its intended audience. Show whether the author's main arguments are true. Respond to the author's opinions. What do you agree or disagree with? And why? Illustrate whether or not any conclusions drawn are derived logically from the evidence. Explore issues the book raises. What possibilities does the book suggest? What has the author omitted or what problems were left unsolved? What specific points are not convincing? Compare it with other books on similar subjects or other books by the same as well as different authors. Is it only a reworking of earlier books; a refutation of previous positions? Have newly uncovered sources justified a new approach by the author? Comment on parts of particular interest, and point out anything that seems to give the book literary merit. Relate the book to larger issues.
6. Try to find further information about the author - reputation, qualifications, influences, biographical, etc. - any information that is relevant to the book being reviewed and that would help to establish the author's authority. Can you discern any connections between the author's philosophy, life experience and the reviewed book?
7. If relevant, make note of the book's format - layout, binding, typography, etc. Are there maps, illustrations? Do they aid understanding?
8. Summarize (briefly), analyze, and comment on the book’s content. State your general conclusions. Pay particular attention to the author's concluding chapter. Is the summary convincing? List the principal topics, and briefly summarize the author’s ideas about these topics, main points, and conclusions. Use specific references and quotations to support your statements. If your thesis has been well argued, the conclusion should follow naturally. It can include a final assessment or simply restate your thesis. Do not introduce new material at this point.
Well, those eight procedures above sound complicated but I have applied those just for the students at the online writing course. You should not do all of them to review my book but at least you should remember a definition of Book Review. It is a description, critical analysis, and an evaluation on the quality, meaning, and significance of a book, not a retelling.
Because my book is non fiction that I present it in the Novel format, you should consider several things in reviewing my book: Characters, theme, plot, style, setting, and several factors I will mention below:
1. Does the book give a "full-length" picture of the subject?
2. What is the point of view of the author?
3. How is the subject matter organized: chronologically, retrospectively, etc.?
4. What source materials were used? (For examples for my book--Enthusiasm, I used journals, letters, blogs, etc.)
I hope the information above will give you many inputs in reviewing a book and make my book review contest recently as your praticing in writing a book review, and you can write much better for the next review contest of my next published books.
So . . . who is the winner? Please, stay tune!!!
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