Writing Book Reviews


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Presented at the Southern Alberta Library Conference March 4 & 5, 2011 Lethbridge, Alberta

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Writing Book Reviews

  1. 1. Writing Book Reviews Share your expertise and interact online with library users
  2. 2. my book reviewing experience...
  3. 3. Why write book reviews? <ul><li>Highlight new additions to the collection </li></ul><ul><li>Draw attention to specific areas of the collection </li></ul><ul><li>Help readers find books that interest them and are worth their time </li></ul><ul><li>Exercise your critical thinking and creative writing skills </li></ul><ul><li>Broaden your own reading horizons </li></ul><ul><li>Free Books! </li></ul>
  4. 4. What should a book review accomplish? <ul><li>Tell the reader what the book is about </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluate strengths and weaknesses </li></ul><ul><li>Tell the reader why they may or may not be interested in reading the book </li></ul>
  5. 5. Points of interest <ul><li>Fiction: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pacing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Characterization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Storyline </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Setting </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Non-Fiction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Subject </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Level of detail or depth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Style </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organization </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. How to read in order to review fiction <ul><li>Ask yourself the following questions as you read: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who is the intended audience? Is the book appropriate for this audience? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the tone of the narrative? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is your response to the book? Is it satisfying to read? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the pace satisfying? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you like the characters? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does the book remind you of others by the same author or in the same genre? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are there any major gaps in the plot? </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. How to read in order to review non-fiction <ul><li>Ask yourself the following questions as you read: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the book about? What is the scope? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What level of expertise is needed to use the information in the book? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who will find this most useful? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the book readable as well as accurate? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the book illustrated? Are the illustrations suitable and effective? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is missing from the book? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the info in the book well organized? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the credentials of the author? </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. The structure of a review <ul><li>Typically a review can be separated into these main parts: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Introduction – introduce the book in such a way that it grabs the reader’s attention </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Brief summary – outline main points of the book (can include short quotes) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluation - analyze and discuss style, characterization, tone, pacing, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conclusion – summarize your ideas and recommend (or not) </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Remember... <ul><li>Make notes as you read </li></ul><ul><li>Keep your reader in mind </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t spoil the ending </li></ul><ul><li>Analyze, critique, and compare. Don’t just summarize </li></ul><ul><li>Readers want information as well as your opinion </li></ul><ul><li>Be fair and objective </li></ul><ul><li>Be honest </li></ul>
  10. 10. Reviewing online <ul><li>BiblioCommons </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://lethlib.bibliocommons.com </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Websites for your reviews: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>www.goodreads.com </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>www.librarything.com </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>www.amazon.ca </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Create your own blog: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>www.blogger.com </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>www.wordpress.com </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Blogs that review: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://blog.booklistonline.com </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>www.thechildrensbookreview.com </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>www.thestorysiren.com </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Get published Bookmarks Quill & Quire Booklist
  12. 12. Start writing! <ul><li>If you have any further questions or would like a copy of this presentation please send me an email [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Happy reviewing!  </li></ul>