Book Reviews/Writing a review/questions to answer

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Questions to answer[edit | edit source]

  1. What is the: title, author, publisher, date, length, and ISBN?
  2. What is the genre? Fiction, non-fiction?
  3. Who is the audience? (i.e. age, reading level, interests, specialties…)
  4. Highlight any notable aspects, good or bad, of the book’s design and production. Consider aesthetics, typography, cover, design, images, table of contents, notes, references, index, . . .
  5. What is the Style (casual, formal, light, humors, serious, scholarly . . .), point of view[1],
  6. Was it easy or difficult to read? Fun and rewarding to read?
  7. What qualifies the author to write this book?
  8. Does the book deliver on its promise? (What does it promise? What does it deliver? Cite evidence.)
  9. For nonfiction books what is your assessment of the quality of the argument, evidence, and exposition?
  10. What, if anything, is the original contribution this book makes?
  11. What did you learn? What insights did you gain? Does the book make a unique contribution to knowledge or wisdom? Does it provide a new and better way to present difficult material?
  12. What surprised you? Did you ever have an ah-ha moment while reading the book?
  13. For a fiction book, consider: Did you get lost in the book? What are the salient plot points? Did the book achieve emotional entrainment? Was the character development intriguing? Did you care about the characters?
  14. Which part attracts you most? Which ones were boring? Which chapter is the key-point of the story? Which portions did you like most? Why?
  15. What is your favorite quote from the book? Why?
  16. What creative value does this book contribute?
  17. How does this book affect you on the whole? How does the author achieve this?, How does each role affect the story?
  18. What is missing?
  19. Does the book sparkle? A book that sparkles is fun to read, breaks new ground, communicates in memorable ways, uses images effectively, is accessible to a broad audience, and influences a significant readership to change their assumptions, beliefs, or ways of thinking.
  20. Judge the book. Is it good or bad? Why?
  21. Who are your target readers for your review? Are you writing this review to serve someone? Is your review outstanding among all the reviews of this book?
  22. What, if anything, makes this an important work? What does the reader stand to gain by reading this book?
  23. Identify the design decisions were made in creating this book. Consider these areas, then comment on the most distinctive design choices:
  • Book aesthetics, format, and production:
    • Cover style and art.
    • Paper choice, size, trim
    • Typeface, font size, leading, margins, and other page layout choices.
    • Table of contents, notes, references, index, additional materials
    • Use of figures, photographs, graphics, graphic novel, . . .
  • Book Style
    • Reading level, vocabulary, sentence length.
    • Point of view (omniscient narrator, first person, . . .)
    • Serious, satire, humorous, academic, pedantic, frivolous
    • Comforting, call to action, alarming, disturbing,
  • Tone is the feeling that a book evokes in the reader. In many cases, this category best answers the question, “What are you in the mood for?” [2] A more extensive list of tone descriptors and a brief definition of each is avaliable in the above reference.
    • Humorous, solemn, distant, intimate, ironic, arrogant, condescending, authoritative, scholarly, sentimental, angry, melancholy, anguished, youthful, optimistic, deadpan, satirical, maudlin, self-righteous, and so on.
  • Book Semantics
    • Credible, speculative, innovative, drivel, …
    • Informative, argumentative, entertaining, …
    • Well organized, well argued, excellent supporting evidence,
    • Muddled logic, rambling
    • Coherence, consistency,flow

References[edit | edit source]

  1. See: http://www.literarydevices.com/point-of-view/
  2. Caplinger, Victoria. The Secret Landuage of Books, A Guide to Appeal. NoveList. p. 40.