Writing book reviews seems easy – just talk about the book, and whether you liked it or didn’t like it and why.
It’s common to forget that a review (a critical perspective on a text) should have an argument it’s trying to prove. There must be commentary, not just summary. In an effort to clarify my review writing process, I’ve come up with a few rules:
- Reviews should be succinct (people are giving up time that could be spent reading the books you are reviewing). One thousand words is a solid maximum word count.
- Your critical assessment should include something noteworthy, an idea about something that might not be fully explained in the text, and the themes of the work itself.
- Use quotes from the book to enhance the reader’s understanding of my argument.
With these three things in mind, hopefully my reviews will be more clear, entertaining and thoughtful.
Expect to see reviews soon on the following books:
- Bellevue Square by Michael Redhill
- The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton
- The Secret Glory by Arthur Machen
Whew. I better get reading! As always, send your book recommendations my way!