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Is a Book Review the Same As a Book Report?

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Joined: 01 Oct 2009
Posts: 48

PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 3:22 am    Post subject: Is a Book Review the Same As a Book Report? Reply with quote

A book review and a book report are different in regards to their objective.

A book report shows the content and structure of a book in an objective way. It summarizes the content and analyzes the structure. It intends to give valuable information about the book to help others decide if it is interesting and valuable.

A book review describes, evaluates or criticizes its content. Same as a book report, it explains the content and analyzes its structure, but additionally, you measure the worth of the book and recommend it, or not, to others.

Both center on a specific book, and rarely include research outside of it.

In college, or even for an ESL class, you may be asked to write one or the other, and it is vital that you know exactly what they are asking you to do if you want to excel in your classes. Following is a guide to write both:

1. Bibliography. Includes the authorís name, title and subtitle of the book, editor and edition, place, publisher, date of publication and number of pages. All of it in bibliographical form under the reportís title.

2. Background. Includes the authorís credentials in the area and any influence that may have affected his or her views. Add any interesting data related to the writing of the book.

3. Classification of the book. Is the book fiction or non-fiction? Specify the subject area, for example, medicine, history, travel, biography, law, etc.

4. Classify the authorís intention. How does he or she touches on the subject? Is it a specialized work? Is it meant for professionals, students or just anyone? Is it dedicated to a specific field or is it general?

5. Subject and thesis statement. Whatís the book about? Talk about its main subject and the authorís particular point of view on that subject (thesis statement).

6. Structure analysis. The thesis statement will summarize the main idea of the book, however, you have to talk about the order of other ideas and how they relate to the thesis and between them. The headlines and sections will show most of the structure of the book, but you will find other important elements while reading it.

7. Content summary. This is based on your notes, follows the authorís order, and is only composed of main ideas that pinpoint the authorís argument.

8. Critical comments. Check with your professor if the book report should include some criticism. These comments should be the strength of the book review. Here is where you state what you think about the authorís point of view and whether it is valuable for the readers. Consider the following: Was the bookís purpose achieved? Does it contribute to the field? Is it objective? Are there missing facts or evidence? What data supports the authorís opinions? Can this data be interpreted differently? Is the book written clearly? Does the book stimulate discussion? Support your evaluation with evidence from the book, and donít forget to say whether you liked the piece or work or not.

So, if you were asked to read a book in your ESL Classes
and you must write a book report or book review, nowís your chance to really stand out!

If you liked this article, tell all your friends about it. Theyíll thank you for it. If you have a blog or website, you can link to it or even post it to your own site (donít forget to mention Englishlci original source).

Rachel Clarkson
ESL Classes
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Joined: 07 Jun 2008
Posts: 10
Location: Los Angeles, California

PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 2:29 pm    Post subject: Solid primer! Reply with quote

Rachel - Thank you for writing that solid primer on the differences between a book report and book review.

I often assign book reviews as a final assignment and require students to both orally present and write their review. It's a challenging, but almost always, surprising assignment since students are free to pick the book.

Sometimes I also ask them to write different versions: 1 sentence, 1 paragraph, 1 page, and a full 1,000 word review. That simple exercises helps clarify their focus.

Thanks for sharing.


"In America, nobody says you have to keep circumstances somebody else gives you."
Amy Tan, Asian-American writer
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