How to... write a book review Part: 2

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How to... write a book review

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Examples of how academics write book reviews

Example 1

"I usually read completely the books I am reviewing (so as to be sure that I do not misunderstand them), marking parts that I think are particularly meaningful. Then I start by saying what the book is about and the intended audience (since having this information first may allow readers who are not interested to skip the rest of the review, and readers who are interested to raise their attention). Next I outline how the topic is developed, as concerns facets of content and depth of treatment. Then I point out what are in my opinion the points of strengths and weaknesses of the book. Finally, I try to give a global evaluation of my appreciation and possible usefulness of the book. Finally I polish the form and try to bring it to the required length. This writing phase lasts usually around two hours."

Example 2

"I read the book through, marking on it possible points for inclusion on

  1. what the author says the book is about,
  2. possible key findings, and
  3. controversial statements.

I then decide on which of these to include and which bits of the book to write about and what to leave out (because of space limitations). I word process the first draft, which is usually too long, and then I cut it and continually refine it through numerous editings – with periods for incubation between each one – until it emerges, in my view, as a highly polished piece of prose!"