The Indian literature scene saw the unprecedented upsurge of book reviewers in the past few years. Eight years back when I started outset books, the number of reviewers was limited and there was no Instagram. But with the onset of Social media especially Instagram, the number has clearly risen but the quality came down. Post a book picture, write 4 lines and that’s it. The reviewers have clearly lost the plot (not everyone), much less analyse a plot. Hence I thought it is high time I post how to write a book review in English with honesty and professionalism.
How to write a book review in English
So the tips and instructions to be mentioned below are applicable when you are reviewing a book in any language, not just English.
1. Read the book thoroughly
You can skim through the books and state four lines about it as a review but does that make you a good reviewer? No! Anyone can surmise that you haven’t read the book and your review doesn’t hold any value. While reading the book you can make notes to begin with. Once you become more and more experienced, you will learn to write the review even without notes. Before learning how to write a book review in English, learn how to read the book deeply.
2. Analyse the overall plot
Your review must analyze the overall plot in terms of the pace of the plot, the importance of subplots if any, and how are the twists embedded. If you genuinely read the book, you will be able to provide a deep insight into the plot without spoilers. Think about the author’s perspective and other readers’ perspectives. Keep in mind that all books are not for everyone.
The authors who have come back to me have done so because they believed in me bringing out different perspectives. This, I myself realized only when they pointed it out.
3. Know the characters
You might or might not like the characters but instead of plainly stating I liked this person or I disliked that person, point out the traits that you liked about the person or disliked for that matter. This gives an authentic perspective on the character’s craft and development.
4. Make it short and crisp
While Google likes long texts, keep your review essence short and crisp and without 300 words but not less than that. You can extend the word length by adding a blurb or connecting any personal instances but the Crux of the review should be kept short and crisp.
5. Never trash the book or author
If you don’t like the book as a whole or any particular aspect of the book state it professionally. Your job is to analyze the book not trash the hard work of another person. Show some respect while pointing out the negatives.
6. Climax without spoilers
You can ambiguously state of you liked the climax or the mood of the climax but never give away the spoilers. It affects the books. Don’t forget that you have to respect hard work.
Now that you know how to write a book review in English, start reading the book from a third readers’ and the author’s perspective and start drafting a review with honesty and professionalism.