Difference between a book review and book report

Created: Jun 10, 2016
Difference between a book review and book report

Imagine you work really hard to produce a good book review: it seems like you are doing everything diligently to present all the points that seem relevant to you. So you obviously expect the “A” grade for the assignment. But what you get is not an “A” and not even “B” or “C”. The shock can be too overwhelming when such things happen. There are a lot of students who find themselves in the situations like this simply because they fail to understand the difference between a book review and a book report. In most cases when students get low grades for a book review, the issue is that they actually turn in a book report which is different from a book review. So the reason why students receive such low grades is sometimes because they never take time to check and understand book review requirements which should be the number one step when writing any type of assignment. In this article we are going to talk on the difference between a book report and book review and also where a book summary falls in between these two.

difference between book report and book review 2

Book Report vs Book Review

First of all, a book report is simpler in its structure and it doesn’t require any deep text analysis as opposed to a book review. That is why professors and teachers grade papers very low when they receive reports instead of reviews. They take it as a student choosing a shortcut to make his/her job easier when in fact one may simply have not understood the difference between the two assignments. Well, in order to prevent that from happening we would like not simply to list the characteristics of a good book review but rather to approach these assignments at a very practical angle. Below you can find some insightful tips on how to write both a book report and book review from scratch. Before we do that, let us briefly explain the terms and how they are different.

Whenever you are asked to write a book report, all you need is to explain the topical details about the author of the book and its plot. Usually book reports present biographical data about the author in order to establish a background for the book. This should also help the reader understand the perspective the author had when he/she approached writing the novel. After the bio goes the summary of the story (the plot, setting, climax, etc.) along with the list of main characters. So as you can see, book report requirements are not that demanding as opposed to those of a book review.

When you are required to write a book review, you are basically asked to analyze the story. Students always have to fight the temptation to simply retell the story in their own words as this is not what a book review requires of a student. The whole point of this assignment is to bring some new light or perspective to the people reading, let’s say, the novel. This paper may still present the information about the plot, main characters and the bio of the author but these sections have to be very brief because they are not the main focus of the writing. The core of every book review is to discover the intent of the author, specific symbols that have significant meaning in the interpretation of the story and thematic elements contributing to the overall purpose of the work. A good review would also discuss where the novel fits in the historical context and whether the author has fully covered the chosen subject. This assignment should also dwell on the limitations of the book discussing whether or not it will have value in the generations to come. As you may have noticed, a book review is all about the in-depth analysis of the literary work.

difference between book report and book review

How to Write a Book Report?

  1. Before you sit to read the book, note down and consider the information about the author, title, publisher and number of pages.

  2. As you read, take note of the main characters, main ideas, and the quotes that appear interesting to you.

  3. Start your report from introducing the general information about the book and its author.

  4. Explain what happens in the book and you also can discuss a few things that you believe require special attention.

  5. Answer the questions “What did you like the most?” and “How would you evaluate the book in general?” That is where you have to dwell on the themes, motifs and different terms of the novel.

  6. End with your recommendations for those willing to read the book. Even if you didn’t like it, still explain why.

How to Write a Book Review?

  1. Before you get down to writing, you need to consider some of the elements that you will need to include into your review. These elements include but are not limited to:

  • Author (Who is the author and what is his/her writing style? What works of this author do you know were written before this particular book?)

  • Genre (Fiction, romance, poetry, etc. – which genre does the book belong to and what makes you think so?)

  • Title (Why do you think the author came up with this title? Does it reflect the main message of the book?)

  • Preface (Is there any important information here that helps us understand the author’s intent?)

  1. Take notes of the characters, themes, key ideas and style of the book when reading.

  2. Determine how you will structure the summary/background information section first. Don’t list too much information here, this is not a report after all.

  3. Establish a background for the readers – make sure that everybody will be engaged with your review even those who have never read the book.

  4. Then talk on the most important ideas of the text. Choose those that seem to be the most pressing ones.

  5. Keep in mind that your evaluation should be in the center of the entire project. Pick a few points to discuss about the text.

  6. Include the information about the publisher and price of the book.

Book Summary VS Book Review

The difference between a book review and summary is something we would like to close the article with. There are those who confuse two terms and as a result don’t know which of the two requires what. Well, we have already covered what a book review is – an in-depth analysis of the book. While a review gives an evaluation of the book along with the background information about the author, a summary is to describe what the book is all about. A summary usually presents the main idea of the book and may list one or two intrigues developed in the text. The purpose of a summary is to help people who have never read the book, understand what it is all about, how the author developed his/her thought, and what are the key ideas that are interwoven within the text. Summaries can be a part of book reviews as well as autonomously stand alone. The requirements of a summary are similar to the book report requirements although they have some substantial distinctions that keep them as separate assignments.

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