The academic book review is a very special kind of text. It is similar to the literary book review but refers to non-fiction works. Usually, the purpose of scientific discussions is to outline the purpose of the book and locate them in a scientific context.

This will allow other scientists in the field to get an idea of the work and how relevant it is for them and their work. An academic book review has three parts: the synopsis, the location in the scientific discourse and the reviewer’s assessment.

Select and read the publication

Provided that your lecturer does not decide on the work to be reviewed, you can choose the textbook you want to write about yourself. Naturally, works of which you are already familiar are of advantage. This makes it easier for you, but also for the future readers, the book review is so well founded. In addition, the textbook should not be too extensive and complex – a monograph or a standard work is suitable for example for the scientific review.

If you have opted for a textbook, you should, of course, have read the book completely. The review already starts during the reading process. Write down your thoughts and possible praise or criticism. Also make notes on premises, theses and questions, the structure and the scientific classification of the work.

Academic book review

  1. The reason. Start with why you reached for this book. Is it because of a great description on the back cover or a friend/friend recommended it to you, or maybe you’ve heard about it for a long time and walked for a few weeks on “book hunger”, looking for it in the bookstores.

The first words must interest other people. Encourage you to read your review, and by the way will give you some initial information about the book, allowing you to orientate, for example, in a genre or subject matter. Another variation of the “reason” is the outline of the problem or an indication that the book raises an interesting topic

  1. Author. Then if you want and feel that this information may be interesting, write a few words about the author of the book.

Often, the authors of our favorite books have a very interesting life story or unusual experiences from which they get ideas for books. Sometimes it was their personal experiences that inspired the writing of the book.

  1. Content. In the next step, go to the story description. Write who is/are the main character/heroes, where the action takes place and what is the theme or main problem, etc.

In this point, the most important thing is that you do not write a summary of the book. Nobody would be happy if he read in the review of how the book reviews ends. The description should encourage and gently introduce the reader to the world of the book. It should be written so that he would feel that some door to the novel had been opened to him, but he still stands only in the doorway.

  1. The most important your opinion. In this section, it is very difficult to write exactly what should be included in the review, because it depends entirely on its author. The most important thing is to write honestly, not to spare the book both praise and words of constructive * criticism.

Here you can write what we liked in the book, what made us laugh, moved, whether the author could surprise us and why. To which group of recipients is it targeted? Was there a well-conducted narrative? What were the descriptions in the book and if it is our wish, you can write something about the look of the cover or even the size of the typeface? The most important thing, however, is sticking to the principle from point 3. Namely, we do not summarize the book. When we write our observations, we try to put it in such a way that we do not reveal the most important information about the plot.

  1. Summary.

Here you should find a few words regarding the summary of both the publish reviews and the book.

This part should be relatively short, preferably if in 2-3 sentences you sum up the impression the book made on you, at the same time encouraging or discouraging reading it. It is also worth noting for which group the book is addressed and to whom it can be recommended (or advised).

Write an academic book review

To make your review good

* collect messages that may be useful to you. Collect specialized vocabulary.

When reviewing a movie, for example, you must demonstrate basic knowledge about genres, types of film sets, editing, and a notion of the concept: scenario, set design, etc.

* Do not tell the whole story! Specify the issues, mention the most interesting.

* Remember to analyze, comment and evaluate first of all.

the information part should not dominate your text.

* Reporting (information) and critical parts may be separate parts of reviews or interleave.

* Honestly justify your opinions

* Emphasize the subjectivism of the statements, using phrases: in my opinion, I am convinced, in my opinion, I think; I have the impression that; with certainty, etc.

* Strongly encourage or advise. Use kinky vocabulary, for example, it is worth reading; you should see; be sure to see; I do not recommend; I advise against etc.


Final judgment

Basic academic writing skills read very pleasantly. For example, Goosen and Schoordijk have an easily readable writing style. This makes the book by no means dry, although I had expected this with a book on this subject. The information is well dosed and is interspersed with a lot of practice material, examples from practice and references to use lists and tests on the website. This means that attention does not quickly slacken. What is also nice is that the chapters can be read separately from each other. The book is therefore not only pleasant to read all through but students who already know where their gaps are can easily pick out some chapters. As far as the components on language proficiency are concerned, I find it positive that there is less focus on grammar and spelling and more on structure and formulation.