Reading is one of the most popular activities throughout the history. The form of a book we know appeared in the Middle Ages, but it existed in the different forms long ago. The pieces of writing were extremely expensive, and only the rich people could afford to buy them. Moreover, not everyone could read.
Can you even imagine how lucky we are today? Unfortunately, this kind of activity is not «popular» anymore. Still, students all over the world attend classes, where they study all kinds of literature. Sometimes teachers and professors give a task to write a report.
What is a Book Report?
In easy words, a report is an analysis of what you have read. It serves to show your knowledge of literature, language matters and analysis skills. Keep in mind that it is a professional activity, so it will take some time and efforts.
First of all, you read the work (not briefly!). During the reading, take notes about the plot and characters. You can even draw something or make colorful schemes, so then it will be much easier to refresh in mind the whole story.
A review usually consists of two parts. The first includes general information. The second part is a text analysis. Pay attention to the fact that a report for the university students has to be more complex and detailed.
The Main Part of the Review
- Firstly, you should give a title.
- The next paragraph will be devoted to the author. Here you give some biographical facts, some interesting stories, his or her most famous works. You can also include some information about the authors’ style, his awards, destinations, etc. In general, it is up to you.
- You define a genre. The most common are romance, horror, crime, spy, historical, detective, science fiction, non-fiction, etc. It will be good if you present a brief description of this particular category, so the teacher can see you belong to the so-called professional readers.
- After that, you have to describe the main characters of the story, the number is not important. In this part, you analyze their behavior, actions, motivation, etc. Imagine you are a psychologist; try to put yourself on their place.
This description shouldn`t be very detailed as your aim is to show your knowledge on this literary work.
- The summary of the story is a short retelling of the plot. Here you should write about the main events of the story, the beginning, and the development of the plot, the culmination and the final.
- «What I liked».It is obvious that in this part you write about your positive impressions from the literary work. Maybe, it was some character, humor, style, language or plot.
- «What I disliked» includes the negative points of the piece of literature. It can be boring or frightening, too long or too short, offensive, etc. Try to be honest and don`t be afraid to show your opinion.
- The final step of this part is to give your recommendations. «I do/do not recommend this book». Imagine what kind of readers can like such a literary work, of what age they can be, with what interests and hobbies.
How to Write a Text Analysis
In this part, you have to use your language skills and analyze the text itself.
Firstly, you mention the point of view (of the author, the protagonist or an onlooker) and the form of speech (direct, indirect or an interior monologue).
Then you should not forget about the characterization or the way we discover some information about the characters. For example, it can be the author who describes the characters, give some information on their ersonalities. It is called direct characterization. Alternatively, it can be an indirect characterization; it means that we get some information from the conversations, conflict situations, etc.
Now it is time to describe the climax or the moment of the highest interest of the story, so you will easily define it.
To conclude, you have to explore the stylistic devices of the literary writing.
Usually, we divide them into two parts, syntactic and lexical expressive means.
In the first category, we do the stylistic analysis. The sentences can be simple or complex, long or short. There are some ways the author uses to attire the reader`s attention, like repetition or reiteration, parallelism, anaphora or epiphora.
He/she can also use the verb «to do», empathic word order, etc.
As for lexical means, they are very numerous. The most common include epithet, simile, metaphor, synecdoche, metonymy, personification, oxymoron, paradox and many others.
Don`t forget to make the examples. To do such an analysis correctly, you have to take a phrase, which will demonstrate this or that lexical mean or the stylistic device. Here you can also give some conclusion about the authors’ language (rich/poor), personal style and preferences.
As you can see, this process can be very interesting, especially for literature lovers.
Some Other Facts
One more fact you should know that there are some online resources where you can post or sell your book reviews. Many publishing houses use this kind of analysis to write the summaries and annotations to different pieces of writing. This activity will be extra helpful for your brain, as it involves its different parts. One more advice is to do that in advance and not at the last minute. Maybe, you will need some time to think it over, make some conclusions, rewrite or correct some parts.
You can always illustrate your report with examples you find in the text. Don`t forget to include the quotes to describe the characters, situations, etc. If you have some problems with understanding the work, read some critics or commentaries of other people. Anyway, be sincere and do your best!