Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Book review questions

My best short summary of what to include in a review:
Was it a good book?
Would you recommend it?
What did you like about it?
What did you dislike?
Tell us whatever you thought.
Below are deeper questions for specific genres, but first some examples of genres:  fiction, history, historical fiction, poetry, science, science fiction, travel, memoir, biography, and literature, which can include nonfiction as well as fiction.   Most of what I review is either fiction, memoir, or nonfiction (having taught religions of the world in college, I'm interested in religion, history, and culture).  Don't even try to use all these questions for every review, of course, but as tools for collecting your thoughts about a book.

FICTION

1.  Title, author, copyright date, and genre?
2.  Summarize the book without giving away the ending.
3.  What did you think of the main character?
4.  Which character could you relate to best?
5.  Were there any other especially interesting characters?
6.  From whose point of view is the story told?
7.  Were the characters and their problems believable?
8.  How did the main character change during the novel?
9.  What was the book's central question, and how was it answered?
10.  Did you learn something new from the book?
11.  Was the book different from what you expected?
12.  Was location important to the story?
13.  Was the time period important to the story?
14.  What alternative title would you choose for this book?
15.  Share a quote or two from the book.
16.  Share a favorite scene from the book.
17.  What did you like most about the book?
18.  What did you like least?
19.  Did you like the way the book ended?
20.  What do you think will be your lasting impression of this book?
21.  What did you think of the cover?
22.  For banned books:  Why was this book banned?
23.  Would you recommend this book?
24.  How would you rate it? *** My book rating guide

MEMOIR (memoir defined)

1.  Title, author, date of book, and genre?
2.  What do you think motivated the author to share his or her life story?
3. I s the author trying to elicit a certain response, such as sympathy?
4.  How has this book changed or enhanced your view of the author?
5.  Were there any instances in which you felt the author was not being truthful?
6.  What is the author's most admirable quality?
7.  Is this someone you would want to know (or to have known)?
8.  Share a quote or two from the book.
9.  Share a favorite part of the book.
10.  What did you like most about the book?
11.  What did you like least?
12.  Did you learn something new from the book?
13.  What will be your lasting impression of the author?
14.  What did you think of the cover?
15.  For banned books:  Why was this book banned?
16.  Would you recommend this book?
17.  How would you rate it? *** My book rating guide

NONFICTION

1.  Title, author, copyright date, and genre?
2.  What was the author's purpose in writing this book?
3.  Did the author make a logical argument?
4.  Did the author keep you interested?
5.  Share a quote or two from the book.
6.  Share a favorite part of the book.
7.  What did you like most about the book?
8.  What did you like least?
9.  What will be your lasting impression of the subject?
10.  Did you learn something new from the book?
11.  What did you think of the cover?
12.  For banned books:  Why was this book banned?
13.  Would you recommend this book?
14.  How would you rate it? *** My book rating guide

__________________________________________________

Feel free to use and adapt my prompts as you like.
__________________________________________________


Chrisbookarama has a great post about How to Write a Review.  Here are her main points:
  • Mention the title and author's name in the title and body of the post.
  • Describe the book briefly, and avoid spoilers.
  • Give your opinion, and make it personal.
  • Talk about the story, its plot, characters, pacing.
  • Look at technical details, like point of view, writing style, any grammatical errors, atmosphere.
  • Point out both the good and bad, and if it just wasn't for you, say so.
  • Watch your grammar, so no mistakes will distract the reader.
  • Be true to yourself and honest in your opinions. Your readers will appreciate it.
  • If you choose to have one, explain your rating system somewhere on your blog.
  • Write!  It won't always be wonderful, but just do it!

4 comments:

kim kerrie said...

Good site found fruitful for education.
BUS 475 final exam 2

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Kim, what does my list of book review questions have to do with a final exam in business (an exam that's for sale)? I don't see any connection at all.

Dean Kealy said...

Thank you for this post! I only recently found it, and use it to do quick reviews of books that I read and really enjoy. I sometimes put the reviews on by blog www.weebitwordy.com and would really appreciate if you stopped by. Great blog, keep up the excellent reading--I love reading your list books that you've read each month! :D

Dean.

ElaineJJackson said...

Thank you for sharing this, Bonnie - as someone who also likes to review books too, this is so helpful! I think it will also help when I do a feedback round for my forthcoming novel.