A book report is different from a book review in that is concentrates on a summary of what the author has to say, and only marginally comments on the reader’s opinion of what the author says and how he or she says it. It is a factual account of the book’s subject matter, meant to be descriptive rather than analytic or persuasive. A good
book report is well organized and gives a sense of the book as a whole.
Writing the Book Report
- Include the name of the book you have read, the author, and the publishing details.
- Explain how the book is organized.
- Explain the main thesis or argument of the book (if applicable).
Summary and Content
- Take each section of the book and summarize the important points in that section, and how it relates to the overall structure and content of the book.
- Give each section proportional weight in the summary. For example, if the book is divided into four sections of approximately equal length, you should devote the same amount of space in your summary for each section. If, however, section one is twice as long as the other three sections, you should devote more space to a discussion of this section than to the other three.
- Tell the reader why you liked or disliked the book and why. Refer to the elements discussed in your introduction and summary sections.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Have I organized my summary in a way that is easy to follow and reflects the organization of the book?
- Have I accurately represented the author’s point of view of the book?
- Have I accurately represented the structure of the argument presented in the book?
- Have I avoided inserting my own opinion of the subject matter dealt with in the book?
NOTE: This is only a guide. The structure of a book report depends heavily on the type of book being reported on (fiction, non-fiction, biographical, etc.). It is best to consult your instructor before using these guidelines, as he/she may require a different format.
Taken from the University of Western Ontario’s Effective Writing Program