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Blog – Posted on Friday, Mar 29
17 book review examples to help you write the perfect review.
It’s an exciting time to be a book reviewer. Once confined to print newspapers and journals, reviews now dot many corridors of the Internet — forever helping others discover their next great read. That said, every book reviewer will face a familiar panic: how can you do justice to a great book in just a thousand words?
As you know, the best way to learn how to do something is by immersing yourself in it. Luckily, the Internet (i.e. Goodreads and other review sites , in particular) has made book reviews more accessible than ever — which means that there are a lot of book reviews examples out there for you to view!
In this post, we compiled 17 prototypical book review examples in multiple genres to help you figure out how to write the perfect review . If you want to jump straight to the examples, you can skip the next section. Otherwise, let’s first check out what makes up a good review.
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What must a book review contain?
Like all works of art, no two book reviews will be identical. But fear not: there are a few guidelines for any aspiring book reviewer to follow. Most book reviews, for instance, are less than 1,500 words long, with the sweet spot hitting somewhere around the 1,000-word mark. (However, this may vary depending on the platform on which you’re writing, as we’ll see later.)
In addition, all reviews share some universal elements, as shown in our book review templates . These include:
- A review will offer a concise plot summary of the book.
- A book review will offer an evaluation of the work.
- A book review will offer a recommendation for the audience.
If these are the basic ingredients that make up a book review, it’s the tone and style with which the book reviewer writes that brings the extra panache. This will differ from platform to platform, of course. A book review on Goodreads, for instance, will be much more informal and personal than a book review on Kirkus Reviews, as it is catering to a different audience. However, at the end of the day, the goal of all book reviews is to give the audience the tools to determine whether or not they’d like to read the book themselves.
Keeping that in mind, let’s proceed to some book review examples to put all of this in action.
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Book review examples for fiction books
Since story is king in the world of fiction, it probably won’t come as any surprise to learn that a book review for a novel will concentrate on how well the story was told .
That said, book reviews in all genres follow the same basic formula that we discussed earlier. In these examples, you’ll be able to see how book reviewers on different platforms expertly intertwine the plot summary and their personal opinions of the book to produce a clear, informative, and concise review.
Note: Some of the book review examples run very long. If a book review is truncated in this post, we’ve indicated by including a […] at the end, but you can always read the entire review if you click on the link provided.
Examples of literary fiction book reviews
Kirkus Reviews reviews Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man :
An extremely powerful story of a young Southern Negro, from his late high school days through three years of college to his life in Harlem.
His early training prepared him for a life of humility before white men, but through injustices- large and small, he came to realize that he was an "invisible man". People saw in him only a reflection of their preconceived ideas of what he was, denied his individuality, and ultimately did not see him at all. This theme, which has implications far beyond the obvious racial parallel, is skillfully handled. The incidents of the story are wholly absorbing. The boy's dismissal from college because of an innocent mistake, his shocked reaction to the anonymity of the North and to Harlem, his nightmare experiences on a one-day job in a paint factory and in the hospital, his lightning success as the Harlem leader of a communistic organization known as the Brotherhood, his involvement in black versus white and black versus black clashes and his disillusion and understanding of his invisibility- all climax naturally in scenes of violence and riot, followed by a retreat which is both literal and figurative. Parts of this experience may have been told before, but never with such freshness, intensity and power.
This is Ellison's first novel, but he has complete control of his story and his style. Watch it.
Lyndsey reviews George Orwell’s 1984 on Goodreads:
YOU. ARE. THE. DEAD. Oh my God. I got the chills so many times toward the end of this book. It completely blew my mind. It managed to surpass my high expectations AND be nothing at all like I expected. Or in Newspeak "Double Plus Good." Let me preface this with an apology. If I sound stunningly inarticulate at times in this review, I can't help it. My mind is completely fried.
This book is like the dystopian Lord of the Rings, with its richly developed culture and economics, not to mention a fully developed language called Newspeak, or rather more of the anti-language, whose purpose is to limit speech and understanding instead of to enhance and expand it. The world-building is so fully fleshed out and spine-tinglingly terrifying that it's almost as if George travelled to such a place, escaped from it, and then just wrote it all down.
I read Fahrenheit 451 over ten years ago in my early teens. At the time, I remember really wanting to read 1984, although I never managed to get my hands on it. I'm almost glad I didn't. Though I would not have admitted it at the time, it would have gone over my head. Or at the very least, I wouldn't have been able to appreciate it fully. […]
The New York Times reviews Lisa Halliday’s Asymmetry :
Three-quarters of the way through Lisa Halliday’s debut novel, “Asymmetry,” a British foreign correspondent named Alistair is spending Christmas on a compound outside of Baghdad. His fellow revelers include cameramen, defense contractors, United Nations employees and aid workers. Someone’s mother has FedExed a HoneyBaked ham from Maine; people are smoking by the swimming pool. It is 2003, just days after Saddam Hussein’s capture, and though the mood is optimistic, Alistair is worrying aloud about the ethics of his chosen profession, wondering if reporting on violence doesn’t indirectly abet violence and questioning why he’d rather be in a combat zone than reading a picture book to his son. But every time he returns to London, he begins to “spin out.” He can’t go home. “You observe what people do with their freedom — what they don’t do — and it’s impossible not to judge them for it,” he says.
The line, embedded unceremoniously in the middle of a page-long paragraph, doubles, like so many others in “Asymmetry,” as literary criticism. Halliday’s novel is so strange and startlingly smart that its mere existence seems like commentary on the state of fiction. One finishes “Asymmetry” for the first or second (or like this reader, third) time and is left wondering what other writers are not doing with their freedom — and, like Alistair, judging them for it.
Despite its title, “Asymmetry” comprises two seemingly unrelated sections of equal length, appended by a slim and quietly shocking coda. Halliday’s prose is clean and lean, almost reportorial in the style of W. G. Sebald, and like the murmurings of a shy person at a cocktail party, often comic only in single clauses. It’s a first novel that reads like the work of an author who has published many books over many years. […]
Emily W. Thompson reviews Michael Doane's The Crossing on Reedsy Discovery :
In Doane’s debut novel, a young man embarks on a journey of self-discovery with surprising results.
An unnamed protagonist (The Narrator) is dealing with heartbreak. His love, determined to see the world, sets out for Portland, Oregon. But he’s a small-town boy who hasn’t traveled much. So, the Narrator mourns her loss and hides from life, throwing himself into rehabbing an old motorcycle. Until one day, he takes a leap; he packs his bike and a few belongings and heads out to find the Girl.
Following in the footsteps of Jack Kerouac and William Least Heat-Moon, Doane offers a coming of age story about a man finding himself on the backroads of America. Doane’s a gifted writer with fluid prose and insightful observations, using The Narrator’s personal interactions to illuminate the diversity of the United States.
The Narrator initially sticks to the highways, trying to make it to the West Coast as quickly as possible. But a hitchhiker named Duke convinces him to get off the beaten path and enjoy the ride. “There’s not a place that’s like any other,”  Dukes contends, and The Narrator realizes he’s right. Suddenly, the trip is about the journey, not just the destination. The Narrator ditches his truck and traverses the deserts and mountains on his bike. He destroys his phone, cutting off ties with his past and living only in the moment.
As he crosses the country, The Narrator connects with several unique personalities whose experiences and views deeply impact his own. Duke, the complicated cowboy and drifter, who opens The Narrator’s eyes to a larger world. Zooey, the waitress in Colorado who opens his heart and reminds him that love can be found in this big world. And Rosie, The Narrator’s sweet landlady in Portland, who helps piece him back together both physically and emotionally.
This supporting cast of characters is excellent. Duke, in particular, is wonderfully nuanced and complicated. He’s a throwback to another time, a man without a cell phone who reads Sartre and sleeps under the stars. Yet he’s also a grifter with a “love ‘em and leave ‘em” attitude that harms those around him. It’s fascinating to watch The Narrator wrestle with Duke’s behavior, trying to determine which to model and which to discard.
Doane creates a relatable protagonist in The Narrator, whose personal growth doesn’t erase his faults. His willingness to hit the road with few resources is admirable, and he’s prescient enough to recognize the jealousy of those who cannot or will not take the leap. His encounters with new foods, places, and people broaden his horizons. Yet his immaturity and selfishness persist. He tells Rosie she’s been a good mother to him but chooses to ignore the continuing concern from his own parents as he effectively disappears from his old life.
Despite his flaws, it’s a pleasure to accompany The Narrator on his physical and emotional journey. The unexpected ending is a fitting denouement to an epic and memorable road trip.
The Book Smugglers review Anissa Gray’s The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls :
I am still dipping my toes into the literally fiction pool, finding what works for me and what doesn’t. Books like The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray are definitely my cup of tea.
Althea and Proctor Cochran had been pillars of their economically disadvantaged community for years – with their local restaurant/small market and their charity drives. Until they are found guilty of fraud for stealing and keeping most of the money they raised and sent to jail. Now disgraced, their entire family is suffering the consequences, specially their twin teenage daughters Baby Vi and Kim. To complicate matters even more: Kim was actually the one to call the police on her parents after yet another fight with her mother. […]
Examples of children’s and YA fiction book reviews
The Book Hookup reviews Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give :
♥ Quick Thoughts and Rating: 5 stars! I can’t imagine how challenging it would be to tackle the voice of a movement like Black Lives Matter, but I do know that Thomas did it with a finesse only a talented author like herself possibly could. With an unapologetically realistic delivery packed with emotion, The Hate U Give is a crucially important portrayal of the difficulties minorities face in our country every single day. I have no doubt that this book will be met with resistance by some (possibly many) and slapped with a “controversial” label, but if you’ve ever wondered what it was like to walk in a POC’s shoes, then I feel like this is an unflinchingly honest place to start.
In Angie Thomas’s debut novel, Starr Carter bursts on to the YA scene with both heart-wrecking and heartwarming sincerity. This author is definitely one to watch.
♥ Review: The hype around this book has been unquestionable and, admittedly, that made me both eager to get my hands on it and terrified to read it. I mean, what if I was to be the one person that didn’t love it as much as others? (That seems silly now because of how truly mesmerizing THUG was in the most heartbreakingly realistic way.) However, with the relevancy of its summary in regards to the unjust predicaments POC currently face in the US, I knew this one was a must-read, so I was ready to set my fears aside and dive in. That said, I had an altogether more personal, ulterior motive for wanting to read this book. […]
The New York Times reviews Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood :
Alice Crewe (a last name she’s chosen for herself) is a fairy tale legacy: the granddaughter of Althea Proserpine, author of a collection of dark-as-night fairy tales called “Tales From the Hinterland.” The book has a cult following, and though Alice has never met her grandmother, she’s learned a little about her through internet research. She hasn’t read the stories, because her mother, Ella Proserpine, forbids it.
Alice and Ella have moved from place to place in an attempt to avoid the “bad luck” that seems to follow them. Weird things have happened. As a child, Alice was kidnapped by a man who took her on a road trip to find her grandmother; he was stopped by the police before they did so. When at 17 she sees that man again, unchanged despite the years, Alice panics. Then Ella goes missing, and Alice turns to Ellery Finch, a schoolmate who’s an Althea Proserpine superfan, for help in tracking down her mother. Not only has Finch read every fairy tale in the collection, but handily, he remembers them, sharing them with Alice as they journey to the mysterious Hazel Wood, the estate of her now-dead grandmother, where they hope to find Ella.
“The Hazel Wood” starts out strange and gets stranger, in the best way possible. (The fairy stories Finch relays, which Albert includes as their own chapters, are as creepy and evocative as you’d hope.) Albert seamlessly combines contemporary realism with fantasy, blurring the edges in a way that highlights that place where stories and real life convene, where magic contains truth and the world as it appears is false, where just about anything can happen, particularly in the pages of a very good book. It’s a captivating debut. […]
James reviews Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight, Moon on Goodreads:
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown is one of the books that followers of my blog voted as a must-read for our Children's Book August 2018 Readathon. Come check it out and join the next few weeks!
This picture book was such a delight. I hadn't remembered reading it when I was a child, but it might have been read to me... either way, it was like a whole new experience! It's always so difficult to convince a child to fall asleep at night. I don't have kids, but I do have a 5-month-old puppy who whines for 5 minutes every night when he goes in his cage/crate (hopefully he'll be fully housebroken soon so he can roam around when he wants). I can only imagine! I babysat a lot as a teenager and I have tons of younger cousins, nieces, and nephews, so I've been through it before, too. This was a believable experience, and it really helps show kids how to relax and just let go when it's time to sleep.
The bunny's are adorable. The rhymes are exquisite. I found it pretty fun, but possibly a little dated given many of those things aren't normal routines anymore. But the lessons to take from it are still powerful. Loved it! I want to sample some more books by this fine author and her illustrators.
Publishers Weekly reviews Elizabeth Lilly’s Geraldine :
This funny, thoroughly accomplished debut opens with two words: “I’m moving.” They’re spoken by the title character while she swoons across her family’s ottoman, and because Geraldine is a giraffe, her full-on melancholy mode is quite a spectacle. But while Geraldine may be a drama queen (even her mother says so), it won’t take readers long to warm up to her. The move takes Geraldine from Giraffe City, where everyone is like her, to a new school, where everyone else is human. Suddenly, the former extrovert becomes “That Giraffe Girl,” and all she wants to do is hide, which is pretty much impossible. “Even my voice tries to hide,” she says, in the book’s most poignant moment. “It’s gotten quiet and whispery.” Then she meets Cassie, who, though human, is also an outlier (“I’m that girl who wears glasses and likes MATH and always organizes her food”), and things begin to look up.
Lilly’s watercolor-and-ink drawings are as vividly comic and emotionally astute as her writing; just when readers think there are no more ways for Geraldine to contort her long neck, this highly promising talent comes up with something new.
Examples of genre fiction book reviews
Karlyn P reviews Nora Roberts’ Dark Witch , a paranormal romance novel , on Goodreads:
4 stars. Great world-building, weak romance, but still worth the read.
I hesitate to describe this book as a 'romance' novel simply because the book spent little time actually exploring the romance between Iona and Boyle. Sure, there IS a romance in this novel. Sprinkled throughout the book are a few scenes where Iona and Boyle meet, chat, wink at each, flirt some more, sleep together, have a misunderstanding, make up, and then profess their undying love. Very formulaic stuff, and all woven around the more important parts of this book.
The meat of this book is far more focused on the story of the Dark witch and her magically-gifted descendants living in Ireland. Despite being weak on the romance, I really enjoyed it. I think the book is probably better for it, because the romance itself was pretty lackluster stuff.
I absolutely plan to stick with this series as I enjoyed the world building, loved the Ireland setting, and was intrigued by all of the secondary characters. However, If you read Nora Roberts strictly for the romance scenes, this one might disappoint. But if you enjoy a solid background story with some dark magic and prophesies, you might enjoy it as much as I did.
I listened to this one on audio, and felt the narration was excellent.
Emily May reviews R.F. Kuang’s The Poppy Wars , an epic fantasy novel , on Goodreads:
“But I warn you, little warrior. The price of power is pain.”
Holy hell, what did I just read??
➽ A fantasy military school
➽ A rich world based on modern Chinese history
➽ Shamans and gods
➽ Detailed characterization leading to unforgettable characters
➽ Adorable, opium-smoking mentors
That's a basic list, but this book is all of that and SO MUCH MORE. I know 100% that The Poppy War will be one of my best reads of 2018.
Isn't it just so great when you find one of those books that completely drags you in, makes you fall in love with the characters, and demands that you sit on the edge of your seat for every horrific, nail-biting moment of it? This is one of those books for me. And I must issue a serious content warning: this book explores some very dark themes. Proceed with caution (or not at all) if you are particularly sensitive to scenes of war, drug use and addiction, genocide, racism, sexism, ableism, self-harm, torture, and rape (off-page but extremely horrific).
Because, despite the fairly innocuous first 200 pages, the title speaks the truth: this is a book about war. All of its horrors and atrocities. It is not sugar-coated, and it is often graphic. The "poppy" aspect refers to opium, which is a big part of this book. It is a fantasy, but the book draws inspiration from the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Rape of Nanking.
Crime Fiction Lover reviews Jessica Barry’s Freefall , a crime novel:
In some crime novels, the wrongdoing hits you between the eyes from page one. With others it’s a more subtle process, and that’s OK too. So where does Freefall fit into the sliding scale?
In truth, it’s not clear. This is a novel with a thrilling concept at its core. A woman survives plane crash, then runs for her life. However, it is the subtleties at play that will draw you in like a spider beckoning to an unwitting fly.
Like the heroine in Sharon Bolton’s Dead Woman Walking, Allison is lucky to be alive. She was the only passenger in a private plane, belonging to her fiancé, Ben, who was piloting the expensive aircraft, when it came down in woodlands in the Colorado Rockies. Ally is also the only survivor, but rather than sitting back and waiting for rescue, she is soon pulling together items that may help her survive a little longer – first aid kit, energy bars, warm clothes, trainers – before fleeing the scene. If you’re hearing the faint sound of alarm bells ringing, get used to it. There’s much, much more to learn about Ally before this tale is over.
Kirkus Reviews reviews Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One , a science-fiction novel :
Video-game players embrace the quest of a lifetime in a virtual world; screenwriter Cline’s first novel is old wine in new bottles.
The real world, in 2045, is the usual dystopian horror story. So who can blame Wade, our narrator, if he spends most of his time in a virtual world? The 18-year-old, orphaned at 11, has no friends in his vertical trailer park in Oklahoma City, while the OASIS has captivating bells and whistles, and it’s free. Its creator, the legendary billionaire James Halliday, left a curious will. He had devised an elaborate online game, a hunt for a hidden Easter egg. The finder would inherit his estate. Old-fashioned riddles lead to three keys and three gates. Wade, or rather his avatar Parzival, is the first gunter (egg-hunter) to win the Copper Key, first of three.
Halliday was obsessed with the pop culture of the 1980s, primarily the arcade games, so the novel is as much retro as futurist. Parzival’s great strength is that he has absorbed all Halliday’s obsessions; he knows by heart three essential movies, crossing the line from geek to freak. His most formidable competitors are the Sixers, contract gunters working for the evil conglomerate IOI, whose goal is to acquire the OASIS. Cline’s narrative is straightforward but loaded with exposition. It takes a while to reach a scene that crackles with excitement: the meeting between Parzival (now world famous as the lead contender) and Sorrento, the head of IOI. The latter tries to recruit Parzival; when he fails, he issues and executes a death threat. Wade’s trailer is demolished, his relatives killed; luckily Wade was not at home. Too bad this is the dramatic high point. Parzival threads his way between more ’80s games and movies to gain the other keys; it’s clever but not exciting. Even a romance with another avatar and the ultimate “epic throwdown” fail to stir the blood.
Too much puzzle-solving, not enough suspense.
Book review examples for non-fiction books
Nonfiction books are generally written to inform readers about a certain topic. As such, the focus of a nonfiction book review will be on the clarity and effectiveness of this communication . In carrying this out, a book review may analyze the author’s source materials and assess the thesis in order to determine whether or not the book meets expectations.
Again, we’ve included abbreviated versions of long reviews here, so feel free to click on the link to read the entire piece!
The Washington Post reviews David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon :
The arc of David Grann’s career reminds one of a software whiz-kid or a latest-thing talk-show host — certainly not an investigative reporter, even if he is one of the best in the business. The newly released movie of his first book, “The Lost City of Z,” is generating all kinds of Oscar talk, and now comes the release of his second book, “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI,” the film rights to which have already been sold for $5 million in what one industry journal called the “biggest and wildest book rights auction in memory.”
Grann deserves the attention. He’s canny about the stories he chases, he’s willing to go anywhere to chase them, and he’s a maestro in his ability to parcel out information at just the right clip: a hint here, a shading of meaning there, a smartly paced buildup of multiple possibilities followed by an inevitable reversal of readerly expectations or, in some cases, by a thrilling and dislocating pull of the entire narrative rug.
All of these strengths are on display in “Killers of the Flower Moon.” Around the turn of the 20th century, oil was discovered underneath Osage lands in the Oklahoma Territory, lands that were soon to become part of the state of Oklahoma. Through foresight and legal maneuvering, the Osage found a way to permanently attach that oil to themselves and shield it from the prying hands of white interlopers; this mechanism was known as “headrights,” which forbade the outright sale of oil rights and granted each full member of the tribe — and, supposedly, no one else — a share in the proceeds from any lease arrangement. For a while, the fail-safes did their job, and the Osage got rich — diamond-ring and chauffeured-car and imported-French-fashion rich — following which quite a large group of white men started to work like devils to separate the Osage from their money. And soon enough, and predictably enough, this work involved murder. Here in Jazz Age America’s most isolated of locales, dozens or even hundreds of Osage in possession of great fortunes — and of the potential for even greater fortunes in the future — were dispatched by poison, by gunshot and by dynamite. […]
Stacked Books reviews Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers :
I’ve heard a lot of great things about Malcolm Gladwell’s writing. Friends and co-workers tell me that his subjects are interesting and his writing style is easy to follow without talking down to the reader. I wasn’t disappointed with Outliers. In it, Gladwell tackles the subject of success – how people obtain it and what contributes to extraordinary success as opposed to everyday success.
The thesis – that our success depends much more on circumstances out of our control than any effort we put forth – isn’t exactly revolutionary. Most of us know it to be true. However, I don’t think I’m lying when I say that most of us also believe that we if we just try that much harder and develop our talent that much further, it will be enough to become wildly successful, despite bad or just mediocre beginnings. Not so, says Gladwell.
Most of the evidence Gladwell gives us is anecdotal, which is my favorite kind to read. I can’t really speak to how scientifically valid it is, but it sure makes for engrossing listening. For example, did you know that successful hockey players are almost all born in January, February, or March? Kids born during these months are older than the others kids when they start playing in the youth leagues, which means they’re already better at the game (because they’re bigger). Thus, they get more play time, which means their skill increases at a faster rate, and it compounds as time goes by. Within a few years, they’re much, much better than the kids born just a few months later in the year. Basically, these kids’ birthdates are a huge factor in their success as adults – and it’s nothing they can do anything about. If anyone could make hockey interesting to a Texan who only grudgingly admits the sport even exists, it’s Gladwell. […]
Quill and Quire reviews Rick Prashaw’s Soar, Adam, Soar :
Ten years ago, I read a book called Almost Perfect. The young-adult novel by Brian Katcher won some awards and was held up as a powerful, nuanced portrayal of a young trans person. But the reality did not live up to the book’s billing. Instead, it turned out to be a one-dimensional and highly fetishized portrait of a trans person’s life, one that was nevertheless repeatedly dubbed “realistic” and “affecting” by non-transgender readers possessing only a vague, mass-market understanding of trans experiences.
In the intervening decade, trans narratives have emerged further into the literary spotlight, but those authored by trans people ourselves – and by trans men in particular – have seemed to fall under the shadow of cisgender sensationalized imaginings. Two current Canadian releases – Soar, Adam, Soar and This One Looks Like a Boy – provide a pointed object lesson into why trans-authored work about transgender experiences remains critical.
To be fair, Soar, Adam, Soar isn’t just a story about a trans man. It’s also a story about epilepsy, the medical establishment, and coming of age as seen through a grieving father’s eyes. Adam, Prashaw’s trans son, died unexpectedly at age 22. Woven through the elder Prashaw’s narrative are excerpts from Adam’s social media posts, giving us glimpses into the young man’s interior life as he traverses his late teens and early 20s. […]
Book Geeks reviews Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love :
WRITING STYLE: 3.5/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3.5/5
“Eat Pray Love” is so popular that it is almost impossible to not read it. Having felt ashamed many times on my not having read this book, I quietly ordered the book (before I saw the movie) from amazon.in and sat down to read it. I don’t remember what I expected it to be – maybe more like a chick lit thing but it turned out quite different. The book is a real story and is a short journal from the time when its writer went travelling to three different countries in pursuit of three different things – Italy (Pleasure), India (Spirituality), Bali (Balance) and this is what corresponds to the book’s name – EAT (in Italy), PRAY (in India) and LOVE (in Bali, Indonesia). These are also the three Is – ITALY, INDIA, INDONESIA.
Though she had everything a middle-aged American woman can aspire for – MONEY, CAREER, FRIENDS, HUSBAND; Elizabeth was not happy in her life, she wasn’t happy in her marriage. Having suffered a terrible divorce and terrible breakup soon after, Elizabeth was shattered. She didn’t know where to go and what to do – all she knew was that she wanted to run away. So she set out on a weird adventure – she will go to three countries in a year and see if she can find out what she was looking for in life. This book is about that life changing journey that she takes for one whole year. […]
Emily May reviews Michelle Obama’s Becoming on Goodreads:
Look, I'm not a happy crier. I might cry at songs about leaving and missing someone; I might cry at books where things don't work out; I might cry at movies where someone dies. I've just never really understood why people get all choked up over happy, inspirational things. But Michelle Obama's kindness and empathy changed that. This book had me in tears for all the right reasons.
This is not really a book about politics, though political experiences obviously do come into it. It's a shame that some will dismiss this book because of a difference in political opinion, when it is really about a woman's life. About growing up poor and black on the South Side of Chicago; about getting married and struggling to maintain that marriage; about motherhood; about being thrown into an amazing and terrifying position.
I hate words like "inspirational" because they've become so overdone and cheesy, but I just have to say it-- Michelle Obama is an inspiration. I had the privilege of seeing her speak at The Forum in Inglewood, and she is one of the warmest, funniest, smartest, down-to-earth people I have ever seen in this world.
And yes, I know we present what we want the world to see, but I truly do think it's genuine. I think she is someone who really cares about people - especially kids - and wants to give them better lives and opportunities.
She's obviously intelligent, but she also doesn't gussy up her words. She talks straight, with an openness and honesty rarely seen. She's been one of the most powerful women in the world, she's been a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School, she's had her own successful career, and yet she has remained throughout that same girl - Michelle Robinson - from a working class family in Chicago.
I don't think there's anyone who wouldn't benefit from reading this book.
Hopefully, this post has given you a better idea of how to write a book review. You might be wondering how to put all of this knowledge into action now! Many book reviewers start out by setting up a book blog. If you don’t have time to research the intricacies of HTML, check out Reedsy Discovery — where you can read indie books for free and review them without going through the hassle of creating a blog. To register as a book reviewer , go here .
And if you’d like to see even more book review examples, simply go to this directory of book review blogs and click on any one of them to see a wealth of good book reviews. Beyond that, it's up to you to pick up a book and pen — and start reviewing!
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With the re-energized efforts of the BLM movement inspiring us to shine a light on Black voices, here are 70 books by Black authors that you need on your TBR, from 20th century classics to 2020 bestsellers.
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The 10 Best Book Reviews of 2020
Adam morgan picks parul sehgal on raven leilani, merve emre on lewis carroll, and more.
The pandemic and the birth of my second daughter prevented me from reading most of the books I wanted to in 2020. But I was able to read vicariously through book critics, whose writing was a true source of comfort and escape for me this year. I’ve long told my students that criticism is literature—a genre of nonfiction that can and should be as insightful, experimental, and compelling as the art it grapples with—and the following critics have beautifully proven my point. The word “best” is always a misnomer, but these are my personal favorite book reviews of 2020.
Nate Marshall on Barack Obama’s A Promised Land ( Chicago Tribune )
A book review rarely leads to a segment on The 11th Hour with Brian Williams , but that’s what happened to Nate Marshall last month. I love how he combines a traditional review with a personal essay—a hybrid form that has become my favorite subgenre of criticism.
“The presidential memoir so often falls flat because it works against the strengths of the memoir form. Rather than take a slice of one’s life to lay bare and come to a revelation about the self or the world, the presidential memoir seeks to take the sum of a life to defend one’s actions. These sorts of memoirs are an attempt maybe not to rewrite history, but to situate history in the most rosy frame. It is by nature defensive and in this book, we see Obama’s primary defensive tool, his prodigious mind and proclivity toward over-considering every detail.”
Merve Emre on Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland ( The Point )
I’m a huge fan of writing about books that weren’t just published in the last 10 seconds. And speaking of that hybrid form above, Merve Emre is one of its finest practitioners. This piece made me laugh out loud and changed the way I think about Lewis Carroll.
“I lie awake at night and concentrate on Alice, on why my children have fixated on this book at this particular moment. Part of it must be that I have told them it ‘takes place’ in Oxford, and now Oxford—or more specifically, the college whose grounds grow into our garden—marks the physical limits of their world. Now that we can no longer move about freely, no longer go to new places to see new things, we are trying to find ways to estrange the places and objects that are already familiar to us.”
Parul Sehgal on Raven Leilani’s Luster ( The New York Times Book Review )
Once again, Sehgal remains the best lede writer in the business. I challenge you to read the opening of any Sehgal review and stop there.
“You may know of the hemline theory—the idea that skirt lengths fluctuate with the stock market, rising in boom times and growing longer in recessions. Perhaps publishing has a parallel; call it the blurb theory. The more strained our circumstances, the more manic the publicity machine, the more breathless and orotund the advance praise. Blurbers (and critics) speak with a reverent quiver of this moment, anointing every other book its guide, every second writer its essential voice.”
Constance Grady on Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall ( Vox )
Restoring the legacies of ill-forgotten books is one of our duties as critics. Grady’s take on “the least famous sister in a family of celebrated geniuses” makes a good case for Wildfell Hall’ s place alongside Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre in the Romantic canon.
“[T]he heart of this book is a portrait of a woman surviving and flourishing after abuse, and in that, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall feels unnervingly modern. It is fresh, shocking, and wholly new today, 200 years after the birth of its author.”
Ismail Muhammad on Anna Wiener’s Uncanny Valley ( The Atlantic )
Muhammad is a philosophical critic, so it’s always fun to see him tackle a book with big ideas. Here, he makes an enlightened connection between Wiener’s Silicon Valley memoir and Michael Lewis’s 1989 Wall Street exposé, Liar’s Poker.
“Like Lewis, Wiener found ‘a way out of unhappiness’ by writing her own gimlet-eyed generational portrait that doubles as a cautionary tale of systemic dysfunction. But if her chronicle acquires anything like the must-read status that Lewis’s antic tale of a Princeton art-history major’s stint at Salomon Brothers did, it will be for a different reason. For all her caustic insight and droll portraiture, Wiener is on an earnest quest likely to resonate with a public that has been sleepwalking through tech’s gradual reshaping of society.”
Hermione Hoby on Mieko Kawakami’s Breasts and Eggs ( 4 Columns )
Hoby’s thousand-word review is a great example of a critic reading beyond the book to place it in context.
“When Mieko Kawakami’s Breasts and Eggs was first published in 2008, the then-governor of Tokyo, the ultraconservative Shintaro Ishihara, deemed the novel ‘unpleasant and intolerable.’ I wonder what he objected to? Perhaps he wasn’t into a scene in which the narrator, a struggling writer called Natsuko, pushes a few fingers into her vagina in a spirit of dejected exploration: ‘I . . . tried being rough and being gentle. Nothing worked.’”
Taylor Moore on C Pam Zhang’s How Much Of These Hills Is Gold ( The A.V. Club )
Describing Zhang’s wildly imaginative debut novel is hard, but Moore manages to convey the book’s shape and texture in less than 800 words, along with some critical analysis.
“Despite some characteristics endemic to Wild West narratives (buzzards circling prey, saloons filled with seedy strangers), the world of How Much Of These Hills Is Gold feels wholly original, and Zhang imbues its wide expanse with magical realism. According to local lore, tigers lurk in the shadows, despite having died out ‘decades ago’ with the buffalo. There also exists a profound sense of loss for an exploited land, ‘stripped of its gold, its rivers, its buffalo, its Indians, its tigers, its jackals, its birds and its green and its living.’”
Grace Ebert on Paul Christman’s Midwest Futures ( Chicago Review of Books )
I love how Ebert brings her lived experience as a Midwesterner into this review of Christman’s essay collection. (Disclosure: I founded the Chicago Review of Books five years ago, but handed over the keys in July 2019.)
“I have a deep and genuine love for Wisconsin, for rural supper clubs that always offer a choice between chicken soup or an iceberg lettuce salad, and for driving back, country roads that seemingly are endless. This love, though, is conflicting. How can I sing along to Waylon Jennings, Tanya Tucker, and Merle Haggard knowing that my current political views are in complete opposition to the lyrics I croon with a twang in my voice?”
Michael Schaub on Bryan Washington’s Memorial ( NPR )
How do you review a book you fall in love with? It’s one of the most challenging assignments a critic can tackle. But Schaub is a pro; he falls in love with a few books every year.
“Washington is an enormously gifted author, and his writing—spare, unadorned, but beautiful—reads like the work of a writer who’s been working for decades, not one who has yet to turn 30. Just like Lot, Memorial is a quietly stunning book, a masterpiece that asks us to reflect on what we owe to the people who enter our lives.”
Mesha Maren on Fernanda Melchor’s Hurricane Season ( Southern Review of Books )
Maren opens with an irresistible comparison between Melchor’s irreverent novel and medieval surrealist art. (Another Disclosure: I founded the Southern Review of Books in early 2020.)
“Have you ever wondered what internal monologue might accompany the characters in a Hieronymus Bosch painting? What are the couple copulating upside down in the middle of that pond thinking? Or the man with flowers sprouting from his ass? Or the poor fellow being killed by a fire-breathing creature which is itself impaled upon a knife? I would venture to guess that their voices would sound something like the writing of Mexican novelist Fernanda Melchor.”
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Book Review Writing Examples
Examples: learn from the efforts of others.
Learning how to write strong reviews takes time and not a little effort. Reading the reviews others have done can help you get a feel for the flow and flavor of reviews.
If I Never Forever Endeavor Review by Hayden, age 4, Southeast Michigan Mensa
This book was about a bird who didn't yet know how to fly.
The bird has to decide if it will try to fly, but it was not sure if it wants to. The bird thought, "If I never forever endeavor" then I won't ever learn. On one wing, he worries he might fail and on the other wing he thinks of how he may succeed. He worries that if he tries, he may get lost in the world. That makes him want to stay in his nest where he's safe.
I think this book would help other children to learn that trying new things can be scary, but sometimes when we try, we can find things that make us happy too. And this book will help others know that mistakes are okay and part of learning.
My favorite part is that the bird tried and learned that she could fly. I also liked that I read this book because it gave me a chance to talk to mom about making mistakes and how I don't like making them. Then I learned they are good and part of learning.
Boys and girls who are 3 to 8 years old would like this book because it teaches about trying a new thing and how it's important to get past being scared so you can learn new things.
I give the book 5 stars since I think it's important for other children to learn about courage.
Flesh & Blood So Cheap Review by Umar B., age 8, Central New Jersy Mensa
I liked this book. People who are interested in national disasters and US history as well as immigration will most probably be interested in reading this book.
Readers can gain knowledge of what it was like to work in New York City in the early 1900s. One of the things that was especially interesting was that there were no safety laws at work. Also, there was a big contrast between the rich and the poor. Some people may not like this book because it is very depressing, but it is an important event in history to remember.
This book was very well written. It has black and white photos along with descriptions of the photos. These photos give us a better idea of what people's lives were like. This book is suitable for 9-20 year olds.
I give this book 5 stars.
Galaxy Zach: Journey to Juno Review by Young Mensan Connor C., age 6, Boston Mensa
Journey To Juno is the second book of the Galaxy Zack series. It is just as good as the first one. It's awesome!
Zack joins the Sprockets Academy Explorers Club at school. They fly on a special trip to Juno, a new planet no one has ever visited. Zack gets paired up with Seth, the class bully, and that's dreadful but Zack is excited when he finds a huge galaxy gemmite. A gemmite that large had not been found in 100 years! Kids will love this book!
Boys and girls will both like it. It's an easy chapter book with pictures on every page. I love the illustrations. I think ages 6-8 would like this but younger kids would like the story being read to them.
My favorite parts are the galactic blast game (it is similar to baseball except there are robots playing), recess at Zack's school where everything is 3-D holographic images, the rainbow river in a crystal cave on Juno, and the galaxy gemmite that Zack finds on Juno. I also loved when a life-size holographic image of his Earth friend appears in Zack's room because he calls him on a hyperphone. I give this book one hundred stars! There is a "to be continued" at the end so you have to read the next book see what's in store. I can't wait to find out what happens!!!
I Capture the Castle Review by Lauren W., age 17, Mensa in Georgia
Dodie Smith's novel I Capture the Castle is a journey through the mind of a young writer as she attempts to chronicle her daily life. Seventeen-year-old Cassandra Mortmain has recently learned to speed-write, and she decides to work on her writing skills by describing the actions and conversations of those around her.
Cassandra lives in a fourteenth-century English castle with an interesting cast of characters: her beautiful older sister, Rose; her rather unsociable author father and his second wife, artist-model Topaz; Stephen, the garden boy; a cat and a bull terrier; and sometimes her brother Thomas when he is home from school. One fateful day they make the acquaintance of the Cotton family, including the two sons, and a web of tangled relationships ensues.
While I definitely recommend this book to other readers, I would recommend it to older teenagers, mainly because it will resonate better with them. The writing is tame enough that younger teens could also read it, but most of the characters are adults or on the verge of adulthood. Older readers would take the most from it since they can not only relate, but they may also better pick up on and appreciate Cassandra's sometimes subtle humor.
Over the course of the novel, Cassandra undergoes a definite transformation from child to mature young adult, even though it's only over the course of several months. I love that I could see into her mindset and read exactly what she was feeling when she thought out situations. Her thoughts flowed well and moved the book along very quickly.
Cassandra's narrative voice is wonderful. She is serious at times, but also very witty, which makes for an engaging read. It feels absolutely real, as though I'm reading someone's actual journal. Sometimes I forget that I am reading a story and not a real-life account. Her emotions and the dialogue are so genuine, and they are spot-on for a seventeen-year-old girl in her situation.
Cassandra has many wonderful insights on life, on topics ranging from writing to faith to matters of the heart. I personally have had some of the same thoughts as Cassandra, except Ms. Smith was able to put them into words.
Capture the Castle should be essential reading for aspiring writers, those looking for historical fiction or romance, or anyone who loves reading amazing classic books. Dodie Smith is an exceptional writer, and I Capture the Castle is a book that will never become obsolete.
Frankenstein's Cat Review by Zander H., age 12, Mid-America Mensa
I appreciated Frankenstein's Cat for its fascinating explanation about the often baffling subject of bioengineering and its sister sciences. Emily Anthes explains the many sides of today's modern technology, such as gene modification, cloning, pharmaceutical products (from the farm), prosthesis, animal tag and tracking and gene cryogenics. This book provides a well-rounded summary of these complicated sciences without being boring or simply factual. Her real world examples take us on a journey from the farm, to the pet store and then from the pharmacy to the frozen arc.
Have you ever wondered if the neighborhood cat is spying on you? Read about Operation Acoustic Kitty and find out if this feline fantasy fiction or fact. Do you think bugs are creepy? What about a zombified cyborg beetle? Is Fido so special that you want two of him? Money can buy you an almost exact copy of your pooch BUT don't expect the same personality. Emily Anthes makes you crave more information. She makes you want to know the future of Earth's flora and fauna, as well as humanity itself.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who desires a guide to the future of biological science and technology. Frankenstein's Cat is best read by the light of a glow-in-the-dark fish, while cuddling your favorite cloned dog and drinking a glass of genetically modified milk.
About Marsupials Review by Connor C., age 6, Boston Mensa
About Marsupials is the title so the book is about...marsupials, of course. It's non-fiction. I really think everyone would like the book. I think someone who likes animals would especially like to read it.
The glossary of facts in the back of About Marsupials is the most useful part. I thought the most interesting parts were that some marsupials have their pouch at their back legs and one marsupial, the Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby, is very small but can jump 13 feet wide!
Kids in the 4-8 age range would like this book. Even though it's not a story book, 4 year olds would like the few words on each page and they would love the beautiful pictures. But older kids would like it because of all the facts in the back of the book. There's a lot of information for each animal. I think boys and girls (and parents) would enjoy reading it. This book is very interesting. I give it 4 stars.
Mapping the World Review by Umar A., age 10, Central New Jersey Mensa
Every day, people around the world use maps. Whether it is an airplane pilot or businessman, housewife or museum group, maps have always and will continue to provide useful information for all.
Mapping the World talks about the uses of maps, as well as how to differentiate between the type of map projection and type of map.
In this series, we travel to the past and learn about historical mapmakers, from Claudius Ptolemy (who stated the idea that the Earth is at the center of the universe) to Gerardus Mercator (who created one of the most widely used map projections) and more. This series goes into tremendous detail on the cartographer's life and maps. We then journey to the present era to learn about map projections and the diverse types of maps used today. You might ask, "What is the difference between the two? They sound the same to me." No map projection is perfect, because you cannot really flatten a sphere into a rectangle. An uncolored projection could be used in many ways. We could use it for population concentration, highways, land elevation, and so many other things!
For example, we could make a topographic map of the U.S., which shows land elevation. We could make it a colorful map that shows the amount of pollution in different areas, or it could be a population map, or it could even be a map that shows the 50 states, their capitals and borders! Our last step in this amazing excursion is the near future, where we see some hypothetical solutions as to what maps will be used for. Currently, we are working on better virtual map technology.
Now, scientists have been able to put maps on phones. Back in the early 1900s, people had to lug a lot of maps around to find your way from place to place, or just keep asking for directions. Now, all the information is on a phone or global positioning system (GPS). It is amazing how much maps have changed technology and the world in this century.
The Mapping the World 8-book set goes into amazing levels of detail. It is a long read, but it gives an immense range and amount of information that you would not find in any other book or series on maps. The flowing way the chapters and books are organized makes it easy to link passages from different books in this series together. Mapping the World is a treasure box, filled with the seeds of cartography. Collect and plant them, and you soon will have the fruits of cartography, beneficial to those who want to be cartographers. Use this series to the utmost, then the fruits of mapping will be sweet for all who endeavor to succeed in cartography.
This series of lessons was designed to meet the needs of gifted children for extension beyond the standard curriculum with the greatest ease of use for the educator. The lessons may be given to the students for individual self-guided work, or they may be taught in a classroom or a home-school setting. Assessment strategies and rubrics are included at the end of each section. The rubrics often include a column for "scholar points," which are invitations for students to extend their efforts beyond that which is required, incorporating creativity or higher level technical skills.
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The Most-Read Book Reviews of 2017
We review more than 8,000 books per year, and these were the 10 most-read reviews of books published in 2017.
10. Into the Water
Jules Abbott, the heroine of bestseller Hawkins’s twisty second psychological thriller, vowed never to return to the sleepy English town of Beckford after an incident when she was a teenager drove a wedge between her and her older sister, Nel. But now Nel, a writer and photographer, is the latest in a long string of women found dead in a part of the local river known as the Drowning Pool. As Nel put it, “Beckford is not a suicide spot. Beckford is a place to get rid of troublesome women.” Before Nel’s death, the best friend of her surly 15-year-old daughter, Lena, drowned herself, an act that had a profound effect on both Nel and Lena. Beckford history is dripping with women who’ve thrown themselves—or been pushed?—off the cliffs into the Drowning Pool, and everyone—from the police detective, plagued by his own demons, working the case to the new cop in town with something to prove—knows more than they’re letting on. Hawkins ( The Girl on the Train ) may be juggling a few too many story lines for comfort, but the payoff packs a satisfying punch.
9. We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy
National Book Award-winner Coates ( Between the World and Me ) collects eight essays originally published in the Atlantic between 2008 and 2016, marking roughly the early optimism of Barack Obama's presidency and the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. The selection includes blockbusters like "The Case for Reparations" and "The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration," which helped to establish Coates as one of the leading writers on race in America, as well as lesser-known pieces such as his profile of Bill Cosby (written in late 2008, before the reemergence of rape allegations against Cosby) and a piece on Michelle Obama before she became first lady. The essays are prefaced with new introductions that trace the articles from conception to publication and beyond. With hindsight, Coates examines the roots of his ideas ("Had I been wrong?" he writes, questioning his initial optimism about the Obama Administration) and moments of personal history that relay the influence of hip-hop, the books he read, and the blog he maintained on his writing. Though the essays are about a particular period, Coates's themes reflect broader social and political phenomena. It's this timeless timeliness--reminiscent of the work of George Orwell and James Baldwin--that makes Coates worth reading again and again.
8. Unstoppable: My Life So Far
In this insightful memoir, 30-year-old tennis star Sharapova details her life from her earliest memories to the present day. Her father, Yuri, whisked six-year-old Maria from Russia to Florida because of her tennis skills, at tennis star Martina Navratilova’s suggestion: “Your daughter can play; you need to get her out of the country to a place where she can develop her game.” What ensued for Maria was a life lived on tennis courts—either playing in tournaments or toiling in academies—partially funded by whatever work Yuri could find. Maria excelled quickly, though at the cost of a typical childhood. After winning Wimbledon at 17, she entered another isolated sphere, one of celebrity and its trappings. “In short,” she writes, “winning fucks you up.” She is similarly blunt when discussing how to lose and her rivalry with Serena Williams, whom Sharapova discovered bawling after Sharapova beat her at Wimbledon in 2004 (“I think she hated me for seeing her at her lowest moment”). Sharapova’s eloquent self-awareness provides a rare glimpse into the disorienting push and pull of a famous athlete’s life. “I know you want us to love this game—us loving it makes it more fun to watch,” she writes. “But we don’t love it. And we don’t hate it. It just is, and always has been.”
Flying the friendly skies in the 1970s was definitely an adventure, what with all those skyjackings, as Riley demonstrates in his first novel. Suzy Whitman is a stew working out of Sela del Mar, a coastal community near L.A. The year is 1972, and Suzy, upon graduation from Vassar, has impulsively followed in the footsteps of her older sister, Grace, a stewardess with Grand Pacific Airlines whose husband, Mike, is a magazine writer who wants to be the next Tom Wolfe. Riley employs a Wolfean methodology in bringing to life the stoner vibe of the time through curated period details, marred by some anachronisms. While skateboarding on the 4th of July, Suzy meets Billy Zar, a local weed dealer, who tricks her into using her position with the airline to smuggle harder stuff for him. A family health crisis forces Suzy into a life of crime that, in the end, leaves her with only one desperate way out. Throw in Jim Jones’s nascent religious cult and a backstory involving Scientology, and the result is an overstuffed novel that reads like the fictional equivalent of Brendan I. Koerner’s study of the ’70s skyjacking phenomenon, The Skies Belong to Us .
A clipped, funny, painfully honest narrative voice lights up Wang’s debut novel about a Chinese-American graduate student who finds the scientific method inadequate for understanding her parents, her boyfriend, or herself. The optimist sees the glass as half-full, the pessimist half-empty, explains the narrator, while a chemist sees it as half-liquid, half-gaseous, probably poisonous. At 27, this aspiring chemist has reached a point in her research at which, seeing no progress, her thesis advisor suggests changing topics. Instead, she has a breakdown in the lab, smashing beakers and shouting until security guards are called. Her romantic relationship also reaches a turning point when her boyfriend takes a job out of state. The thought of relocation elicits the narrator’s unhappy memories of her family’s emigration from Shanghai to Detroit when she was five: her father learned English, worked hard, became an engineer, but her mother, a pharmacist in China, never quite adapted. Caught between parents, languages, and cultures, the narrator devotes herself to academic study. Only after her best friend has a baby does she begin to comprehend love, the one power source, according to Einstein, man has never mastered. Wang offers a unique blend of scientific observations, Chinese proverbs, and American movie references. In spare prose, characters remain unnamed, except for boyfriend Eric and the baby, nicknamed “Destroyer.” Descriptions of the baby’s effect on adults and adults’ effect on a dog demonstrate Wang’s gift for perspective—the dog’s, the chemist’s, the immigrant parents, and, most intimately, their bright, quirky, conflicted daughter.
5. Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter
Dilbert cartoonist Adams, with his usual adroit touch and sense of humor, offers an enjoyably provocative guide to the art of persuasion. In 2016, Adams predicted that Donald Trump would win the presidency when few others considered him a serious contender. What did Adams see that experts missed? Declaring himself a “lifelong student” of the art of persuasion, Adams offers sharp insights into how Trump persuades people, keeps the spotlight on himself and the topics of his choice, and used these skills to talk his way into the White House. Using examples from Trump’s campaign, Adams outlines the tools and methods he sees as typical of master persuaders. He discusses why it’s effective to create a visual image such as the “big, beautiful wall,” which captured voters’ attention with a simple solution to a complex problem. To improve a social or business reputation, Adams writes, link to a strong “brand,” just as Trump did by borrowing his campaign slogan from Ronald Reagan’s successful 1980 campaign. In addition to a highly readable—and persuasive—guide to presenting ideas effectively, Adams has also written an insightful study of how Trump bested seasoned politicians.
4. The Incest Diary
An anonymous author reveals a lifetime of secrets in this unforgettable memoir as she tells the story of her relationship with her father, who raped her over the course of her childhood, until the author was 21. The result is one of the most frank and cathartic depictions of child abuse ever written. The author recalls abusing her Barbie dolls, her sense of being the “other woman” to her own mother, and the mingling of violence with desire, a tendency so crucial to the author’s development that it continues to govern her adult relationships. This is not a story of things getting better, but an unflinching and staggeringly artful portrait of a shattered life. “Sex with my father made me an orphan,” she writes, and the feeling is underscored, pages later, with a fact: “He threatened to kill himself if I told anyone.” Works of art by Fernando Botero and Frida Kahlo are invoked throughout, as are the fairy tales in which the author searches for analogues to explain her condition. But by the end of the book, she has articulated an experience that for many victims remains unspeakable.
3. Before We Were Yours
Wingate’s tightly written latest (after 2015’s The Sea Keeper’s Daughters ) follows the interwoven story lines of Avery Stafford, a lawyer from a prominent South Carolina family, and Rill Foss, the eldest of five children who were taken from their parents’ boat by an unscrupulous children’s home in the 1930s. With her father’s health ailing, duty-driven Avery is back in present-day Aiken, S.C., to look after him. She’s being groomed to step into his senate seat and is engaged to her childhood friend, Elliot, though not particularly excited about either. Though her dad is a virtuous man, his political enemies hope to spin the fact that the family just checked his mother, Judy, into an upscale nursing home while other elder facilities in the state suffer. At an event, Avery encounters elderly May Crandall and becomes fascinated by a photo in her room and a possible connection to Judy. While following a trail that Judy left behind, Avery joins forces with single dad Trent Turner, with whom she feels a spark. This story line is seamlessly interwoven with that of the abuse and separation that the Foss siblings suffer at the hands of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, a real-life orphanage that profited from essentially kidnapping children from poor families and placing them with prominent people. Twelve-year-old Rill bears the guilt of not having been able to protect her siblings while also trying her best to get them home. Wingate is a compelling storyteller, steeping her narrative with a forward momentum that keeps the reader as engaged and curious as Avery in her quest. The feel-good ending can be seen from miles away, but does nothing to detract from this fantastic novel.
2. Manhattan Beach
Pulitzer-winner Egan's splendid novel begins in 1934 Brooklyn as Eddie Kerrigan struggles to support his wife and two daughters, one of whom is severely disabled. He finds work as a bagman, ferrying bribes for a corrupt union official. One day he brings his healthy daughter, Anna, to the Manhattan Beach home of Dexter Styles, a nightclub owner with underworld partners. The 11-year-old can't comprehend their business, but she senses that the two men have become "friends." By the time Anna is 19, Eddie has inexplicably vanished and America is in the Second World War. Working a dull job inspecting ship parts at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, Anna seizes the opportunity to become the first female civilian diver there. Around the same time, a second encounter with Dexter Styles raises hopes that he can help untangle the mysteries of her father's disappearance. As the stories eddy through time, Egan makes haunting use of shore and water motifs to balance dense period detail and explore the liminal spaces–between strength and weakness, depth and surface, past and future, life and death–through which her protagonists move. More straightforwardly narrated than some of Egan's earlier work, including the celebrated A Visit from the Goon Squad , the novel is tremendously assured and rich, moving from depictions of violence and crime to deep tenderness. The book's emotional power once again demonstrates Egan's extraordinary gifts.
1. What to Do About the Solomons
Respected leader at his kibbutz, founder of a thriving construction business, 75-year-old patriarch Yakov Solomon is fed up with his children in Ball’s debut novel about a prosperous, beleaguered Israeli family. Yakov no longer speaks to eldest son Ziv, who lives in Singapore with another man; middle son Dror suffers from severe sibling envy; rich and successful Marc’s California investment firm faces criminal investigation; daughter Keren’s husband, Guy, cannot control his artistic impulses; and daughter Shira, whose acting career peaked with a bit part in a Harry Potter movie, leaves her 11-year-old son, Joseph, home alone while she visits Hollywood. Money can’t solve their problems, and medication—prescribed or illegal—only makes them worse. Marc returns to the kibbutz, his wife stoned, his childhood sweetheart suicidal, his future uncertain, while Joseph assists his half-brother’s attempt to run away from army service. Clearly, the Solomons have come a long way from the ideals of the kibbutz in early years. Ball switches points of view for a mosaic of family members and associates in crisis and adrift. Her terse, sharp-edged prose captures settings ranging from an American jail where highest bail is king to a French military post where they haven’t won a war since Napoleon, but they sure know how to live. For all its humor, penetrating disillusionment underlies Ball’s memorable portrait of a family, once driven by pioneer spirit, now plagued by overextension and loss of direction, unsure what to do with its legacy, teetering between resentment, remorse, and resilience.
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- To Catch a King
Posted by cukehabibi in Uncategorized
- The Fan Club
- The Dark Lord
Synopsis In Egypt, Rae found Tarot card in an ancient box near by Nut Temple when windstorm happened. when she flew on the plane to san fransisco, she met a guy, his name was Simeon. In San Fransisco, she got a bad news, that Dr. Geogory was dead. And he got a message in CD from Dr. Geogory before he’s dead. Rae must hide herself in his home, Alameda. Because the evil will come and bring calamity on the earth. Rae and her sister lived with Geogory’s son, Michael Geogory in there. Rae found a photo that Simeon is a vampire. But she didn’t believe. Simeon and Michael loved rae. Rae must have chosen one of them. Because a terror, rae want to move to barkeley. But Michael could hold her back. Rae knew why Dr. Geogory was killed. Because the killer want to steal a sword which Dr. geogory found in Egypt. After rae found that sword, simoen kidnapped angie and stolen the sword. Because Simeon want to get the magic power from that sword. Rae, Michael, and Maren maked a plan to saved her. After they found Simeon’s place, happened a fighting between Michael and Simeon. Fortunately, Rae found her soul vision. She had magic power from genetic her father. With her silver eyes, she could defeat Simeon. After Simeon was dead, Michael sold that tarot card. With that money, Rae, Michael, and Angie bought a house and live in Barkeley.
Value Evil thing will be defeated by power of love.
- The boy who invented the Bubble Gun
The Dead Zone
The main character of this novel is Johnny Smith who he got a power as clairvoyant because an accident. His girlfriend is Sarah who has married with other man because Johnny got coma for 5 years. His parents are Herb and Vera who always care with him. I like this novel because this novel has a good plot. The interesting part is when Johnny saw the future of Stillson who he was a candidate of President. Stillson will make nuclear conflict around the world. It is will be a big problem and he want to stop it. But the part that made me confusing is how a human can get the power to see the future. I think it’s impossible. The part that I dislike is when he was dead because I think he should survive and help other person with his power. I don’t have any experience that related with this novel. As I know in Indonesia, there are many shamans who can see the future but I don’t believe with them. If I have opportunity to change this novel, I will change the ending. He can against his brain tumor and still alive. Then, he got a good position in government because he has saved America from Stillson. While I was reading this novel I felt enjoyable.
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61 How to Write a Book Review
The following is an outline to help you prepare for and write your review. The review will include five paragraphs.
The introduction paragraph provides basic information about the book and gives a sense of what your report will be about. Along with a standard essay introduction, include:
- Title and Author
- Publication information: publisher, year, number of pages
- Brief description of characters
- Brief plot summary (1-3 sentences)
There are two main sections for this part. The first is an explanation of what the book is about (summary). The second contains your opinions about the book and how successful it is (evaluation).
For fiction or other creative writing:
- Provide brief descriptions of the setting, the point of view (who tells the story), the main character(s) and other major characters. If there is a distinct mood or tone, mention that as well, for example gloom and doom, joyful, calm, tense, mysterious, etc.
- Give a short, objective plot summary. Provide the major events and the book’s climax and resolution.
In this section you explore and question the book in two paragraphs. Write your own opinions, but be sure to explain and support them with examples from the book.
Define or explain the main literary element/s in the book. Some questions you might want to consider: Were you most struck by character, such as development or use of character types? Was the use of setting most memorable to you? Do you feel that conflict drove the plot? Which of the elements of Literature you have studied was most pivotal in this book?
Express whether a reader should or shouldn’t read this book. Some questions you might want to consider:
- Did the author achieve his or her purpose? For example, if this is a mystery story, did you feel the mystery and tension?
- Is the writing effective, powerful, difficult, beautiful?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the book?
- What is your overall response to the book? Did you find it interesting, moving, dull?
- Would you recommend it to others? Why or why not?
Conclude by pulling your thoughts together into a standard conclusion paragraph. You may also want to say what impression the book left you with or highlight what you want your reader to know about it.
- “ Who, What, Where ” by mohamed hassan is licensed under a CC-0 Public Domain Licence .
Advanced English by Allison Kilgannon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.
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10 Lessons from Hindu History in 10 Episodes | Sandeep Balakrishna | Book Review
By Sankalpita Singh on November 1, 2023 in Book Reviews , Non-Fiction , Religion and Mythology Books
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Vikram and Betal: Life Lessons for Our Times | Neelam Kumar | Book Review
By Ahaana Jain on October 25, 2023 in Book Reviews , Children's Books , Fiction
Discover the enchanting world of “Vikram and Betal: Life Lessons for Our Times.” This timeless book revives the legendary Indian classic, “Baital Pachisi,” offering ten carefully chosen stories with stunning illustrations. King Vikram’s vow of silence, Betal’s riddles, and ancient India’s mystique come to life in this engaging read. Ideal for ages 7 to 11, it’s a ghostly, yet not too spooky journey that deserves a place in every library.
The Wake-Up Call | Beth O Leary | Book Review
By Dr. Nitisha Shah on October 21, 2023 in Book Reviews , Chick-Lit Books , Fiction , Romance Novels
When the Forest Manor Hotel’s roof caves in during their busiest season, front desk managers Izzy and Lucas must set aside their differences and salvage their struggling workplace. As they search for lost-and-found treasures, they discover abandoned wedding rings with profound sentimental value. Rather than selling them, they compete to return the rings, desperately clinging to their jobs. But amidst the rivalry, hidden emotions emerge, dismantling their longstanding animosity and reshaping their destinies.
Reflections: A Collection of 5 Minute Essays | Uma Rajagopal | Book Review
By Sankalpita Singh on October 17, 2023 in Biography & Memoir , Book Reviews , Non-Fiction , Self-help Books
Within the pages of ‘Reflections: A Collection of 5-Minute Essays’ by Uma Rajagopal, readers embark on a poignant journey through the author’s life experiences. Focusing on themes of motherhood and womanhood, this book offers universal insights, encouraging us all to embrace life’s ups and downs and find our passions. With relatable anecdotes and a personal touch, it’s a heartwarming, thought-provoking read, celebrating the beauty of life’s small moments and the power of self-discovery.
Veronika Decides to Die | Paulo Coelho | Book Review
By Manisha Gurnani on October 11, 2023 in Book Reviews , Drama Books , Fiction
In “Veronika Decides to Die,” Veronika’s life takes a dramatic turn when her suicide attempt lands her in a mental hospital. Facing imminent death, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery, finding unexpected connections and love among her fellow patients. As she delves into their unique stories, Veronika gains new perspectives on life’s meaning. A tale of resilience, love, and the profound impact of human connection, this novel inspires us to embrace the extraordinary in the ordinary.
A God Who Hates Women | Majid Rafizadeh | Book Review
By Sankalpita Singh on October 10, 2023 in Biography & Memoir , Book Reviews , Non-Fiction
In ‘A God Who Hates Women,’ set against the backdrop of the 1979 Islamic revolution in Syria and Iran, author Dr. Majid Rafizadeh delves into his mother Amira’s tumultuous life. Born into a society that devalued girls, Amira’s journey unfolds with forced marriage, abuse, and relentless struggle. It’s a gripping exploration of a family’s resilience in the face of brutal patriarchy, offering a stark portrayal of an era marked by ancient traditions and the relentless pursuit of survival.
The Perfumist of Paris | Alka Joshi | Book Review
By Dr. Nitisha Shah on October 9, 2023 in Book Reviews , Fiction , Historical Fiction Books
Delve into ‘The Perfumist of Paris,’ a captivating finale to the Jaipur Trilogy. Radha, immersed in fragrances and love, navigates life’s complexities, finding her true calling in the heart of Paris. Immerse yourself in a journey of scents, family, and unexpected encounters, as this spellbinding tale weaves India and Paris into an evocative tapestry of emotions and empowerment.
Madam Nurse | Anuj Tikku | Book Review
By Sankalpita Singh on October 4, 2023 in Book Reviews , Fiction , Thriller & Mystery Books
In ‘Madam Nurse,’ the shadow of a sinister serial killer looms over Ganga Shyam Hospital. Inspired by real events, this gripping mystery unfolds as Nurse Lata Nair joins the ranks of dedicated healthcare professionals. However, when a wave of infant deaths strikes, panic ensues, and famed detective Suraj Kumar and his unorthodox partner, Zen, are called in to unravel the chilling secrets concealed within the hospital’s walls. Can they unmask the baby serial killer before more lives are claimed?
Unusual Temples of India | Anuradha Goyal | Book Review
By Sankalpita Singh on October 3, 2023 in Book Reviews , Non-Fiction , Religion and Mythology Books
Explore India’s rich temple heritage, where spirituality thrives amidst bustling cities, tranquil villages, and picturesque landscapes. “Unusual Temples of India” unveils hidden gems that defy convention. Join the author on her captivating journey across the country as she delves into unique temples, offering a glimpse into their extraordinary stories. This book is a compilation of her temple travel diaries, a testament to the diversity and spirituality that define India’s cultural mosaic.
Five Survive | Holly Jackson | Book Review
By Enrida Lakiang Lyngdoh on September 28, 2023 in Book Reviews , Fiction , Thriller & Mystery Books , YA Books
“In ‘Five Survive,’ six acquaintances set out on a 31-foot RV journey from Philadelphia to Gulf Shores for Spring Break. When they lose phone service and take a wrong turn, they become unwitting pawns in a deadly game orchestrated by a hidden killer, facing an uncertain fight for survival.”
Poorly Made in China | Paul Midler | Book Review
By Sankalpita Singh on September 27, 2023 in Biography & Memoir , Book Reviews , Business and Economics , Non-Fiction
In “Poorly Made in China,” Paul Midler delves into the competitive world of Chinese manufacturing, uncovering deceptive tactics and cultural intricacies. Drawing from personal experiences, he provides insights into the impact of these practices on global business, offering a compelling exploration of this complex economic landscape.
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How American Evangelicalism Became ‘Mister Rogers With a Blowtorch’
In his new book, “The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory,” the journalist Tim Alberta subjects his faith’s embrace of right-wing extremism to critical scrutiny.
By Jennifer Szalai
All Things in Moderation, Especially When They’re Toxic
In “Most Delicious Poison,” Noah Whiteman explores nature’s fine line between killing and curing.
By Robert Sullivan
A Complicated Return for a Prodigal Daughter
In “Welcome Home, Stranger,” Kate Christensen takes readers inside the best kind of fictional family: a dysfunctional one.
By S. Kirk Walsh
What’s Behind That Door?
New books by Vajra Chandrasekera, Avi Silver, Cadwell Turnbull, Michael Mammay and T. Kingfisher.
By Amal El-Mohtar
Life Descends Into Chaos in This Year’s Booker Prize Winner
“Prophet Song,” a novel by Paul Lynch, is set in Dublin during a political crisis.
By Benjamin Markovits
Holiday Gift Books for Children
From a 200th-anniversary edition of Clement C. Moore’s Christmas Eve tale to lightheartedly loopy poems for every day of the year.
By Catherine Hong
An Abundance of Old-Fashioned Yarns to Close Out the Year
A secret, a disappearance, a frozen body and a mysterious stranger — these historical novels have something for everyone.
By Alida Becker
Francis Ford Coppola Talks a Big Game, and for Good Reason
Sam Wasson’s supremely entertaining new book, “The Path to Paradise,” tracks the ups and downs, ins and outs, of a remarkable career.
By David Kamp
Who Can Take a Joke? Everyone.
The authors of “Comedy Book” and “Outrageous” argue that culture-war worries about what’s a laughing matter have been overplayed.
By Rich Juzwiak
Electrifying Love Triangles Make These Y.A. Novels Irresistible
Adalyn Grace, the author of the “Belladonna” series and the “All the Stars and Teeth” duology, recommends her favorite young adult novels with heroines torn between competing romantic interests.
By Adalyn Grace
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Title: charlie and the chocolate factory, author: roald dahl, what's the book about.
The book is about a boy called Charlie. His family is very poor – they don't have much money and they don't have much food.
There is a chocolate factory near Charlie's house. It is Willy Wonka's factory. Willy Wonka invites five children to visit the chocolate factory. The factory is amazing! One child wins a very special prize. Is Charlie the winner?
My favourite character
My favourite character is Charlie because he is very kind. I don't like the other children because they are horrible!
My opinion of the book
This book is great! I love the incredible chocolates and sweets in the factory.
Words to describe the book
I give Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 5 stars.
5 stars = Fantastic! 4 stars = Very good! 3 stars = OK 2 stars = Bad 1 star = Terrible!
Review by: Gabrielle (age 12)
Top tips for writing book reviews!
- Start with the title and author.
- Explain the story but don't say the ending.
- Give your opinion of the book.
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What kinds of books do you like reading? Tell us about your favourite book!
I read a book called: A Rienda Suelta, it is in spanish. I like because it has horses.BY:María Victoria
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