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How to Write a Book Report: A Step-by-Step Writing Instruction

May 17, 2017
The purpose of a book report is for the student to show his professor that he/she has read the book and understood it. More often than not you will be required to evaluate what you have read in the book. The answer to "How to do that?" you can find in this article.

The first day of college, you should have noticed the difference from high school. The people, the assignments, and your professor’s interactions with students are more intense. So it should be no surprise that a book report is no longer standard either. These are still a requirement and will be so for your continued educational career.

Let’s discuss how to write a book report effectively for college. If you want to save your time - ask our writers to help you!

What Is a Book Report?

So far, you understand a book report to be a four or five paragraph summary of the book, proving to your teacher that you have read and understood the book. On a college level, it’s much more complex.

Most Typical Book Report Topics

When preparing your book report writing, of course, the most essential piece is discovering your book report topic. Many times your professor will indicate what topic you should write about. Other times, they will leave it up to the student.

Topics vary, including architecture, policies, performances, fashion, and other fields of literature. Don’t allow a topic to limit you. If there's a listing assigned, select the one you have the greatest interest in or can learn more about. Here are 10 popular topics:

  1. The effect of capitalism
  2. Building up the character
  3. Displacement
  4. Fate and free will
  5. Injustice
  6. Knowledge versus ignorance
  7. The complications of nationalism
  8. Power of wealth
  9. The illusion of progress
  10. Technology in society – good or bad

Identifying the Theme and Topic

It’s important to know the difference between the theme and the topic. The two are highly similar. The topic is the subject of your literature. It is very specific. The theme is related to the subject but more general. It’s what you learn from the literature.

Typical Book Report Structure

As stated, your book report will consist of more than five paragraphs summarizing the book. There are 4 important pieces of a book report: the introduction and thesis, your opening paragraph, the body, and the conclusion. Although it’s only four pieces listed, the body will make up the majority of your book report.

1. Intro and Thesis

Your introduction and a thesis are important. As with any other report, this is your opportunity to capture the reader and inform them of what you intend to discuss. Your introduction should include the title of the book, the author’s name, and the theme of the book.

Here, you will also give your attitude toward the book. Clearly, state what the author’s purpose was and if you are agreeing with or against his position. Include your thesis towards the end of your introductory paragraph and ensure it leads into the rest of the paper.

2. Opening Paragraph (Summary)

Your opening paragraph or summary should be brief. Remember, the bulk of your paper should be analytical. So you will refer to other summarizations throughout your paper as well. Your approach to the summary may vary. For instance, if your classmates have all read the book, focus your attention on something more subtle. If it’s not well-known, you can summarize a bit more.

3. Body (The Book’s Analysis)

The meat of your book report will consist of the body. This is your analysis and evaluation of the book. This needs to be as long as necessary to explain each point of your argument. The organization of these paragraphs does not need to coincide with the organization of the book. You can organize it by methods, themes, or anything else of relevance. Since this is an analytical work, you do not need to over a quote.

4. Conclusion

As with all other works, your conclusion will wrap up your analysis and judgment of the book. You should restate or sum up your thesis again. At this point, all your evidence should have been introduced and clearly support where you stand.

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