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Book Jacket: Long Island

Long Island

Readers last encountered Eilis Lacey in Colm Tóibín's best-known work, Brooklyn (2009). In Long Island , the author returns to his enigmatic heroine in 1976, twenty years after events in the ...

Beyond the Book

Fish and Chip Shops

In Colm Tóibín's novel Long Island, one of the main characters owns a chip shop in Enniscorthy, Ireland – a carryout restaurant that sells fish and chips (french fries in the United ...

The Witches of Bellinas

To Tansy and her new husband Guy, both longtime New Yorkers, moving to the coastal California community of Bellinas feels like a dream come true. They're drawn to the small town for more than just its...

The coastal California setting of The Witches of Bellinas is often beset by fierce and powerful winds. As the strong gusts rage, Mia, Bellinas's unofficial matriarch, explains to main character ...

I Just Keep Talking

Nell Irvin Painter's ninth book, I Just Keep Talking: A Life in Essays , is a collection of previously published work. The essays bear witness to history, art, politics, and black culture. From her ...

Sojourner Truth Was Invisible — Or Was She?

It was May of 1851 when 54-year-old Sojourner Truth took the stage. Truth, who would become one of the most famous women of any race of the nineteenth century, spoke her personal testimony to the ...

The Alternatives

The four Flattery sisters have lived apart for many years, each the holder of a doctorate and passionately pursuing her own path. Olwen, the eldest, is a geologist in Galway; her lectures warn of the ...

Queens of Rock: Women in Geology

In Caoilinn Hughes' The Alternatives, Olwen is a geologist profoundly concerned with the effects of climate change. As in other sciences, women remain underrepresented in geology, even though they ...

Liberty Equality Fashion

With the title Liberty Equality Fashion , it may seem like Anne Higonnet's new book is an unserious work—maybe a picture book of dresses from revolutionary France, recalling the refrain of "...

Marie Antoinette, Fashion Icon

In 1783, Marie Antoinette made a terrible faux pas—she dressed like a commoner. Painted by her favorite portraitist, Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, the queen was depicted in a loose ...

Real Americans

Rachel Khong's sophomore novel Real Americans is an intergenerational saga that questions racial and cultural identity and our control over our destinies. Over the course of the book, we meet May, her...

Chinese Science During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976)

May, the matriarch of Rachel Khong's Real Americans, is born into a poor rural Chinese family in the 1950s. Her fate is foretold by her mother's life: wake before dawn to cook breakfast, clean up ...

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This Strange Eventful History by Claire Messud

An immersive, masterful story of a family born on the wrong side of history.

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The Stolen Child by Ann Hood

An unlikely duo ventures through France and Italy to solve the mystery of a child’s fate.

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Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld A comedy writer's stance on love shifts when a pop star challenges her assumptions in this witty and touching novel.

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20 new books hitting shelves this summer that our critics can't wait to read

Books We Love

20 new books hitting shelves this summer that our critics can't wait to read.

May 21, 2024 • We asked our book critics what titles they are most looking forward to this summer. Their picks range from memoirs to sci-fi and fantasy to translations, love stories and everything in between.

A cloud image over a bed, representing dreaming.

An abstract 3d cloud model in the bedroom. (3d render) Eoneren/Getty Images/E+ hide caption

7 surprising facts about dreams -- why we have them and what they mean

June 2, 2024 • Dreaming is often misunderstood. But in a new book, a neuroscientist argues that it’s one of the most vital functions of the human brain, and just about anyone can tap into dreams’ insights.

For 'Such Kindness' novelist Andre Dubus III, chronic pain is a fact of life

May 31, 2024 • Dubus talks about the injuries he faced as a carpenter and his relationship with his dad. His a new collection of personal essays is Ghost Dogs: On Killers and Kin. Originally broadcast in 2023.

Taylor Swift, the Mona Lisa and Beyoncé.

Taylor Swift, the Mona Lisa and Beyoncé. Andrew Dias Nobreafp via Getty Images; Thomas Coexafp via Getty Images; Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy./. hide caption

What's the recipe for fame? For one, you need more than talent

May 29, 2024 • Why is the Mona Lisa the most famous painting in the world? Why are The Beatles, well, The Beatles ? Behavioral economist Cass Sunstein explores the alchemy of fame.

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Illustrations © 2024 by Brian Cronin/Rocky Pond Books hide caption

Picture This

When baby sloth tumbles out of a tree, mama sloth comes for him — s l o w l y.

May 25, 2024 • Did you know on average a sloth will fall out of a tree once a week for its entire life? It's true — and the inspiration for Brian Cronin and Doreen Cronin's new children's book, Mama in the Moon.

PICTURE THIS: MAMA IN THE MOON

In the face of human-caused climate change, paperbacks and e-readers each have pros and cons.

In the face of human-caused climate change, paperbacks and e-readers each have pros and cons. JGI/Daniel Grill/Getty Images hide caption

What’s better for the climate: A paper book, or an e-reader?

May 25, 2024 • Books take a lot of resources to make. Digital readers do, too. What's the more sustainable option? The answer isn't straightforward.

Caleb Carr and his cat Masha pictured at the author's home in Cherry Plain, N.Y.

Caleb Carr and his cat Masha pictured at the author's home in Cherry Plain, N.Y. Courtesy Caleb Carr hide caption

Caleb Carr, author of 'The Alienist', dies at 68

May 24, 2024 • The New York-based author's books explored the origins of violence.

 Cover of The Last Murder at the End of the World

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'The Last Murder at the End of the World' is a story of survival and memory

May 24, 2024 • Stuart Turton’s bizarre whodunit also works as a science fiction allegory full of mystery that contemplates the end of the world and what it means to be human.

Cover of Rednecks

St. Martin's Press hide caption

'Rednecks' chronicles the largest labor uprising in American history

May 23, 2024 • Taylor Brown's Rednecks is a superb historical drama full of violence and larger-than-life characters that chronicles the events of leading to the Battle of Blair Mountain.

Some of the items offered in Fadi Kattan's new cookbook Bethlehem: A Celebration of Palestinian Food

Some of the items offered in Fadi Kattan's new cookbook Bethlehem: A Celebration of Palestinian Food Ashley Lima/Hardie Grant hide caption

Palestinian chef Fadi Kattan offers a tour of Bethlehem in his new cookbook

May 23, 2024 • Bethlehem: A Celebration of Palestinian Food is a love letter to Kattan's boyhood home — and the scents and flavors that made it a special place to learn how to cook.

Chef Fadi Kattan's new cookbook is 'Bethlehem: A Celebration of Palestinian Food'

What's it like to live in a vacation spot when tourists leave? 'Wait' offers a window

What's it like to live in a vacation spot when tourists leave? 'Wait' offers a window

May 22, 2024 • Set during a uniquely stressful summer for one Nantucket family, Gabriella Burnham's second novel highlights the strong bonds between a mom and her daughters.

Stephen King says finishing one of his stories decades after he started it felt like

Stephen King says finishing one of his stories decades after he started it felt like "calling into a canyon of time." Francois Mori/AP hide caption

Interview highlights

Stephen king's new story took him 45 years to write.

May 22, 2024 • Stephen King is out with a new collection of short stories. As you might expect from the reigning King of Horror, some are terrifying. Some are creepy. Others are laugh-out-loud funny.

Code Switch

Understanding the refugee experience, through a time-traveling british colonizer.

May 22, 2024 • This week Code Switch digs into The Ministry of Time , a new book that author Kailene Bradley describes as a "romance about imperialism." It focuses on real-life Victorian explorer Graham Gore, who died on a doomed Arctic expedition in 1847. But in this novel, time travel is possible and Gore is brought to the 21st century where he's confronted with the fact that everyone he's ever known is dead, that the British Empire has collapsed, and that perhaps he was a colonizer.

Author Jenny Erpenbeck's novel Kairos was named this year's winner of the International Booker Prize.

Author Jenny Erpenbeck's novel Kairos was named this year's winner of the International Booker Prize. Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images hide caption

Book News & Features

A german novel about a tortured love affair wins 2024 international booker prize.

May 21, 2024 • Jenny Erpenbeck's novel, translated by Michael Hofmann, follows a couple in 1980s East Berlin and their tumultuous relationship, while Germany undergoes its own political transformation.

Prize-winning Bulgarian writer brings 'The Physics of Sorrow' to U.S. readers

Prize-winning Bulgarian writer brings 'The Physics of Sorrow' to U.S. readers

May 21, 2024 • Writer Georgi Gospodinov won the 2023 International Booker Prize for his book Time Shelter. The Physics of Sorrow , an earlier novel, now has an English translation by Angela Rodel.

Years ago, a psychic told Kristen Wiig to move to LA. She left the next day

Kristen Wiig plays a former pageant queen in Palm Royale. Apple TV+ hide caption

Years ago, a psychic told Kristen Wiig to move to LA. She left the next day

May 21, 2024 • The SNL alum co-stars with Carol Burnett in Palm Royale, an Apple TV+ series about a former pageant queen who wants to break into high society. Wiig says the show was a chance to work with "a legend."

With age and sobriety, Michael McDonald is ready to get personal

Michael McDonald, 72, describes his voice as a "malleable" instrument: "Especially with age, it's like you're constantly renegotiating with it." Timothy White/Sacks & Co. hide caption

Music Interviews

With age and sobriety, michael mcdonald is ready to get personal.

May 20, 2024 • McDonald says that earlier in his career, he tended to avoid writing about himself directly in songs. He opens up about his life and career in the memoir, What a Fool Believes.

Hold on to your wishes — there's a 'Spider in the Well'

Hold on to your wishes — there's a 'Spider in the Well'

May 19, 2024 • There's trouble in the town of Bad Göodsburg! A wishing well has stopped working! NPR's Tamara Keith talks with Jess Hannigan about her new children's book, "Spider in the Well."

Writer Carvell Wallace on past pain and forgiveness: Letting go is 'always available'

Macmillian hide caption

Writer Carvell Wallace on past pain and forgiveness: Letting go is 'always available'

May 16, 2024 • Wallace is known for his celebrity profiles, but his new memoir, Another Word For Love , is about his own life, growing up unhoused, Black and queer, and getting his start as a writer at the age of 40.

'Whale Fall' centers the push-and-pull between dreams and responsibilities

'Whale Fall' centers the push-and-pull between dreams and responsibilities

May 16, 2024 • Elizabeth O'Connor's spare and bracing debut novel provides a stark reckoning with what it means to be seen from the outside, both as a person and as a people.

Two new novels investigate what makes magic, what is real and imagined

Two new novels investigate what makes magic, what is real and imagined

May 15, 2024 • Both of these novels, Pages of Mourning and The Cemetery of Untold Stories, from an emerging writer and a long-celebrated one, respectively, walk an open road of remembering love, grief, and fate.

The miracle of middle age with Miranda July

Author Miranda July poses next to her novel, "All Fours" Elizabeth Weinberg/Amazon hide caption

Perspective

It's been a minute, the miracle of middle age with miranda july.

May 14, 2024 • Our culture is full of stories about what it's like to be young: to find yourself, to fall in love, to leave home. But there aren't nearly as many scripts for what middle age might look like, especially for women. This week, host Brittany Luse is joined by author and filmmaker Miranda July, whose new novel 'All Fours' dives deep into the mystery and miracle of being a middle aged woman.

Alice Munro, Nobel Prize-winning short story author, dies at 92

Canadian author Alice Munro as she receives a Man Booker International award at Trinity College Dublin, in Dublin, Ireland, on June 25, 2009. Peter Muhly/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

Alice Munro, Nobel Prize-winning short story author, dies at 92

May 14, 2024 • The Canadian writer was known for her masterfully crafted short stories. Throughout her long career, she earned a number of prestigious awards including the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013.

What are 'the kids' thinking these days? Honor Levy aims to tell in 'My First Book'

What are 'the kids' thinking these days? Honor Levy aims to tell in 'My First Book'

May 14, 2024 • Social media discourse and the inevitable backlash aside, the 26-year-old writer's first book is an amusing, if uneven, take on growing up white, privileged, and Gen Z.

How to Write a Book Review in 3 Steps

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Blog – Posted on Wednesday, Apr 03

How to write a book review in 3 steps.

How to Write a Book Review in 3 Steps

If the idea of reading for free — or even getting paid to read — sounds like a dream come true, remember that it isn’t a pipe dream. There are many places aspiring book reviewers can read books for free, such as Reedsy Discovery — a new platform for reviewing indie books. Of course, if you’re giving serious thought to becoming a book reviewer, your first step should be learning how to write a book review. To that end, this post covers all the basics of literary criticism. Let’s get started!

The three main steps of writing a book review are simple:

  • Provide a summary: What is story about? Who are the main characters and what is the main conflict? 
  • Present your evaluation: What did you think of the book? What elements worked well, and which ones didn’t? 
  • Give your recommendation: Would you recommend this book to others? If so, what kinds of readers will enjoy it?

You can also download our free book review templates and use it as a guide! Otherwise, let’s take a closer look at each element.

Pro-tip : But wait! How are you sure if you should become a book reviewer in the first place? If you're on the fence, or curious about your match with a book reviewing career, take our quick quiz:

Should you become a book reviewer?

Find out the answer. Takes 30 seconds!

How to write a review of a book

Step 1. provide a summary.

Have you ever watched a movie only to realize that all the good bits were already in the trailer? Well, you don’t want the review to do that. What you do want the summary to do is reveal the genre, theme, main conflict, and main characters in the story — without giving away spoilers or revealing how the story ends.

A good rule of thumb is not to mention anything that happens beyond the midpoint. Set the stage and give readers a sense of the book without explaining how the central issue is resolved.

Emily W. Thompson's review of The Crossing :

In [Michael] 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. Read more...

Here are a few more reviews with well-written summaries for you to check out. The summary tend to be the longest part of the book review, so we won’t turn this post into a novel itself by pasting them all here: Le Cirque Navire reviewed by Anna Brill, The Heart of Stone reviewed by Kevin R. Dickinson, Fitting Out: The Friendship Experiment reviewed by Lianna Albrizio.

Non-fiction summary tip: The primary goal of a non-fiction summary is to provide context: what problems or issues has the book spotted, and how does it go about addressing them? Be sure to mention the authors of the title and what experience or expertise they bring to the title. Check Stefan Kløvning’s review of Creativity Cycling for an example of a summary that establishes the framework of the book within the context of its field.

Step 2. Present your evaluation

While you should absolutely weave your own personal take of a book into the review, your evaluation shouldn’t only be based on your subjective opinion. Along with presenting how you reacted to the story and how it affected you, you should also try to objectively critique the stronger and weaker elements of the story, and provide examples from the text to back up your points.

To help you write your evaluation, you should record your reactions and thoughts as you work your way through a novel you’re planning on reviewing. Here are some aspects of the book to keep in mind as you do.

Your evaluation might focus heartily on the book’s prose:

Donald Barker's review of Mercenary : 

Such are the bones of the story. But, of course, it is the manner in which Mr Gaughran puts the bones back together and fills them with life that makes “Mercenary” such a great read. The author’s style seems plain; it seems straightforward and even simple. But an attempt at imitation or emulation quickly proves that simple it is not. He employs short, punchy sentences that generate excellent dialogue dripping with irony, deadpan humour and wit. This, mixed with good descriptive prose, draws the characters – and what characters they are – along with the tumultuous events in which they participated amidst the stinking, steaming heat of the South American jungle, out from the past to the present; alive, scheming, drinking, womanising and fighting, onto the written page.

You can give readers a sense of the book by drawing comparisons to other well-known titles or authors:

Laura Hartman's review of The Mystery of Ruby's Mistletoe :

Reading Ms. Donovan’s book is reminiscent to one of my favorite authors, Dame Agatha Christie. Setting up the suspects in a snowbound house, asking them to meet in the drawing room and the cleverly satisfying conclusion was extremely gratifying. I can picture Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot nodding at Ms. Donovan saying “Well done!”

Not everyone’s tastes are the same, and you can always acknowledge this by calling out specific story elements in your evaluation: 

Kevin R. Dickinson's review of The Heart of Stone :

Whether you enjoy Galley’s worldbuilding will depend heavily on preference. Galley delivers information piecemeal, letting the characters, not the author, navigate the reader through Hartlund. A notable example is the magic system, an enigmatic force that lacks the ridge structures of, say, a Brandon Sanderson novel. While the world’s magical workings are explained, you only learn what the characters know and many mysteries remain by the end. Similar choices throughout make the world feel expansive and authentic.

Non-fiction evaluation tip: A book’s topic is only as compelling as its supporting arguments. Your evaluation of a nonfiction book should address that: how clearly and effectively are the points communicated? Turn back to Stefan’s critique for an example of a non-fiction critique that covers key takeaways and readability, without giving away any “big reveals.”

Step 3. Give your recommendation 

At the end of the day, your critique needs to answer this question: is this a book you would (or wouldn’t) recommend to other readers? You might wrap up by comparing it to other books in the same genre, or authors with similar styles, such as: “Fans of so-and-so will enjoy this book.” 

Let’s take a look at a few more tips:

You don’t need to write, “I recommend this book” — you can make it clear by highlighting your favorable opinion:

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.
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.

Add more punch to your rating by mentioning what kind of audience will or won’t enjoy the book:

Charleigh Aleyna Reid's review of The King of FU :

I would recommend this book to anyone who grew up in the 90’s and would like to reminisce about the time, someone who is interested to see what it was like to be a 90’s kid, or perhaps anyone who is looking for a unique, funny story about someone’s life.

Unless you found the title absolutely abhorrent, a good way to balance out a less favorable book review it to share what you did like about the book — before ultimately stating why you wouldn’t recommend the novel:

Nicola O's review of Secrets of the Sea Lord :

Overall, there are plenty of enjoyable elements in this story and fans of Atlantis and mer mythology should give it a try. Despite this, it does not rise above a three-star rating, and while I had some difficulty pinning down why this is, I concluded that it comes from a surprisingly unsophisticated vocabulary. There are a couple of graphic sex scenes, which is absolutely fine in a paranormal romance, but if they were removed, I could easily imagine this as an appealing story for middle-schoolers.

Non-fiction recommendation tip: As with fiction book reviews, share why you did or didn’t enjoy the title. However, in one of the starkest divergences from fiction book reviews it’s more important than ever that you mention your expectations coming into the non-fiction book. For instance, if you’re a cow farmer who’s reading a book on the benefits of becoming a vegetarian, you’re coming in with a large and inherent bias that the book will struggle to alter. So your recommendation should cover your thoughts about the book, while clearly taking account your perspective before you started reading. Let’s look once more at Stefan’s review for an example of a rating that includes an explanation of the reviewer’s own bias.

Bonus tips for writing a book review

Let’s wrap up with a few final tips for writing a compelling review.

  • Remember, this isn’t a book report. If someone wants the summary of a book, they can read the synopsis. People turn to book reviews for a fellow reader’s take on the book. And for that reason...
  • Have an opinion. Even if your opinion is totally middle-of-the-line — you didn’t hate the book but you didn’t love it either — state that clearly, and explain why.
  • Make your stance clear from the outset. Don’t save your opinion just for the evaluation/recommendation. Weave your thoughts about the book into your summary as well, so that readers have an idea of your opinion from the outset.
  • Back up your points. Instead of just saying, “the prose was evocative” — show readers by providing an actual passage that displays this. Same goes for negative points — don’t simply tell readers you found a character unbelievable, reference a certain (non-spoiler) scene that backs this up.
  • Provide the details. Don’t forget to weave the book’s information into the review: is this a debut author? Is this one installment of a series? What types of books has the author written before? What is their background? How many pages does the book have? Who published the book? What is the book’s price?
  • Follow guidelines. Is the review you’re writing for Goodreads? For The New York Times ? The content and tone of your review will vary a good deal from publication to publication.
  • Learn from others. One of the best ways to learn how to write a great review is to read other reviews! To help you out with that, we’ve published a post all about book review examples .

Writing book reviews can be a rewarding experience! As a book-lover yourself, it’s a great opportunity to help guide readers to their next favorite title. If you’re just getting started as a reviewer and could use a couple more tips and nudges in the right direction, check out our comprehensive blog post on how to become a book reviewer . And if you want to find out which review community is the right fit for you, we recommend taking this quick quiz:

Which review community should you join?

Find out which review community is best for your style. Takes 30 seconds!

Finally, if you feel you've nailed the basics of how to write a book review, we recommend you check out Reedsy Discovery , where you can review books for free and are guaranteed people will read them. To register as a book reviewer, simply go here !

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The Charismatic Charlie Wade Book Review: A Gripping Tale of Justice and Redemption

In a world where power and corruption reign supreme, one man refuses to be defined by his circumstances. "The Charismatic Charlie Wade" by Lord Leaf is a gripping tale of one man's quest for justice in the face of overwhelming odds. With over 4,900 chapters, this novel falls under the genre of drama, mystery, and thriller. 

From the very first page, readers are drawn into the story of Charlie Wade, a young man who was born into a wealthy and influential family, only to be abandoned and mistreated by his in-laws after the death of his parents. Despite his physical limitations, Charlie refuses to be a victim and sets out to reclaim his rightful place in society. This novel is a must-read for anyone who loves a gripping and thought-provoking story that explores themes of power, family, and redemption.

Read the full novel on GoodNovel app for free!

good novel book review

Plot Summary

  "the charismatic charlie wade" is a gripping novel that follows the life of a man named charlie wade, who has been dealt a difficult hand in life. born into a wealthy family, he is orphaned at a young age and is left to fend for himself in a world that is hostile to him.   despite his circumstances, charlie refuses to be defined by his past and instead sets out to create a new life for himself. he starts by securing a job in a company owned by his wife's family but soon realizes that his in-laws are not what they seem.   as he delves deeper into their world, charlie uncovers a web of deceit, corruption, and betrayal. he realizes that his in-laws have been using him as a pawn in their power games and have been keeping him from his rightful inheritance.   determined to take back what is rightfully his, charlie embarks on a journey of self-discovery and revenge. he uses his wits, charm, and charisma to outsmart his adversaries and win the hearts of those around him.   along the way, charlie meets a host of interesting characters, including his long-lost mother and a love interest who helps him navigate his way through the treacherous waters of family politics.   "the charismatic charlie wade" is a story about the power of resilience, determination, and love. it is a tale of one man's journey to overcome his past and create a new future for himself..

good novel book review

Analysis of Characters

"The Charismatic Charlie Wade" is a story filled with a diverse cast of characters, each with their unique personalities and motivations. Here's a brief rundown of the main characters and their relationships:

  • Charlie Wade: The protagonist of the story, Charlie is a determined and charismatic man who has been dealt a difficult hand in life. He is married to Claire, the daughter of a wealthy family, but soon realizes that his in-laws are not what they seem. He sets out to take back what is rightfully his and uncovers a web of deceit and betrayal in the process.
  • Claire: Charlie's wife, Claire is a complicated character who is torn between her loyalty to her family and her love for Charlie. She struggles to come to terms with the truth about her family and must make some tough choices along the way.
  • Lord Elbert Wade : Claire's father, Lord Elbert is a wealthy and powerful man who rules his family with an iron fist. He is behind much of the deceit and betrayal that Charlie uncovers and is determined to keep his power and wealth at all costs.
  • Linda : Charlie's long-lost mother, Linda is a kind and loving woman who was forced to give up her son at a young age. She reunites with Charlie later in life and becomes an important ally in his quest for justice.
  • Maggie : Charlie's love interest, Maggie is a strong and independent woman who helps him navigate his way through the treacherous waters of family politics. She is a key player in Charlie's plan for revenge and becomes an important part of his life.

Overall, "The Charismatic Charlie Wade" is a story that is driven by its characters. Each one has its motivations, desires, and flaws, and their interactions with each other drive the plot forward. The complex relationships between the characters are what make this story so compelling and engaging.

  • Power and Corruption: The theme of power and corruption is central to the story of "The Charismatic Charlie Wade". The novel explores how powerful individuals and families can become corrupt and use their power to manipulate and control others. Charlie's in-laws are a prime example of this, as they use their wealth and influence to keep Charlie from his rightful inheritance.
  • Resilience and Determination: Another major theme in the novel is resilience and determination. Despite facing numerous obstacles and setbacks, Charlie refuses to give up and is determined to take back what is rightfully his. He uses his wits, charm, and charisma to outsmart his adversaries and win the hearts of those around him.
  • Family and Loyalty: The theme of family and loyalty is explored throughout the novel, as Charlie struggles to come to terms with the truth about his own family and the loyalty he owes to his wife's family. The novel raises questions about what it means to be loyal to one's family and the sacrifices that may be required.
  • The Wheelchair: The wheelchair that Charlie uses throughout the novel is a powerful symbol of his physical limitations and the obstacles he faces in his quest for justice. Despite this, Charlie refuses to be defined by his disability and uses his abilities.
  • The Mansion: The Wade family mansion is a symbol of power and wealth, but it also represents the corruption and deceit that lies at the heart of the Wade family. It is a physical representation of the family's control over Charlie and the lengths they will go to maintain their power.

good novel book review

  Overall, "The Charismatic Charlie Wade" is a novel that is rich in themes and symbolism. It explores complex ideas about power, corruption, family, and identity, and uses powerful symbols to convey these ideas to the reader.

Writing Style

  "the charismatic charlie wade" is a novel that is characterized by its engaging and fast-paced writing style. the author, lord leaf, employs several writing techniques to keep readers engaged and invested in the story, including:   cliffhangers: the novel is full of cliffhangers that keep readers on the edge of their seats. each chapter ends with a dramatic reveal or twist that leaves readers eager to what happens next.   dialogue: the heavy dialogue helps to move the story forward and reveal the importance of the characters and their motivations. the dialogue is often witty and engaging and helps to create a sense of intimacy between the reader and the characters.   descriptive language: the author uses descriptive language to create vivid and memorable scenes that stick with readers long after they've finished the book. the descriptions are often sensory and immersive and help to transport readers into the world of the novel.   multiple perspectives: the novel is told from multiple perspectives, which allows readers to see the story from different angles and gain a deeper understanding of the characters and their motivations. this also helps to keep the story fresh and interesting, as readers are constantly learning new information about the characters and their relationships.   overall, "the charismatic charlie wade" is a novel that is characterized by its engaging and dynamic writing style. the author's use of cliffhangers, dialogue, descriptive language, and multiple perspectives all contribute to the novel's fast-paced and immersive narrative.  , final verdict,   "the charismatic charlie wade" is a thrilling and engaging novel that explores complex themes of power, corruption, family, and identity. the author's engaging writing style, use of cliffhangers, dialogue, descriptive language, and multiple perspectives all contribute to a fast-paced and immersive narrative that keeps readers hooked from beginning to end.   at its core, this novel is spirit. charlie wade is a compelling protagonist who refuses to let his physical limitations or his in-laws' corruption stand in the way of his quest for justice.   if you're looking for a novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat, "the charismatic charlie wade" is worth your time. whether you're a fan of thrillers, mysteries, or dramas, this novel has something for everyone.   so, don't wait any longer. grab a copy of "the charismatic charlie wade" and experience for yourself the gripping tale of a man who refuses to be defined by his circumstances. you won't be disappointed  ,   q: who is the author of "the charismatic charlie wade" a: the author of "the charismatic charlie wade" is lord leaf.   q: what genre does the book fall under a: the book falls under the genres of drama, mystery, and thriller.   q: what is the book about a: "the charismatic charlie wade" is a gripping tale of one man's quest for justice in the face of overwhelming odds. the story follows charlie wade, a young man who was born into a wealthy and influential family, only to be abandoned and mistreated by his in-laws after the death of his parents. despite his physical limitations, charlie refuses to be a victim and sets out to reclaim his rightful place in society.   q: is "the charismatic charlie wade" part of a series a: no, "the charismatic charlie wade" is a standalone novel.   q: is "the charismatic charlie wade" suitable for young readers a: the book deals with mature themes and contains some violence, so it may not be suitable for young readers..

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good novel book review

The 10 Best Book Reviews of 2022

Merve emre on gerald murnane, casey cep on harry crews, maggie doherty on cormac mccarthy, and more.

Book Marks logo

Way back in the mid-aughts when I first started writing about books, pitching a print publication was the only reliable way for book critics to get paid, and third-person point of view was all the vogue. Much has changed in the years since: Newspaper and magazine book sections have shuttered, many digital outlets offer compensation when they can, and first-person criticism has become much more pervasive.

I don’t celebrate all these changes, but I’m certain of one thing in particular: I love book reviews and critical essays written in the first-person. Done well, they are generous invitations into the lives of critics—and into their memory palaces. With that in mind, most of my picks for the best book reviews of 2022 were written in the first person this year.

Brought to you by Book Marks , Lit Hub’s “Rotten Tomatoes for books.”

Chess Story

Adam Dalva on Stefan Zweig’s Chess Story , translated by Joel Rotenberg ( Los Angeles Review of Books )

Dalva’s review of Chess Story is a great example of the power of a first-person point of view—he doesn’t just examine the book, he narrates his own journey to understand it.

“In my own quest to understand Chess Story, I gradually realized that I would have to learn the game it centers on. And that has led me into a second obsession, much more problematic: I have fallen passionately in love with online bullet chess.”

Merve Emre on Gerald Murnane’s Last Letter to a Reader ( The New Yorker )

Merve Emre’s analysis of Gerald Murnane’s final book is a beautiful piece of writing. I love how she opens on a note of suspense, pulling you into a story you can’t stop reading.

“On most evenings this past spring, the man who lives across the street sat at his small desk, turned on the lamp, and began to write as the light faded. The white curtains in his room were seldom drawn. From where I sat, I had a clear view of him, and he, were he to look up from his writing, would have had a clear view of a house across the street, where a woman with dark hair and a faintly olive complexion was seated by a window, watching him write. At the moment he glanced up from his page, the woman supposed him to be contemplating the look, or perhaps the sound, of the sentence he had just written. The sentence was this: ‘Since then I have tried to avoid those rooms that grow steadily more crowded with works to explain away Time.’”

Nuclear Family Joseph Han

Minyoung Lee on Joseph Han’s Nuclear Family ( Chicago Review of Books )

Lee brings her own experience to bear in this insightful review of a novel about Korean Americans in the diaspora. (Disclosure: I founded the Chicago Review of Books in 2016, but stepped back from an editorial role in 2019.)

“In diaspora communities, it’s not uncommon to find cultural practices from the homeland, even after they’ve become unpopular or forgotten there. This is colloquially referred to as ‘the immigrant time capsule effect.’ It can be experienced in many of the ethnic enclaves in the U.S. My first impression of Los Angeles’ Koreatown when I visited in the 2010s, for example, was that it felt very much like Seoul in the 1980s. Grocery stores were even selling canned grape drinks that were popular when I was a child but that I haven’t seen since.”

Chelsea Leu on Thuận’s Chinatown , translated by Nguyen An Lý ( Astra )

Astra magazine’s “ bangers only ” editorial policy led to some spectacular reviews, like this Chelsea Leu number that opens with a fascinating linguistics lesson.

“It was in high school Latin that I learned that language could have moods, and that one of those moods was the subjunctive. We use the indicative mood for statements of fact, but the subjunctive (which barely exists in English anymore) expresses possibilities, wishes, hopes and fears: ‘I wouldn’t trust those Greeks bearing gifts if I were you.’ More recently, I’ve learned there exists a whole class of moods called irrealis moods, of which the subjunctive is merely one flavor. André Aciman’s recent essay collection, Homo Irrealis, is entirely dedicated to these moods, celebrating the fact that they express sentiments that fly in the face of settled reality.”

Casey Cep on Harry Crews’ A Childhood: The Biography of a Place ( The New Yorker )

Cep is a magician when it comes to capturing a sense of place, as evidenced by her book about Harper Lee, Furious Hours , and this review of a book about another Southern writer, Harry Crews.

“Dehairing a shoat is the sort of thing Crews knew all about, along with cooking possum, cleaning a rooster’s craw, making moonshine, trapping birds, tanning hides, and getting rid of screwworms. Although he lived until 2012, Crews and his books—sixteen novels, two essay collections, and a memoir—recall a bygone era. The best of what he wrote evokes W.P.A. guides or Foxfire books, full of gripping folklore and hardscrabble lives, stories from the back of beyond about a time when the world seemed black and white in all possible senses.”

Best Barbarian Roger Reeves

Victoria Chang and Dean Rader on Roger Reeves’ Best Barbarian ( Los Angeles Review of Books )

Last year I professed my love for “reviews in dialogue” between two critics, and Chang and Rader continue to be masters of the form in this conversation about Roger Reeves’ second poetry collection.

“Victoria: Do you have thoughts on the flow of the poems or allusions? I have a feeling you will talk about the biblical references. But I’m most curious to hear what you have to say about the purpose of the allusions and references. Is the speaker agreeing with them, subverting them, both? Is the speaker using them as a way to press against or think against, or toward? I know you will say something smart and insightful.”

“Dean: That is a lot of pressure. I’ll try not to let you down.”

The Passenger Sella Maris

Maggie Doherty on Cormac McCarthy’s The Passenger and Stella Maris ( The New Republic )

I didn’t think anyone could persuade me to read another Cormac McCarthy novel after The Road, but Maggie Doherty makes every book sound fascinating by making it part of a bigger, true story.

“Such is the paradox of The Passenger , a novel at once highly attuned to the pleasures of collective life and resistant to the very idea of it. Unlike the violent, stylized books for which McCarthy is best known, this new novel is loose, warm, colloquial. It explores the sustaining, if impermanent, bonds formed among male friends. It’s full of theories and anecdotes, memories and stories, all voiced by some of the liveliest characters McCarthy has ever crafted. The Passenger is McCarthy’s first novel in over 15 years; its coda, S tella Maris , is published in December. Together, the books represent a new, perhaps final direction for McCarthy. The Passenger in particular is McCarthy’s most peopled novel, his most polyphonic—and it’s wonderfully entertaining, in a way that few of his previous books have been. It is also his loneliest novel yet.”

Allison Bulger on Vladimir Sorokin’s Telluria , translated by Max Lawton ( Words Without Borders )

I’m always interested in how critics find new ways to start a review, and Bulger’s opening lines here are a particularly sharp hook.

“Of all the jobs esteemed translator Larissa Volokhonsky has rejected, only one text was physically removed from her apartment on the Villa Poirier in Paris.

‘Take it back,’ she said. ‘Rid me of its presence.’

“The cursed title was Blue Lard (1999) by Vladimir Sorokin, known to some as Russia’s De Sade, and Volokhonsky’s revulsion was par for the course. It would be twenty years before another translator, Max Lawton, would provide eight Sorokin works unseen in the West, including Blue Lard , in which a clone of Khrushchev sodomizes a clone of Stalin.”

Summer Farah on Solmaz Sharif’s Customs ( Cleveland Review of Books )

Farah’s nuanced review of Solmaz Sharif’s new poetry collection further illustrates the potency of a first-person voice.

“Our poets write of our martyrs and resist alongside them; sometimes, I wonder, what life will be like after we are free, and what a truly free Palestine looks like. Last spring, the hashtag “#غرد_كأنها_حرة” circulated on Twitter, a collection of Palestinians imagining life as if our land was free; people imagined themselves moving from Akka to Ramallah with ease, returning to their homes their grandparents left in 1948, and traveling across the Levant without the obstacle of borders. This stanza acknowledges there is more work to be done than just ridding ourselves of the obvious systems that oppress us; decolonization and anti-imperial work are more holistic than we know. Sharif’s work is about attunement to the ways imperialism is ingrained into our lives, our speech, our poetry; this moment is direct in that acknowledgement.”

Nicole LeFebvre on Dorthe Nors’ A Line in the World ( On the Seawall )

LeFebvre opens this review like she’s writing a memoir or a personal essay—an unexpected joy that would be very hard to do in third-person.

“Each morning when I wake up, I hear the gentle crash and lull of waves on a beach. ‘Gather, scatter,’ as Dorthe Nors describes the sound. My eyes open and blink, adjusting to the dark. The sun’s not up yet. I scoot back into my partner’s body, kept asleep by the rhythmic thrum of the white noise machine, which covers the cars idling in the 7-Eleven parking lot, the motorcyclists showing off their scary-high speeds. For a few minutes, I accept the illusion of a calmer, quiet life. ‘Gather, scatter.’ A life by the sea.”

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How to Write a Book Review: A Comprehensive Tutorial With Examples

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You don’t need to be a literary expert to craft captivating book reviews. With one in every three readers selecting books based on insightful reviews, your opinions can guide fellow bibliophiles toward their next literary adventure.

Learning how to write a book review will not only help you excel at your assigned tasks, but you’ll also contribute valuable insights to the book-loving community and turn your passion into a professional pursuit.

In this comprehensive guide,  PaperPerk  will walk you through a few simple steps to master the art of writing book reviews so you can confidently embark on this rewarding journey.

What is a Book Review?

A book review is a critical evaluation of a book, offering insights into its content, quality, and impact. It helps readers make informed decisions about whether to read the book.

Writing a book review as an assignment benefits students in multiple ways. Firstly, it teaches them how to write a book review by developing their analytical skills as they evaluate the content, themes, and writing style .

Secondly, it enhances their ability to express opinions and provide constructive criticism. Additionally, book review assignments expose students to various publications and genres, broadening their knowledge.

Furthermore, these tasks foster essential skills for academic success, like critical thinking and the ability to synthesize information. By now, we’re sure you want to learn how to write a book review, so let’s look at the book review template first.

Table of Contents

Book Review Template

How to write a book review- a step by step guide.

Check out these 5 straightforward steps for composing the best book review.

Step 1: Planning Your Book Review – The Art of Getting Started

You’ve decided to take the plunge and share your thoughts on a book that has captivated (or perhaps disappointed) you. Before you start book reviewing, let’s take a step back and plan your approach. Since knowing how to write a book review that’s both informative and engaging is an art in itself.

Choosing Your Literature

First things first, pick the book you want to review. This might seem like a no-brainer, but selecting a book that genuinely interests you will make the review process more enjoyable and your insights more authentic.

Crafting the Master Plan

Next, create an  outline  that covers all the essential points you want to discuss in your review. This will serve as the roadmap for your writing journey.

The Devil is in the Details

As you read, note any information that stands out, whether it overwhelms, underwhelms, or simply intrigues you. Pay attention to:

  • The characters and their development
  • The plot and its intricacies
  • Any themes, symbols, or motifs you find noteworthy

Remember to reserve a body paragraph for each point you want to discuss.

The Key Questions to Ponder

When planning your book review, consider the following questions:

  • What’s the plot (if any)? Understanding the driving force behind the book will help you craft a more effective review.
  • Is the plot interesting? Did the book hold your attention and keep you turning the pages?
  • Are the writing techniques effective? Does the author’s style captivate you, making you want to read (or reread) the text?
  • Are the characters or the information believable? Do the characters/plot/information feel real, and can you relate to them?
  • Would you recommend the book to anyone? Consider if the book is worthy of being recommended, whether to impress someone or to support a point in a literature class.
  • What could improve? Always keep an eye out for areas that could be improved. Providing constructive criticism can enhance the quality of literature.

Step 2 – Crafting the Perfect Introduction to Write a Book Review

In this second step of “how to write a book review,” we’re focusing on the art of creating a powerful opening that will hook your audience and set the stage for your analysis.

Identify Your Book and Author

Begin by mentioning the book you’ve chosen, including its  title  and the author’s name. This informs your readers and establishes the subject of your review.

Ponder the Title

Next, discuss the mental images or emotions the book’s title evokes in your mind . This helps your readers understand your initial feelings and expectations before diving into the book.

Judge the Book by Its Cover (Just a Little)

Take a moment to talk about the book’s cover. Did it intrigue you? Did it hint at what to expect from the story or the author’s writing style? Sharing your thoughts on the cover can offer a unique perspective on how the book presents itself to potential readers.

Present Your Thesis

Now it’s time to introduce your thesis. This statement should be a concise and insightful summary of your opinion of the book. For example:

“Normal People” by Sally Rooney is a captivating portrayal of the complexities of human relationships, exploring themes of love, class, and self-discovery with exceptional depth and authenticity.

Ensure that your thesis is relevant to the points or quotes you plan to discuss throughout your review.

Incorporating these elements into your introduction will create a strong foundation for your book review. Your readers will be eager to learn more about your thoughts and insights on the book, setting the stage for a compelling and thought-provoking analysis.

How to Write a Book Review: Step 3 – Building Brilliant Body Paragraphs

You’ve planned your review and written an attention-grabbing introduction. Now it’s time for the main event: crafting the body paragraphs of your book review. In this step of “how to write a book review,” we’ll explore the art of constructing engaging and insightful body paragraphs that will keep your readers hooked.

Summarize Without Spoilers

Begin by summarizing a specific section of the book, not revealing any major plot twists or spoilers. Your goal is to give your readers a taste of the story without ruining surprises.

Support Your Viewpoint with Quotes

Next, choose three quotes from the book that support your viewpoint or opinion. These quotes should be relevant to the section you’re summarizing and help illustrate your thoughts on the book.

Analyze the Quotes

Write a summary of each quote in your own words, explaining how it made you feel or what it led you to think about the book or the author’s writing. This analysis should provide insight into your perspective and demonstrate your understanding of the text.

Structure Your Body Paragraphs

Dedicate one body paragraph to each quote, ensuring your writing is well-connected, coherent, and easy to understand.

For example:

  • In  Jane Eyre , Charlotte Brontë writes, “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me.” This powerful statement highlights Jane’s fierce independence and refusal to be trapped by societal expectations.
  • In  Normal People , Sally Rooney explores the complexities of love and friendship when she writes, “It was culture as class performance, literature fetishized for its ability to take educated people on false emotional journeys.” This quote reveals the author’s astute observations on the role of culture and class in shaping personal relationships.
  • In  Wuthering Heights , Emily Brontë captures the tumultuous nature of love with the quote, “He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” This poignant line emphasizes the deep, unbreakable bond between the story’s central characters.

By following these guidelines, you’ll create body paragraphs that are both captivating and insightful, enhancing your book review and providing your readers with a deeper understanding of the literary work. 

How to Write a Book Review: Step 4 – Crafting a Captivating Conclusion

You’ve navigated through planning, introductions, and body paragraphs with finesse. Now it’s time to wrap up your book review with a  conclusion that leaves a lasting impression . In this final step of “how to write a book review,” we’ll explore the art of writing a memorable and persuasive conclusion.

Summarize Your Analysis

Begin by summarizing the key points you’ve presented in the body paragraphs. This helps to remind your readers of the insights and arguments you’ve shared throughout your review.

Offer Your Final Conclusion

Next, provide a conclusion that reflects your overall feelings about the book. This is your chance to leave a lasting impression and persuade your readers to consider your perspective.

Address the Book’s Appeal

Now, answer the question: Is this book worth reading? Be clear about who would enjoy the book and who might not. Discuss the taste preferences and circumstances that make the book more appealing to some readers than others.

For example:  The Alchemist is a book that can enchant a young teen, but those who are already well-versed in classic literature might find it less engaging.

Be Subtle and Balanced

Avoid simply stating whether you “liked” or “disliked” the book. Instead, use nuanced language to convey your message. Highlight the pros and cons of reading the type of literature you’ve reviewed, offering a balanced perspective.

Bringing It All Together

By following these guidelines, you’ll craft a conclusion that leaves your readers with a clear understanding of your thoughts and opinions on the book. Your review will be a valuable resource for those considering whether to pick up the book, and your witty and insightful analysis will make your review a pleasure to read. So conquer the world of book reviews, one captivating conclusion at a time!

How to Write a Book Review: Step 5 – Rating the Book (Optional)

You’ve masterfully crafted your book review, from the introduction to the conclusion. But wait, there’s one more step you might consider before calling it a day: rating the book. In this optional step of “how to write a book review,” we’ll explore the benefits and methods of assigning a rating to the book you’ve reviewed.

Why Rate the Book?

Sometimes, when writing a professional book review, it may not be appropriate to state whether you liked or disliked the book. In such cases, assigning a rating can be an effective way to get your message across without explicitly sharing your personal opinion.

How to Rate the Book

There are various rating systems you can use to evaluate the book, such as:

  • A star rating (e.g., 1 to 5 stars)
  • A numerical score (e.g., 1 to 10)
  • A letter grade (e.g., A+ to F)

Choose a rating system that best suits your style and the format of your review. Be consistent in your rating criteria, considering writing quality, character development, plot, and overall enjoyment.

Tips for Rating the Book

Here are some tips for rating the book effectively:

  • Be honest: Your rating should reflect your true feelings about the book. Don’t inflate or deflate your rating based on external factors, such as the book’s popularity or the author’s reputation.
  • Be fair:Consider the book’s merits and shortcomings when rating. Even if you didn’t enjoy the book, recognize its strengths and acknowledge them in your rating.
  • Be clear: Explain the rationale behind your rating so your readers understand the factors that influenced your evaluation.

Wrapping Up

By including a rating in your book review, you provide your readers with an additional insight into your thoughts on the book. While this step is optional, it can be a valuable tool for conveying your message subtly yet effectively. So, rate those books confidently, adding a touch of wit and wisdom to your book reviews.

Additional Tips on How to Write a Book Review: A Guide

In this segment, we’ll explore additional tips on how to write a book review. Get ready to captivate your readers and make your review a memorable one!

Hook ’em with an Intriguing Introduction

Keep your introduction precise and to the point. Readers have the attention span of a goldfish these days, so don’t let them swim away in boredom. Start with a bang and keep them hooked!

Embrace the World of Fiction

When learning how to write a book review, remember that reviewing fiction is often more engaging and effective. If your professor hasn’t assigned you a specific book, dive into the realm of fiction and select a novel that piques your interest.

Opinionated with Gusto

Don’t shy away from adding your own opinion to your review. A good book review always features the writer’s viewpoint and constructive criticism. After all, your readers want to know what  you  think!

Express Your Love (or Lack Thereof)

If you adored the book, let your readers know! Use phrases like “I’ll definitely return to this book again” to convey your enthusiasm. Conversely, be honest but respectful even if the book wasn’t your cup of tea.

Templates and Examples and Expert Help: Your Trusty Sidekicks

Feeling lost? You can always get help from formats, book review examples or online  college paper writing service  platforms. These trusty sidekicks will help you navigate the world of book reviews with ease. 

Be a Champion for New Writers and Literature

Remember to uplift new writers and pieces of literature. If you want to suggest improvements, do so kindly and constructively. There’s no need to be mean about anyone’s books – we’re all in this literary adventure together!

Criticize with Clarity, Not Cruelty

When adding criticism to your review, be clear but not mean. Remember, there’s a fine line between constructive criticism and cruelty. Tread lightly and keep your reader’s feelings in mind.

Avoid the Comparison Trap

Resist the urge to compare one writer’s book with another. Every book holds its worth, and comparing them will only confuse your reader. Stick to discussing the book at hand, and let it shine in its own light.

Top 7 Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Writing a book review can be a delightful and rewarding experience, especially when you balance analysis, wit, and personal insights. However, some common mistakes can kill the brilliance of your review. 

In this section of “how to write a book review,” we’ll explore the top 7 blunders writers commit and how to steer clear of them, with a dash of  modernist literature  examples and tips for students writing book reviews as assignments.

Succumbing to the Lure of Plot Summaries

Mistake: Diving headfirst into a plot summary instead of dissecting the book’s themes, characters, and writing style.

Example: “The Bell Jar chronicles the life of a young woman who experiences a mental breakdown.”

How to Avoid: Delve into the book’s deeper aspects, such as its portrayal of mental health, societal expectations, and the author’s distinctive narrative voice. Offer thoughtful insights and reflections, making your review a treasure trove of analysis.

Unleashing the Spoiler Kraken

Mistake: Spilling major plot twists or the ending without providing a spoiler warning, effectively ruining the reading experience for potential readers.

Example: “In Metamorphosis, the protagonist’s transformation into a monstrous insect leads to…”

How to Avoid: Tread carefully when discussing significant plot developments, and consider using spoiler warnings. Focus on the impact of these plot points on the overall narrative, character growth, or thematic resonance.

Riding the Personal Bias Express

Mistake: Allowing personal bias to hijack the review without providing sufficient evidence or reasoning to support opinions.

Example: “I detest books about existential crises, so The Sun Also Rises was a snoozefest.”

How to Avoid: While personal opinions are valid, it’s crucial to back them up with specific examples from the book. Discuss aspects like writing style, character development, or pacing to support your evaluation and provide a more balanced perspective.

Wielding the Vague Language Saber

Mistake: Resorting to generic, vague language that fails to capture the nuances of the book and can come across as clichéd.

Example: “This book was mind-blowing. It’s a must-read for everyone.”

How to Avoid: Use precise and descriptive language to express your thoughts. Employ specific examples and quotations to highlight memorable scenes, the author’s unique writing style, or the impact of the book’s themes on readers.

Ignoring the Contextualization Compass

Mistake: Neglecting to provide context about the author, genre, or cultural relevance of the book, leaving readers without a proper frame of reference.

Example: “This book is dull and unoriginal.”

How to Avoid: Offer readers a broader understanding by discussing the author’s background, the genre conventions the book adheres to or subverts, and any societal or historical contexts that inform the narrative. This helps readers appreciate the book’s uniqueness and relevance.

Overindulging in Personal Preferences

Mistake: Letting personal preferences overshadow an objective assessment of the book’s merits.

Example: “I don’t like stream-of-consciousness writing, so this book is automatically bad.”

How to Avoid: Acknowledge personal preferences but strive to evaluate the book objectively. Focus on the book’s strengths and weaknesses, considering how well it achieves its goals within its genre or intended audience.

Forgetting the Target Audience Telescope

Mistake: Failing to mention the book’s target audience or who might enjoy it, leading to confusion for potential readers.

Example: “This book is great for everyone.”

How to Avoid: Contemplate the book’s intended audience, genre, and themes. Mention who might particularly enjoy the book based on these factors, whether it’s fans of a specific genre, readers interested in character-driven stories, or those seeking thought-provoking narratives.

By dodging these common pitfalls, writers can craft insightful, balanced, and engaging book reviews that help readers make informed decisions about their reading choices.

These tips are particularly beneficial for students writing book reviews as assignments, as they ensure a well-rounded and thoughtful analysis.!

Many students requested us to cover how to write a book review. This thorough guide is sure to help you. At Paperperk, professionals are dedicated to helping students find their balance. We understand the importance of good grades, so we offer the finest writing service , ensuring students stay ahead of the curve. So seek expert help because only Paperperk is your perfect solution!

What is the difference between a book review and a report?

Who is the target audience for book reviews and book reports, how do book reviews and reports differ in length and content, can i write professional book reviews, what are the key aspects of writing professional book reviews, how can i enhance my book-reviewing skills to write professional reviews, what should be included in a good book review.

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Danny Dorling

June 4th, 2024, the road to freedom: economics and the good society – review.

0 comments | 3 shares

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

In   The Road to Freedom ,  Joseph Stiglitz   considers the relationship between capitalism and freedom, evaluating democracy, economics and what constitutes a good society. According to  Danny Dorling , the book’s lack of a coherent structure and an outline of what measures could enable a more free and equal society will leave many readers wanting.

Joseph Stiglitz came to LSE in May to speak about the book – watch it back on YouTube .

The Road to Freedom: Economics and the Good Society. Joseph E. Stiglitz. Allen Lane. 2024.

The Road to Freedom by Joseph Stiglitz cover

Stiglitz’s argument in The Road to Freedom is that right-wing economists are “almost poisonous”, by which he means that often that his opponents make malicious arguments such as to suggest that poor children have chosen the wrong parents (83). He reiterates his long-held claim (and obvious truism) that, both in the past and today, “markets were, in fact, not efficient; that … in general the economy is inefficient. ” (78-79, emphasis in the original). It is admirable that Stiglitz battles on trying to explain this to those of his readers who have unevidenced faith in “market efficiency”. However, what alternative is he offering them?

It is admirable that Stiglitz battles on trying to explain this to those of his readers who have unevidenced faith in ‘market efficiency’. However, what alternative is he offering them?

The book is mostly about one man’s “lifetime of scholarship” at places including Columbia, Harvard, Yale and Oxford (295-297). It is more that, than a set of new ideas. According to the author, this scholarship extends the work of John Stuart Mill, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Antonio Gramsci, Thomas Hobbs, Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, John Keynes, and John Galbraith (the most mentioned ten, xv-xviii, 22,23, 25, 87, 131). We do learn that his next book, being written now with colleagues, is to be titled The Other Invisible Hand (154). Presumably this will be an elaboration on his previous comments arguing that most people are not as selfish as most economists are.

So why was this book published? The key reason is because of who its author is. Joseph Stiglitz is currently professor of economics and finance at Columbia University. He was the the winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics, and is the author of many other books, notably Globalization and its Discontents (2002). He was formerly chairman of the council of economic advisers to President Clinton and the chief economist at the World Bank from 1997 to1999; (He left the World Bank after having been outspoken in his criticism of the US’s approach to the Asian financial crisis).

In 2011 Time Magazine ranked Stiglitz among the 100 most influential people in the world, and the (then recently departed from office) British Prime Minster Gordon Brown suggested that he “…got the Asian crisis right, foresaw the bubble that caused such havoc in 2008 and is advocating global answers to a host of problems that can no longer be solved at the local or national level […] his work goes on challenging us all to rethink our ideas, he will always be a controversialist wherever he goes.”

In 2024 ScholarGPS ranked Stiglitz as the world’s most productive social scientist in terms of the “profound impact” (his citations) and the quality (his h-index) of his publications. However, the Scholar GPS ranking does seem a little biased towards the works of white men in the whiter parts of the west, Stiglitz included.

But what are Stiglitz’s priorities as an intellectual today? He explains: “The most important example of a global public good is protecting the world from climate change” (83). Much in the book takes this tone: pronouncements from on high that erase the more pressing concerns of those who live without basic needs being met today, such as safety, shelter and food.

The book lacks a global outlook and substantive depth to its enquiry.

The book lacks a global outlook and substantive depth to its enquiry. There are only a very few references to places other than the US (or to Oxford in England). Stiglitz claims that Finns like paying tax (82), but he does not suggest why. He chastises the French for “…continu[ing] to contribute to global warming unabated” (68) after a tax on diesel use was not implemented; but does not set it in context, for instance, by comparing France’s decarbonisation policy record to that of the US. He suggests that economic growth in China has nothing to do with communism (209) without explaining why. It is hard to imagine China having had such a highly coordinated economy and such determined long-term economic planning without communism.

The book concludes by suggesting that “we can do much better than the current form of capitalism” (277) and that we need a new global economic architecture. As a reader, it is somewhat frustrating to wade through hundreds of pages only to discover that: “This is not the place to delve into what that architecture would fully look like.” (260). Clearly, he is not suggesting that other countries copy China. So, what is Stiglitz advocating, other than a little more kindness and humanity? There are many economies in Europe and elsewhere (such as  Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia,  Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, and Japan) that have, by historic standards, achieved high levels of economic equality which he could have suggested as models for the future of the US; however, perhaps to do so would appear unpatriotic.

The primary purpose of the book, then, remains vague. Stiglitz writes that “we don’t have to answer the question of what every possible good society might look like. We begin where we are. We respect honesty, kindness, other-regardingness, cooperativeness, and empathy. We dislike suffering and deprivations, injustices, and so forth” (213). But the book suffers from not being grounded in a proper examination of at least one different society and its current trajectory or alternative future, and how that currently differs from the US.

There is little new to be learned from this book by economists or students of economics [ … ] a more general audience may gain insight from its analysis of right-wing economists.

There is little new to be learned from this book by economists or students of economics. Compelling insights – such as the fact that in the US, unlike in most countries, resources below land are not owned by the state (109) – are few and far between. That said, a more general audience may gain insight from its analysis of right-wing economists. If intended for general readers, however, its broad-stroke approach is undercut by the book’s lack of a clear and logical structure. Instead, it takes a stream-of-consciousness approach that is difficult to follow and belies the structured approach (of three parts and distinct chapters) indicated in the table of contents. Beyond that, the book’s referencing is severely wanting. it is in several places unconvincing (such as where it just suggests that all that is needed is a little more humanity), vague (see note 17 on page 319) and often self-indulgent (see notes 18, 19 and 20 on 322).

Admittedly, economics appears today to be only just able to begin to take tiny steps out of the mess the discipline is in; at least the kind of economics that still dominates university departments in the US and UK. Students of economics worldwide have rebelled against the orthodox teachings of the old men at the top of the discipline in declining western countries. They have called for more heterodox views to be included in their syllabi. As yet, at least in the most elite of academic institutions, these calls have been largely ignored.

This is not Stigltiz at his finest, and it reflects a hollowness to the so-called international debate, which is currently presented as mainly being held within US Universities

This is a book that might look good on your shelf. Friends and visitors may be impressed by the literary company you keep. But this is not Stiglitz at his finest, and it reflects a hollowness to the so-called international debate, which is currently presented as mainly being held within US Universities. An observer viewing the debate that Stiglitz is part of, where he has to spend so much of his time and so many words in this book countering free-market maniacs, might conclude that by the year 2024, there is still no road to freedom in sight.

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Image credit:  Daniel Avram  on Shutterstock .

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About the author

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Danny Dorling is a professor in the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford, and a Fellow of St Peter’s College. He is a patron of RoadPeace, Comprehensive Future, and Heeley City Farm. In his spare time, he makes sandcastles.

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