The Greeks were the first to produce scroll reviews of books. That’s what they used to call them in the olden days in Athens. Today they are called book reviews and were first published in Paris, France around the middle of the seventeenth century. They began to grow and soon turn themselves into literary criticism which is nothing but analyzing a book for its content and style before getting it on the market. The demand for this kind of criticism grew as authors began to favor them for the simple reason that they help sell their books. The public wanted to read them, too, to see what the reviewer had to say about their assessment and taste. Book reviews were now on the way to becoming an important tool to get a book in the right hands of people, the ones who would read them and thus help the author sell them. First, they began in periodicals and then spread to schools and universities and after that to magazines and newspapers and are currently enjoying a display of higher learning on the Internet. They can be done in either fiction or nonfiction and vary in length which can go from a paragraph or two to a full-size essay. All sides seem to love to get them out as they benefit everyone related to the production of the book.
Book reviews after a time became a teaching tool in schools and universities. They were soon assigned to students to help them sharpen their analytical abilities. They would have to read the book, analyze its content and then infer if the author had achieved the purpose of the plot. At the end, it was also expected of them to speculate on the subject matter the book was dealing with to make sure that everything was understood.
A lot of students soon realize that book reviews were important and could be carried out easily if they follow the rules established by experienced reviewers. The principal idea of reviewing the book is to communicate to the reader the ideas and sensations the reviewer had while analyzing the material. He has to make the person become aware of what the author wanted to reveal, what he himself got out of the story, and how the events took place. He also has to show the reader that her or his judgments are based on experience and not just what s/he feels like expressing about the story at hand. Adherence to the guidelines would have to be appropriately carried out to make the review successful.
As professional work, away from the classroom, book reviews need some extra added skills to satisfy a very demanding public that s/he must convince to acquire the product. The professional reviewer has to go through the book in a detailed way to search for implications and understatements that the author has made and bring them to light for the reader. A book reviewer who knows how to go about the business has to put things in such a way that s/he develops the reader’s interest based on the fact that s/he knows what the book is about. S/he must put forth the main ideas in the work and make the reader take into account the ones that are meaningful and the ones that aren’t. Both are important for a complete understanding of the work.
It is not an easy task to go about a job like this for the reviewer has to go even further and judge whether the author managed to convince the audience or her or his evidence was weak and unsatisfactory. This is what it takes to produce excellent reviews.
As is plain to see by now, book reviews play an important role in not only evaluating the quality of a book but also helping it sell. They have a goal to reach and a lot of people who are watching and waiting to see if they’ve accomplished it. They can’t afford to let the public down because of the importance of their work in making known the content of the book reviewed. They have to get their information out and in a fast and reliable way and make sure that it’s intact. Mistakes can be very costly if they don’t scrutinize or tear the content of the book apart and let their readers know that their perception of the text is valid. They have to guide them in such a way that after reading the review they will want to purchase the book.
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