A few months ago I had said that I’d write the review of Nicholas Nickleby once I could finish it. I remember it took me at least two months to complete it because many times I abandoned reading it and started other books (which I never completed). Since then I have read excellent reviews of books by very scintillating writers. How do they do that? How do they write such lengthy extracts from the book being reviewed?

I think if you wish to write a professional review, you have to read the book keeping that in mind. Not only that, several references are taken from other books the author has written. I was doing some research and found the following points to facilitate a decent book review. Assuming it’s a fictional work.

Start with the title, the author and the publication. Tell the reader how you find the book – is it boring or interesting, is it engaging, confounding, or spiritual. Do you agree with the overall theme of the book? Why? Do you disagree? Why? What is the style of the writer? Does the writer get his or her style from another famous writer? Are you able to draw parallels with another story?

Then come to the meat of the story. What does it deal in? How well is the theme handled and how deep the writer goes? Do you feel everything has been covered, or many things have been left? Suggest how other writers have written about the same subject (my god! Read another book!).

In the end, does the book personally affect you? How? Would you recommend it?

The other embellishments depend on individual reviewer. I would never start a review straightaway. If I write a review, I’ll try to make it a personal affair. I believe whatever a writer (a reviewer is a writer too) writes, the writer, at some level, has to relate to what he or she is writing.