How to Analyze a Book and Write Literature Reviewby Samantha Smiles
If you are asked to provide a book analysis, thus it means to provide an evaluation of the meaning and significance of the book, not retelling it. Though it is one of the elements of the book analysis, it is not about retelling the plot and the characters only. It is rather a detailed summarizing of all the elements of the book. The plot analysis and characters description are the parts of the book analysis.
Purpose v. Plot
To provide a quality literature review, it is important to focus on the purpose of a book rather than on its plot. You may even need to refer to some other sources to represent better the core ideas mentioned in a book. It is also highly important to remember that literature review writing is absolutely personal so that it is supposed that you will provide your personal point of view regarding the core topic of a book.
You may presuppose that analysis of a book starts with its reading. That is not quite the matter. Start a book analysis with analysis of a book cover page. A cover is full of images and ideas which refer to the content of the book. Even if there are no images on the cover, that also enables you to provide a cover page analysis. Whatever there is on the cover page, it has its meaning and significance for the book analysis in general. True often students pay not enough attention to the cover page analysis.
What about title analysis? The title is the essence of the book. True often a title can be an open metaphor. Thus, it means that a title can be interpreted and developed by a reader. A title incorporates the idea of the book. It is a literature review, thus, you can provide what images the title provides for you. Is there something special about the title or not? There is one more important thing; you can compare the interpretation of the title before and after the reading of a book. Is it the same or what have changed?
Generally, you start your literature review with providing general information on the author and a book. When was it published, what is this writer famous about, what are the main topics of this writer, if there are, and so on and so forth? You can also mention if it is the first book of this author.
It has been already mentioned that it is important to focus on the purpose of a book and its significance. First of all, a literature review paper is about a meaning of a book. Mind this while providing an analysis of a book. Mention what is the general genre of a book and does a book really fit the frames of this particular genre. How does it contribute to the purpose of a writer? What type of the narrator is in a book? How does it contribute to the purpose of a book? You have to get the idea that an author aims to communicate to his/her audience.
In your literature review, you have to provide what is this particular book significant about? Why is it important to read it? Provide your personal evaluation of the book. What did you like and dislike about this book? Would you recommend reading this book? Why or why not? Explore those issues that the author refers implicitly or explicitly. Certainly, you have to summarize the plot of the book, but it should be a brief summary. The same concerns the main characters of the book. What are their relationships and how does it contribute to the purpose of a book? Finally, put down author`s main idea/ideas and check whether your thesis was substantially argued through the whole literature review.