College Level Book Report
A book report written in college should display college-level analysis and writing. This means that a college level book report must be a formal critical document that reveals the writer's thorough understanding of and engagement with the text. College level book reports, in other words, are more like essays than they are like the short summaries and brief reviews a student likely wrote for his or her high school level story critiques.
A college level project should transition smoothly from one section to the next in such a way that the document as a whole reads as a coherent and consistent text—much in the same way as an article. In addition, the document should have a thesis much like an essay would that is presented in the report's introduction. This thesis should be an assertion of the reader's overall assessment and analysis of the book. For instance, in a book about World War II that the student found to be an excellent and accurate depiction of the reality of life in occupied France, the thesis might be that "John Doe's painstakingly researched monograph on life in Nazi-occupied France presents a historically accurate and emotionally moving depiction of the reality of French life under the Nazi regime." Notice that in this thesis, the author's name is mentioned, the type of book is identified (monograph), the subject of the book is clearly outlined (life in Nazi-occupied France), and the writer presents his assessment of the book (it presents a historically accurate and emotionally moving depiction of the reality of French life under the Nazi regime). If this book were not a fabrication and actually had a title, the title would also be included in the thesis statement.
As with any other thesis-based text, a college level project should expand, develop, and explain the thesis throughout the duration. The best way to do this is to integrate a summary of the book with a critical, text-based development of the report's thesis. For instance, the writer may present an overview of the content of the first section of the book and comment on how this part of the book develops the historical record of pre-war France, all the while pointing out the author's inclusion of particular details of French everyday life. Next, when he summarizes and analyzes the section about life in occupied France, he can contrast some of those everyday details from pre-war France with the everyday details from occupied France. Just as in an article, each paragraph should relate in some way back to the thesis statement so that by the end of the document, the reader is aware not only of what the book is about, but how the book can be understood in terms of the writer's thesis.
College level book reports should end by commenting on the style of the book and presenting the writer's overall impressions of the book's quality. It is also appropriate for college level book reports to offer suggestions about what groups of people may find the book most insightful or informational.
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