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Follow These Tips to Write an Amazing College Level Book Report

Shruti Bhat May 13, 2019
You probably have been writing book reports for years. But, at a college level, your book report is expected to be more mature and covering more topics than just that particular book. Got you wondering about how to write a college level book report?

Writing Tip

Adding some quotes from the book shows you that you know what you are talking about.
At the college level, you are expected to understand more than what the words are saying. You need to understand the blank verses, and the depths and references in the book.
The key factor in writing a book report is to know where the author is coming from, which era, social background, economic background, family, sexual orientation, age, events occurring in the author's life during the writing, etc. It is not as tiring as it sounds.
As a matter of fact, you've won half the battle once you are done with the multiple readings. Yes, readings; one time reading isn't sufficient. To write an effective college level book report, you need to read the book at least 2 to 3 times. It will give you a better perspective on what is being said and what the author is meaning to say.
Once you are done with the reading, it's time to read up on the author and a couple more books he/she has written; now this you can read just once. Finally, you can begin with writing the book report.

Structure of the Book Report


In the introduction, you are expected to provide the basic information about the book, without revealing the entire plot. You need to include:

▶ The title (underlined)
▶ Name of the author
▶ Publication information; year of publication, editions, and name of the publisher
▶ Genre
▶ A few words about the book; for example, review, and what the book is about



This is the main idea of the story. For example, is the book autobiographical, is it about coming to age, friendship, love, tragedy, murder, etc.? Give examples to support your perspective.
Give footnotes, referring the page number and paragraph. This will show that you have read the book and not copied from someone or off the Internet. Do not plagiarize. If you must use the words used by someone else, give due credit to that writer as well.


Now comes the time, era, social and economic background. If the author is a woman, then the struggles she's mentioned through her character. How far long ago did the story take place? Time passed in the story; such as days, weeks, months, years, or lifetime.
For example, Nicolas Spark's 'The Note Book' speaks of months and years of gap between the two lovers meeting again, then years of happy married life, and then they are sitting at home. Or, in Charles Dickens' novel David Copperfield, David spending most of his youth in his aunt's house, and then later he is seen as a young man looking for a bride for him.
The skipping of years is most common in books. Here, you could also mention if the book is written in flashback; another very commonly used technique by authors.


Here, you will write the synopsis of the story. What is the conflict in the story? What was the chain of occurrences which lead the story ahead? What was the end result or conclusion? How did the story end?
Try not to tell the whole story in detail. Just a brief run-through of the story, touching every element, but not getting into it too deep. The report needs to speak about a lot more topics than the summary of the story.

Characters and Character Sketch

Who does the story revolve around? Who is the protagonist? For example, Elizabeth Bennet form Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Who are the other very important characters in the story?
For example, Fitzwilliam Darcy, better known as Mr. Darcy; Mr. and Mrs. Bennet; the Bennet sisters; the Bingleys; Mr. William Collins; Mr. Whickham; Georgiana Darcy from the Pride and Prejudice; etc. Who are the characters or villains that hinder the protagonists?

For Fiction

Now that all the cards are out in the open, you can give your opinion about it. This is where the extra reading will come in handy. Did you like the story? What is the part or character of the book that you connected with, and why? Which is the best part in the story, and why? How did the story make you feel, and why?
Has the story influenced you on any level? Are there any autobiographical elements in the story. Support your answers with examples. Compare the author's similar works and common elements between the story (if any). What are the strengths and weaknesses of the book? How was the writing? Was it powerful, weak, effective, flowery, difficult, easy, etc.?

For Non-fiction

If the book is autobiographical, try not to be judgmental about any aspect of the story or the life or life choices made. But you can agree or disagree with the choices made by the author.
You can also narrow it down to a particular topic, viz, feminist struggles seen in the story, abuse, socioeconomic diversity, periodic writing. Compare it to the other works of that time (it can be of other authors).


A good conclusion needs to sum up the report. It needs to include the overall opinion of the book in a few sentences, and why people need to read the book.
When you read more about the topic, the author, other works of the same author, era, and the genre, you get a better perspective about the topic.
While writing, keep your language simple. Check for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Read and reread your work. With every reading of your book report, you will make necessary changes, giving your literary work a better finish.