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Old April 4 2009, 01:54 AM   #1
Ro_Laren
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What is the Difference Between a Book Review and a Book Summary?

I am doing an assignment for a Grad School class that is 40% of my grade. I am supposed to be doing a "Book Review" and now that I am typing it I am wondering what the difference really is between a book review and a book summary. My teacher said in the syllabus that one of the three things that our review should do is "accurately outline the argument of the book, perhaps chapter by chapter." That seems like a summary to me... Maybe I am confused. Maybe I should not have waited to the last minute to do this report... Maybe it is Friday and I would rather be out having fun then stuck at home with my laptop...
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Old April 4 2009, 02:03 AM   #2
thestrangequark
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Re: What is the Difference Between a Book Review and a Book Summary?

Opinion. A summary gives the facts -- an overview of the characters and the story. A review can, and usually should, contain a summary, but the job of a reviewer is to add his or her voice; a reviewer judges the qualities, makes connections to other media and experiences, and makes recommendations.
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Old April 4 2009, 02:23 AM   #3
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
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Re: What is the Difference Between a Book Review and a Book Summary?

In a review, you share your opinion of the book. A summary is just that, a summary aka just the facts.
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Old April 4 2009, 02:27 AM   #4
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Re: What is the Difference Between a Book Review and a Book Summary?

To me a book summary is just a synopsis/recap of what happens in the book. A book review is a more analytical look at the material that focuses on themes, aspects that you enjoyed or disliked, character dynamics, whether you would recommend it to someone else etc.
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Old April 4 2009, 03:20 AM   #5
ancientone51
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Re: What is the Difference Between a Book Review and a Book Summary?

^What they said. Basically: Summary = Facts; Review = Opinion.

For that much of your grade you would IMHO need to summarize the book as outlined in syllabubs and explain your opinion of the material in the book, what you think of it and WHY you think that way.
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Old April 4 2009, 03:24 AM   #6
Goliath
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Re: What is the Difference Between a Book Review and a Book Summary?

A summary is only part of a book review. A necessary part, but still only a part.

When I assign students to write book reviews, I expect them to accurately and concisely summarize the book's contents and arguments; discuss its methodology and evidence; praise its strengths; criticize its weaknesses; and explain its significance--that is to say, its place in the historiography.

A good rule of thumb is half summary, half discussion and critique.
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Old April 4 2009, 07:43 PM   #7
RJDonner&Blitzen
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Re: What is the Difference Between a Book Review and a Book Summary?

While it's true that a review is an opinion piece and a summary is basically a capsule description, reviews generally contain very incomplete summaries, because most readers haven't read the book yet. This probably doesn't apply to a school assignment, however.
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