I have to write a book report for my English class but have no idea where to start. Our teacher only gave us basic guidelines. ( 12 point font, times new roma, etc.) I chose this book book...

I have to write a book report for my English class but have no idea where to start. Our teacher only gave us basic guidelines. ( 12 point font, times new roma, etc.) I chose this book book "Scandalous Women" by Elizabeth Kerri Mahon which is filled with short stories about history's most notorious women. Most stories have a feministic point of view and i was wondering if i should write about how feminism has changed not only throughout time but throughout the world. 

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The first thing to do in writing a book report is to explain what the book is about. No doubt you would state that Scandalous Women is an anthology of short stories by this Elizabeth Kerri Mahon, then make some general statement of what the stories have in common, and then select a few that appealed to you the most.

The next thing to do would be to tell your reader something about the author. This would include a little biography and a some discussion of other books she may have written. (Incidentally, if the stories in Scandalous Women were previously published in magazines, you might want to mention which magazines published them.)

The last thing to do is to express your own opinions about the book--but not about feminism has changed not only throughout time but throughout the world. That sounds like an essay and not a book report, and it seems to digress too much from the book. However, I haven't read the book. The fact that "most stories have a feministic point of view" is certainly something you should include in your report, and you could elaborate on that aspect as long as you focused on the book and didn't get too involved in your own ideas about the history and evolution of feminism.

Some reviewers who report on anthologies will devote a sentence or two to each of the stories in the volume. Your reader mainly wants to know what the book is about, who wrote it, and whether it is worth reading. You might ask yourself what you would like to know about Scandalous Women if you had never read it. You should try to leave your reader with a pretty good idea of what the book is about and whether you liked it enough to recommend it.

You might pick out a few direct quotes from the book to give the reader an idea of the style and just to give your paper a little eye-appeal. Your report will probably be double-spaced, but the quotes can be single-spaced. Naturally you should quote things you liked yourself. But you can't use too many quotes or it will look like you are padding your paper.

You can look up other reviews of almost any book in Book Review Digest at any good library to see what other reviewers have had to say. But maybe it is better to write your own review first, then read others to see if you have overlooked anything important. There is a separate volume of Book Review Digest for each year. If a book comes out, let is say, in 2010, you should look at the volume for that year and also the volume for 2012. The publication date is usually shown on the back of the title page. Sometimes a book comes out around Christmas, and the reviews don't come out until the following year. Book Review Digest, in the reference department, is a very good reference set to know about.

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