Essays are very common in middle school, high school, and college. Even after graduating college, you may need to write essays in the business world in the form of reports. However, writing an essay about a book takes a slightly different turn. It usually involves writing a detailed summary of the plot of a book or a simple book review.
This writing process may seem as simple as sitting down at the computer and beginning to type for some. But a lot more planning goes into writing a book essay successfully. If you have never written one before or struggle with talking about a book in an essay, you should read on.
In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide on how to write essays on books and give you some important steps in the essay writing process.
How to start an essay about a book
A book essay involves closely studying a text, interpreting its themes, and exploring why the author makes certain choices. It can be applied to novels, plays, short stories, poems, or any other form of literary writing.
Book essays aren’t merely book summaries. They can be a form of argumentative essay where you need to analyse the text’s perspective, language, and structure. They also explain how an author uses literary terms and elements to create emotional effects and convey ideas.
Before starting a book essay, it’s vital to carefully read the book and develop a thesis statement to keep your essay focused. As you write, you should follow the standard structure of a professional essay.
It should take this structure:
- An introduction that gives the reader an idea of what your essay will focus on.
- The main body, which is divided into paragraphs that develop an argument using the text’s ideas.
- A conclusion that summarises the main ideas you have given with your analysis.
Mentioning a book in an essay
Writing a book essay is not as easy as it may seem, especially when you are not sure how to write a book title in an essay. Some of the questions that most students ask include; Can I use quotation marks? Should I underline the book title? Will I use italics? Does the format depend on the referencing of the paper?
Every question highlighted is essential in learning how to mention a book in an essay. However, it is important to know that different writing styles have varying writing standards.
The style used to write a title of a book in an essay varies based on the formatting style of the paper. There are the APA, MLA, and Chicago writing styles.
Let’s take the example of an APA format.
The rules that apply to an APA format are different from those used in MLA and Chicago writing formats. Here are some of them:
- Capitalise the first word and every word with more than four letters
- For two-part hyphenated words, capitalization of both words is necessary
- Words after dash or colon should also be capitalised
- Use quotation marks instead of italics for reference material such as dictionaries.
- Use italics for titles of Books, Films, Videos, journals, magazines, newspapers, and TV shows.
Learning the different book title writing styles for each paper format is very important, especially when writing a college essay about a book.
How to write an essay about a book
Writing a book essay can be tricky, so here are the steps that will guide you:
- Read the book and locate literary devices
The first step is to read the book and take notes carefully. As you read, pay attention to the main points of the story. For instance, you can take note of things that are intriguing, surprising, or even confusing in writing. These usually form the basis of your analysis.
To begin your analysis, there are many key areas that you can focus on. As you analyse each element of the text, try to think about how they all connect.
- Generate a thesis
Your thesis in a book essay is the point you want to make about the text. It’s usually the main argument that gives your essay direction and prevents it from being a collection of random observations about a book. If you’re given a prompt for your essay, your thesis must directly relate to the prompt.
- Write a title and introduction
To start your book essay, you’ll need a good title and an introduction.
The title should indicate what your analysis will focus on. It generally contains the author’s name and the book you’re analysing. Keep it as brief and interesting as you can.
Your essay introduction should provide a brief outlook of where your argument is going. It should contain your thesis statement and an outline of the essay’s structure.
- Write the body
Each paragraph in the main body should focus on one topic or argument of your book essay. Don’t try to add everything you can think about the text, but only key analysis that fuels your argument.
- Write your conclusion
The conclusion of your analysis should wrap up the essay and summarise your key points while emphasising their significance to the reader. To achieve this, briefly summarise your key arguments, and locate the conclusion they’ve led you to.
Unlike regular essays, writing a book essay requires adherence to more rules and writing formats. You should always comprehensively read the book you want to write an essay about and follow a given writing style.