Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Writing a Book Review

What is a book review?

A book review is a description, analysis, and evaluation of a book. It reflects your opinion of the book, how you feel about the book’s purpose, content and authority. It talks about the quality, meaning and significance of the book as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the book.

When people read your review, they can decide for themselves if it’s worth their money and time to read the book. Therefore, it is valuable not only to readers looking for books, but also to the author who is trying to promote the book in a positive way.

A book review is not:

  • a summary of the book that reveals the plot and climax. No one wants to read a book if they already know the story so take caution not to give away too many details about the book.
  • a book report like you did in high school
  • an opportunity to expound on your relationship to the author. The review is about the book.

How to Write a Book Review

Before you write your review, ask yourself “What would I have wanted to know before I read the book?”

Steps to writing a book review:

1. Write a bibliographical statement, giving important information about the book:title, author, copyright date, type of book, general subject matter, special features, price and ISBN. (If you are leaving this review on a site like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or CBD, this information is already provided. But if you’re writing the review for a blog post, newsletter, newspaper, or magazine, you’ll need to provide as much information as you can to avoid any confusion about the book being reviewed.

2. State the author’s purpose in writing the book. Look in the preface or first chapter to find this information. If you don’t find it there, ask yourself some questions:
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • What is the genre, and how does the book fit into it?
  • Why did the author write on this subject?
  • Did the author try to give information, explain something technical, or convince the reader of something?
  • How did the book affect you? Did you change your ideas because of it? 
  • How did it fit in with your worldview? Did it bring up old memories?
  • Did the book achieve its purpose? Would you recommend it to a friend?
3. Comment on how the author tells the story and keeps you interested. 

4. Research the author online through biographical information, reputation, qualifications and experience. This allows you to establish the authority of the author.

5. Depending on the type of book, you may need to comment on cover, layout and any pictures or maps that helped you understand the book better.

6. Check the back matter: index, endnotes, bibliography. Is the material accurate and useful?

7. Briefly summarize and comment on the author’s ideas and main points. Use quotations from the book to support your statements.

8. Be detailed and specific, without giving away the plot. There is no set length for a book review. The publisher usually sets the number of words. Online they are usually 150-300 words, but in a magazine, they may be as much as 500 words.

Any time you read a good book, take the time to write a review on at least one of the Web sites like www.amazon.com, www.bn.com, www.cbd.com, www.goodreads.com

Remember you are doing a service for the writer and the reader.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Hide It in Your Heart

Tips for Memorizing Scripture

Most of us don’t read the Bible when we’re looking for something to do in our leisure time.There are many other things we’d rather do with our time—read a good book, watch TV, play sports, walk on the beach, and on the list goes. Don’t we care about what God has to say to us personally? Don’t we want the intimacy with God that comes when we pray and study His word? What’s our excuse? Each of us needs to ask that question because internalizing God’s word is the most significant way God speaks to us and teaches us His precepts.

In Psalm 119:11, the psalmist says “Your Word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you” (NIV). In verse 16b he says, “I will not forget your Word.” and then he says, “Your Word has given me life” (vs. 50b). In verse 105 we read “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” These verses assure us of the importance of having God’s word in our hearts, but knowing is not enough.

Memorizing scripture is not an easy task and there needs to be real motivation in order to be successful at it. We must have a driving desire to know Him better, to walk closer to Him, to serve Him faithfully and to feel His presence with us in our daily walk. How can we hide His Word in our hearts?

The Bible is a big book with some 783,137 words. We cannot hope to memorize all of it, though a few have memorized all of it. Dr. Bill Bennett, founder of Mentoring Men for the Master, says, “It’s hard by the yard, a cinch by the inch.” In other words, it’s much harder to memorize long passages than to learn one or two verses at a time. Therefore, we need to begin with an “inch” and later we might master a “yard.” (Read more. . .)

Specifically, there are four rules for memorizing scripture:

(1) Study diligently. You must know it in your head before you can hide it in your heart.
Pray and ask God to direct your thoughts to the things He wants you to learn.

(2) Consider which verses you want to memorize during the week. Write the verses for the week on a piece of paper; carry it with you every day. Keep the verses in your heart by
memorization and meditation. Ask Him questions about things you don’t understand.
Don’t rush; take all the time you need to listen to the still small voice of God.

(3) Show it in your life as you live by it and obey its teachings. Having the scripture hidden in your heart will give you power to live by it. Have an accountability partner who will ask you about your verses and listen to you say them.

(4) Finally, use the verses in your daily routine. Quote scriptures that offer hope and
encouragement for co-workers and friends. Let them see that it’s an important part of your life.

At the end of each week, put the paper with your verses in a notebook; review your notebook at least once a week.

  • (a) Write the verses for the week on a sheet of paper; carry it with you every day. Read the verses when you have a minute---break-time, waiting for appointments, waiting in traffic, etc.
  • (b) Have an accountability partner who will ask you about your verses and listen to you say them. 
  • (c) At the end of the week, put the paper in a notebook; review it at least once a week Add new verses. You’ll be surprised at how God will bring these Scriptures to mind just when you need them most.
Our goal is to be saturated with His Word. When His word is hidden in our hearts, it becomes visible to us and to others in our daily walk.