Good Book Report: How to Write & What to Include

Reading books is pleasurable and entertaining; writing about those books isn’t. Reading books is pleasurable, easy, and entertaining; writing about those books isn’t. However, learning how to write a book report is something that is commonly required in university. Fortunately, it isn’t as difficult as you might think. You’ll only need to find good books to do a book report on.

TThe main book report types are: book analysis, character analysis, and thematic analysis.

The main book report types are: plot analysis, character analysis, and thematic analysis.

Want to learn more? Just keep reading this article by experts! It contains all the necessary information about book report writing: types, basic rules, essential elements of the essay, and great book report ideas.

A book report is a particular type of writing which is intended to give the reader the general idea of a specific work. Even though it is considered a typical college assignment, you can find book reports containing up to five hundred words in magazines and newspapers.

In case you are wondering what you should put in a book report, here is a list of the most common elements:

  • summary
  • description of the characters
  • main themes and ideas

The following sections of this article break down every step of the writing process for you! Moreover, there is a note regarding non-fiction book reviews since they are slightly different.

📜 What Should be Included in a Book Report?

  • The title and the author of the book. This basic information is necessary to include in any book report.
  • Background information. Here you need to focus on the reasons why the author wrote the novel.
  • Summary of the content. Here you summarize the primary ideas of the novel.
  • Examples. If you present an opinion on the book that you’re reporting on, you need to support it with quotes and examples from the text.

🚦 Book Report: Basic Types

Plot Summary & Analysis

For a book summary & analysis, just to retell the story is not enough. It should provide the reader with your general impression of the book and its significance. You need to make a plot analysis, present your opinion on the story, and provide supporting examples from the text.

Below are the plot summary & analysis writing tips.

✔️Avoid retelling the plot and share your feelings instead.
✔️Explain your overall opinion and impression of the book, keeping a positive slant on the writing.
✔️Make sure you support all your arguments and opinions with evidence from the book.

Character Analysis

It is here where you will explore the traits (both personality and physical) of the various characters and discuss how their actions affect the book’s plot and outcome.

Below are the character analysis writing tips.

✔️Explain the impression a character leaves behind. Does this character fit into the era in which the book is set? Is he or she typical for the period? Remember that in books written after the 19th century, a character usually cannot be considered purely positive or negative.
✔️Discuss each character’s gestures, mannerisms, way of speaking, style of dress, and the author’s general description.
✔️Indicate whether or not there is a “fatal flaw” that regularly causes a character to get into trouble.
✔️Make sure you support all your arguments and opinions with evidence from the book.


A theme is a large idea that goes throughout the book. A themes analysis is a great way to deal with more significant literary works.

Below are the tips for writing a themes book report.

✔️Explain the theme, including how and when it is depicted in the book.
✔️Provide examples and quotations from the text to support your analysis and carefully explain each of them.
✔️Discuss how the theme has impacted you and your enjoyment when reading the book.

Book Report Essay Topics

  1. Report on the book Deaf Like Me.
  2. Analyze the characters of the book Death of a Salesman.
  3. Discuss the plot of Tim Berners-Lee’s book Weaving the Web.  
  4. The author’s view of relationships between teachers and teachers in the book Nothing but the Truth.
  5. Report essay on the book The Origins of the Modern World.
  6. The influence of external circumstances on shaping a human’s personality in Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been by Joyce Oates.
  7. Discuss the rhetoric used by Chinua Achebe in Things Fall Apart. 
  8. Benefit of the book The Hobbit for a child’s development.
  9. The significance of mutual concessions in The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.
  10. Book report: Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.
  11. Analyze the leading themes of the book Passing by Nella Larsen.  
  12. Describe the controversial characters of the book Why Don’t You Dance?
  13. Main objectives of Humphrey’s book Once Upon a Time.
  14. Ordinary People by Judith Ann Guest and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey: book report.
  15. Analyze the themes Richard Godbeer discusses in his book Escaping Salem.
  16. The importance of family values in J.D. Vance’s book Hillbilly Elegy.
  17. Explore the subject of the book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.
  18. An unusual view on the history of Canada in the book The Donut: A Canadian History.
  19. Report essay on Khaled Hosseini’s book The Kite Runner.
  20. Analyze the plot of the book A Good Man is Hard to Find.
  21. Discuss the rhetoric techniques Nathaniel Hawthorne uses in his book Young Goodman Brown.
  22. The value of understanding and compassion in R. J. Palacio’s book Wonder.
  23. The tragic story of the Creature in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
  24. The reality of poverty in Road to Wigan Pier.
  25. Discuss Matsuo Basho’s The Narrow Road to the Interior
  26. Analyze the secondary characters of Shakespeare’s Othello
  27. Suzanne Collins’ presentation of problem of inequality in the book The Hunger Games.
  28. Discuss Margaret Atwood’s perspective regarding education described in her book Oryx and Crake.
  29. Main ideas of the book Twelve Years a Slave.
  30. Explore the devices Alice Walker uses in the book Everyday Use to convey her message.
  31. Describe Jane Austen’s book Pride and Prejudice
  32. Report on Selena Maranjian’s book Montley Fool Money Guide.
  33. The relationships between an individual and authority in The Perils of Obedience.
  34. Impact of the themes of loyalty and betrayal on the storyline of Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory.
  35. Examine techniques George Orwell uses to convey his message in the book 1984.
  36. A review and summary of the book The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald.
  37. Report on Virginia Woolf’s book Mrs. Dalloway. 
  38. Describe the characters of the book Into the Wild.  
  39. Analyze the plot of the book The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Juno Diaz.
  40. The consequences of traumatic events and the courage to overcome them in the book Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.
  41. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot: book review.
  42. Explore the main motif of Sophocles’ Oedipus the King.  
  43. The social issues Ken Liu relates to in his book Paper Menagerie.
  44. The importance of the book Family Evaluation for family health providers.
  45. Discuss the moral of the book Fahrenheit 451.
  46. Analyze Ellison Harlan’s book Memos From Purgatory
  47. Examine the main theme of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
  48. Report on the book Women at Work.
  49. Analyze the stylistic devices used by Andrew Geyer in the book Meeting the Dead.
  50. Describe the women characters in the book The Return of Martin Guerre.

📑 Book Report Outline

A strong book report must include the components described below.


It is at this point of the outline that you hook the reader and draw them in. In a very intriguing manner, the introduction must:

  • Be powerful and enlightening without being lengthy
  • Provide some basic information about the book
  • Define the book’s message as you see it
  • Let the reader know what you are planning to analyze

Book Summary

In this part, you need to make a brief overview of the book’s plot, setting, and characters. Imagine that you’re presenting the book to someone who didn’t read it. There’s no need to describe all the details of the story. Focus on the most important things.

Report Body

The body is the central part of your book report. Here you provide your analysis of the book. Its content will depend on what type of essay you need to write. However, some basic tips will help you write a good book report body.

  • Include in your book report body a minimum of three paragraphs and provide one main idea for each.
  • For each paragraph, provide a topic sentence, proof for your arguments, and a concluding sentence.
  • Make sure you stick to your outline and find a good balance between the general and the specific.
  • Afford transition words and sentences that ensure the reader can move smoothly from one paragraph to the next.


Here you concisely summarize your report. Write one to two paragraphs that cover the arguments you made and the substantiating evidence. You can also discuss the book’s contributions to its field and provide recommendations for the reader and a conceivable direction for further research. End with a one-sentence summary that asserts your overall opinion.

👣 How to Write a Book Report Step by Step

There is a slight but essential difference between book reports and reviews. The latter focuses on analyzing and evaluating the writing. Basically, you would give your opinion on the chosen book. The report, on the other hand, is created from a more objective point of view. If you need some help with writing one, here is a short guide for you.

Book Report: Preparation Stage

Before you start reading a chosen book, make sure you know the necessary information about it: author, title, genre, publication. Think about the questions below.

Have you ever heard of this author?
What category of people generally read this genre?
Does the title intrigue you? What can you say about the content of the book based on it?
What can you say about the cover and images included inside?

Book Report: the Stage of Reading

You shouldn’t just carelessly read the book since your main objective is writing a report. Therefore, take notes about the characters, ideas, and quotes that you find exciting.

Can you identify the main characters? Who are the antagonist and the protagonist?
What are the theme and the main idea of the book? Are there any unexpected plot twists?
What makes you want to quote the particular parts of the book?

Writing Your Book Report

First of all, introduce the book and its author. Then, include a summary and discuss the main points that you wrote down. You might want to comment on the elements you liked and the parts you think need some change. Consider the following hints you may refer to while writing down book report ideas.

Think of the author’s writing style and the book’s characters.
The central part of your report should be a summary of the book, not your opinion about it. Only after you present all the information you can highlight the themes and character analysis.
In your short evaluation, you may include a discussion of the book’s prominent motifs and ideas. You can also compare it to the author’s other books.
In the end, it might be a good idea to drop a few words of recommendation. Summarize your article as a whole. How did you like the book in general? Would you recommend it to your friends and why?

Editing & Proofreading Your Report

Except for grammar and punctuation, you should pay attention to the spelling of the names in your report. Take your time and double-check everything. As the final touch, you can also add some meaningful quotes.

If you’re looking for additional advice on how to edit and proofread your texts, check out our article on the topic!

👨‍🔬️ Non-Fiction Book Report

Writing a non-fiction book report becomes challenging when you are not an expert in a subject that the author works on. No need to panic. We prepared a short guide for you, which consists of only two main parts. While reading the book, take notes about the author’s conclusions, recommendations, methodology, and thesis statement. If you are ready to get to the writing process, divide your report into the following sections.

✔️DescriptionIt is the introductory part of your work, so make sure you include at least some information about the author. Then try to find out the book’s background: historical, political, and scientific context. It can give you some hints on its significance later.
Mention the purpose of the book: educate, amuse, or persuade. Then, describe the main idea or thesis statement, which the author most likely put in the introduction or conclusion. After that, don’t forget to write a few words about how the work is organized. It usually depends on the non-fiction book type. For example, historical events may be presented chronologically or grouped around central issues.
Finally, the summary you need to add can vary depending on your audience. If your readers are unfamiliar with the subject, it should be more thorough. To figure it out, consult with your supervisor.
✔️EvaluationReading a couple of other reports can help you create your own point of view. However, don’t forget that if you use any of the ideas from others’ works, you should always credit them.
Next, you need to evaluate the author’s expertise. However, it might be challenging if you know little about the chosen topic. In this case, look through the list of references the author provides and check if there are any unsupported statements.
In the end, write about the book’s pros and cons. Here, feel free to express your opinion regarding the writing style and work’s importance in the field.

🔤 Book Report Tips

Let’s summarize the article and highlight several important tips on how to write a book report.

  1. Write the book review in the third-person, present tense.
  2. Ensure each paragraph is well-developed and that the paragraphs flow well from one to the next.
  3. When writing about the author, discuss their judgments, writing ability, and primary achievements in their writing.
  4. Always support your opinions with substantial evidence and arguments taken from the book.
  5. Be sure to discuss the main characters and the immediate problems they face in the book.
  6. Summarize the book; do not go into a detailed retelling of it.
  7. Be sure to provide a detailed analysis of the author’s intended message and how it is delivered.
  8. Remember that book report essays must remain objective in their analysis of the book’s content and structure.

🔗 References

This article was developed by the editorial team of, a professional writing service with 3-hour delivery.
Comments (3)

Darryl Ott
Darryl Ott

It seems to me , hard to write a book report without writing a review. Specially about a book you don’t like

Candy White
Candy White

Grand help with my paper bag book report writing. I didn’t know what to write in this paper, but your post suggested how to cope with it. Sincerely, Candy


I had no idea what to write in my paper bag book report. This topic seems devoid of any interesting message. But thanks to your post on paper bag book report writing, I know how to cope with it! Thanks a lot!!!