Your instructor is expecting a book report due in a few days. You’ve read the book, but you’re just so bored by the prospect of writing another book report that you don’t even feel like starting.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Book reports can be a great way to show some creativity and — dare I say it — can even be fun.
Go ahead, roll your eyes. Talking about book reports can sound like this:
But after you’re done doubting, take a look at some of the book report ideas I have provided below. Try one out and you’ll be surprised how much better it’ll be to write that report — and hopefully how much better your grade will be.
What Is a Book Report?
A book report is a project to show that you understand what you’ve read. Many instructors get creative and might deviate from an essay into skits, sculptures, drawings or music. But, for the sake of this post, I’m going to concentrate on the writing side.
In elementary and middle school, you might have written tons of book reports that were simple summaries of the book you read. But a college level book report should be so much more than that. Incorporating anything that shows your knowledge of the book’s themes, characters, settings, or other important elements are acceptable, which gives you a lot of room for creativity.
Why You Should Make Your Book Report as Interesting as Possible
While it might be easier for you to write a summary of the book and call it a day, that certainly won’t be a very entertaining book report to read or to write. Get those creative juices flowing because writing an interesting book report has lots of benefits, including:
It’s More Fun to Write
When you hear “book report” come from your teacher’s mouth, “fun” is probably not the first word that comes to mind. But it could be if you make it fun. Coming up with a new approach to an old assignment can help the whole project go by faster and make it not seem like work.
It Helps Your Brain
So many school assignments are done with such a formulaic approach that sometimes book report writing can be one of your only opportunities to get creative — so seize the day! Using creativity when you write can help your memory, cognition, language processing and other parts of the brain.
It also helps you actually develop new writing skills instead of just repeating the same writing techniques for every assignment. Later you could use these skills to write poetry, novels or go into journalism.
Even if you don’t, good writing skills are essential in good communication — and that’s good in any situation.
It’s More Fun to Read
You’re probably doing this book report for a grade, right? Well the more entertained your teacher is while reading your book report, the higher your grade might be (provided you have included all the required information, of course). Your teacher has most likely read too many book reports to count, so make yours one of the ones to stick out in his or her memory.
10 Book Report Ideas
Below I’ve given you ten book report ideas to get you started on your writing. I made them general enough to be applied to almost any book you happen to be reading. Just remember to run these ideas over with your teacher first because he or she might have a different idea on how you should tackle your book report.
1. Create a childhood for an adult character. This kind of book report should draw on the personality traits of an adult character in the novel you’re reading and explain how that character came to be that way. An example might be Jonathan Harker from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Explain how he came to meet Mina, his ideological background, why he’s not superstitious, etc. Get creative — there are plenty of possibilities to explore.
2. Similarly you could create a future for one of the characters. Take Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. She ends up in the same place she started because the entire story was just a dream. But that dream could have changed her entire outlook on life. What did she do when she grew up? DId her relationship to her sister change after that day? And what became of Dinah?
3. Recreate the story from the point of view of the antagonist or minor character. Use the main events in the story and explore them through the eyes of a different character. Retell any of the Harry Potter novels from Draco’s perspective or, better yet, Moaning Myrtle. Imagine the kinds of gossip she overheard in the girls’ bathroom about what was going on in the school.
4. Write a mock chat room conversation for one or more of your characters. This would be especially fun for something like Cyrano de Bergerac when chat rooms would have been completely foreign. What kind of chat room would Cyrano be a part of? What would he say? You could even have Cyrano meet his love interest, Roxane, in the chat room as a sort of modern adaptation.
5. Write an opinion column from the character’s perspective. It’s easiest to do with an outspoken character, but I think this would be awesome from a quirky character’s point of view. I’ll use another Harry Potter reference and say Luna Lovegood would be a perfect candidate for this kind of project. She would offer a unique perspective on the main events of the story.
6. Write a college application letter for one of your characters. This is especially helpful if you are close to applying for college yourself — you can get a little extra practice in. Choose a character like Katniss from The Hunger Games and tell about her leadership skills and main accomplishments (there are so many to choose from in her case so it shouldn’t be hard).
7. Create a brochure or advertisement copy about the setting(s) of your book. This can be really fun for post-apocalyptic or dystopian novels. The Giver would be a great example where everything is gray and everyone has a specific role to play. You can get satirical or sarcastic with this, and it’ll work pretty well with this kind of project.
8. Write letters between you and a character. Show that you understand a certain character and the events they encounter by creating letters to and from that character. Write a letter to Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and ask him about meddling in other people’s love lives. Then create what you think his response would be based off of what happened in the story and his personality.
9. Create a character yearbook. This is good for ensemble cast books like Stephen King’s Under the Dome. Choose a character and write what their friends, classmates or other characters might sign in the yearbook. Then make superlatives like “Most likely to succeed,” “Most popular,” or “Most likely to figure a way out of the Dome.”
10. Write a character’s journal or diary. This would be very easy for the main character of a first-person story, but try to make it more challenging by going with a third-person story so you don’t already know the character’s thoughts. Creating the diary of Juliet from Romeo and Juliet, for example, would be interesting as she fell in love quickly, got married in secret, and devised a plan to be with Romeo (even if the end didn’t go quite as she had planned).
These are just a few book report ideas to get the wheels in your head turning. I’m sure you can think of a lot more creative ideas — but feel free to use one or more from the list above if you’d like.
Also, I recommend reading this post before you get started: How to Write a Good Essay: Stop Summarizing, Start Commentating.
If you get through your book report and feel that it’s still a little lackluster, send it over to one of the Kibin editors. They’ll be able to help make it shine!