You can begin a project of comparing and contrasting two books by choosing the books or by choosing an author or theme first and then books that suit.
When you compare in reference to two books, you address one or more ways in which the two books display similarities. When you contrast in reference to two books, you address one or more ways in which the books display differences. Project instructions might define quite specifically the books and the contrasts and comparisons to consider, or they might offer considerable choice. The result of the project usually involves an essay or a report. The more leeway you have, the more choices you need to make before starting the project.
1. Read the first book, then read the second book. Return to the first book now that you have some awareness of the information in both books and reread to take notes on similarities and differences. Reread the second book making similar notes.
2. Explore, when comparing and contrasting books by two authors who wrote during different literary periods, whether the books portray similar or different values. If different, evaluate whether this suggests transient values associated with a specific culture or simply a difference in personal interest between the authors. If similar, consider whether this suggests the shared themes illustrate enduring values or simply reflect a coincidence of personal interest between the authors.
3. Analyze, when exploring books by two different authors who wrote fiction at or around the same time, such considerations as whether the two books show a stylistic similarity or difference, and if a similarity whether anything about the books suggests that the common style derived from the fabric of the culture the authors worked within. Also look for characteristics such as period vocabulary and sterotypical versus realistic characters.
4. Address, when comparing two fiction books by the same author, such comparisons as character development in an early novel versus a novel written well into an author’s career. Consider if the two novels by the same author suggest author preference for first- or third-person narrative or the “I” versus the “he/she” voice, or if there appears to be no viewpoint preference.
5. Compare, when examining a nonfiction book and a fiction book by the same author, such similarities and distinctions as linguistic style between an informational piece and a novel as another example. Examine, for a fiction and a nonfiction book by the same Christian author who writes both such as Liz Curtis Higgs or Max Lucado, differences in the author’s portrayal of the same Biblical theme or themes in a novel versus a book intended to explain the background of Biblical events or a book based on a preacher’s congregational homilies.
6. Outline the essay or report in a logical way based on your notes about differences and similarities between the books. You can explore an aspect of difference or similarity all the way through one book and then all the way through the other. You can also take a particular passage from each book and examine similarities and differences the passage illustrates, then repeat this for different passages illustrating a range of comparisons and contrasts.
7. Write your essay in longhand and type or word process it later, or write your comparison-contrast piece directly on a word processing system if you can compose comfortably that way. Ensure in typing the report or essay that you incorporate any appropriate back notes or bibliography, that is a list of references including the two books you are comparing and contrasting, after you conclude the main narrative of your report or essay.
8. Proofread, if you are doing the comparison-contrast project as a formally assigned project. Identify any changes, revisions or corrections of such mechanics as grammar, spelling and typographical errors you want to make. Make these changes and reprint your document. Turn in the comparison-contrast essay or report to your instructor.