7 SparkNotes and CliffsNotes Alternatives for Book Summaries

MakeUseOf | 10/15/2019 | Dan Price
vegdancer18 (Posted by) Level 3
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Book summaries aren’t only useful for students who haven’t done their homework. Very few of us have read all the literary world’s greatest titles, yet we’re expected to have at least a working knowledge of everything from Macbeth to Ulysses.

You can save yourself the time (and torture!) of reading thick tomes by heading to websites like SparkNotes that offer chapter summaries for books.

SparkNotes - Option - Book - Analysis - SparkNotes

But SparkNotes isn’t the only option out there. Here are eight book analysis websites that are reliable SparkNotes and CliffsNotes alternatives.

BookRags is a student-focused book summary website. In addition to the reviews and chapter summaries, it also offers lesson plans for teachers, biographies of more than 1,500 authors, and a “Homework Help” section.

Students - Homework - Help - Feature - Questions

Students can use the Homework Help feature to ask specific questions about books, which other members of the community endeavor to answer.

The book summaries are sub-divided into categories such as Literary Movements, Plays, Non-Fiction, Poetry, and Shakespeare. You’ll even find some movie summaries.

Summaries - BookRags - Require - Plan - Month

Most of the summaries on BookRags require you to subscribe. A plan costs $20 for a month or $100 for a year. There are a few free summaries that you can access using the link in the left-hand panel.

WikiSummaries is a wiki, meaning anyone can edit content and add new books. Thousands of books summaries are available, all of which are free to access and read.

Downside - Book - Summaries - WikiSummaries - Depth

The downside of the book summaries on WikiSummaries is the depth of the content. The majority of books don’t have more than a few paragraphs dedicated to them. Some are only a few sentences long. Yes, they’ll give you an overview of the plotline if that’s all you want, but for students who are looking for a deeper analysis of the underlying themes, the site will not suffice.

JSTOR is arguably the best alternative to CliffsNotes and SparkNotes. In many...
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