The The Collected Works of Billy the Kid: Left Handed Poems Assignment Test Object Thing(ness)
1. Read this (this thing 1 cm. below)
P. J. O’Rourke, the political satirist, reviews in this issue a new book about Starbucks. He told us, in an e-mail exchange, how he brews his own reviews: “I read something I’m reviewing the same way I read other things except more so. That is, I already keep a commonplace book (a file folder, really) for quotations, ideas, information, etc. If I’m going to write a review I mark the work for myself, but besides underlining what interests me I also underline what — as far as I can tell — interested the author. By the time I’m done I have an outline for the review. All I have to do is figure out a smart-aleck lead sentence and a wiseacre ending.”1
2. Then read the “How to write a Book Review” article on the very next page. Yes, it is a bit long but the information is really quite good.
3. Over the week go to www.salon.com or to http://www.nytimes.com/pages/books read at least five reviews and then divide them into good and bad reviews. Think about the specific qualities that define the better ones. The article from step two of this process will be helpful at this point. At the end of the day a good book review sees an interesting pattern or spins your understanding of the book in a new and delightful way…and importantly is enjoyable to read (as a writer you need to have fun savaging the book, exploring it, dwelling on it, falling in love with it, etc.). Finally remember that your job is to convince a reader of the book’s relative merit.
4. Read this definition from the 17th century
Wit; a nimbleness of thought; a sense of fancy (imagination of a fantastic or whimsical nature); and originality in figures of speech
Then be witty
Then evoke the ghost of Orwell
Then write it
Then let it sit
Then edit it several times
6. Then hand it in the first week back from March Break
How to Write a Book Review
A book review is a description, critical analysis, and an evaluation on the quality, meaning, and significance of a book, not a retelling. It should focus on the book's purpose, content, and authority. A critical book review is not a book report or a summary. It is a reaction paper in which strengths and weaknesses of the material are analyzed. It should include a statement of what the author has tried to do, evaluates how well (in the opinion of the reviewer) the author has succeeded, and presents evidence to support this evaluation.
There is no right way to write a book review. Book reviews are highly personal and reflect the opinions of the reviewer. A review can be as short as 50-100 words, or as long as 1500 words, depending on the purpose of the review.
The following are standard procedures for writing book reviews; they are suggestions, not formulae that must be used. 1. Write a statement giving essential information about the book: title, author, first copyright date, type of book, general subject matter, special features (maps, color plates, etc.), price and ISBN.
2. State the author’s purpose in writing the book. Sometimes authors state their purpose in the preface or the first chapter. When they do not, you may arrive at an understanding of the book’s purpose by asking yourself these questions: a. Why did the author write on this subject rather than on some other subject? b. From what point of view is the work written?
c. Was the author trying to give information, to explain something technical, to convince the reader of a belief’s validity by dramatizing it in action? d. What is the general field or genre, and how does the book fit into it? (Use outside sources to familiarize yourself with the field, if necessary.) Knowledge of the genre means understanding the art form. and how it functions. e. Who is the intended audience?
f. What is the author's style? Is it formal or informal? Evaluate the quality of the writing style by...
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