This depends on the book you are reviewing:
- The Underground Railroad: Friday, March 24 by 10 pm to our course site
- 10:04: Friday, April 7 by 10 pm to our course site
- The Flamethrowers: Wednesday, April 26 by 10 pm to our course site
Writing a close reading paper is not the only way to write about literature, especially literature as “contemporary” as the literature we are reading in this course. Outside of the academy, book reviews – written not just by critics, but often by other writers – form a large and important part of the contemporary literary ecosystem. In the second half of the course, we will focus on book reviews as a genre of writing: we will read a variety of reviews of the novels we are reading, and you will choose one of these novels to review yourself.
Details & Requirements
- About the length of a “thinkpiece”-style essay or review, e.g. ~1500 words
- We’ll be reading reviews from a variety of publications, both digital outlets – Slate, Salon, The New Inquiry, New Republic, The Los Angeles Review of Books, etc. – and traditional “print” venues – like The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, London Review of Books, The New Yorker, etc. You should specify the venue your review is intended for when you post it to our course site.
- Write a review of your chosen novel in a style appropriate to your chosen venue. This means that the title, tone, use of evidence, and rhetorical goals of your review should be consistent with those of your chosen venue.
We will talk in class about what differentiates a review from a close reading paper, but in general, you should consider the following things as you write your review:
- The rhetorical goals of a book review vs the rhetorical/academic goals of a close reading paper (i.e., what a book review is trying to do what a close reading paper is trying to do)
- The use of evidence in a book review vs the use of evidence in a close reading paper
- The style and tone of a book review vs the style and tone of a close reading paper
- The putative audience for a book review vs the putative audience for a close reading paper
The goal here is to be clear about what book reviews as a genre are like, and about how this genre is different from the genre of close reading papers.
- I highly recommend you compose your book review using Word (or another kind of word processing software) on your own computer first, and save it, before posting it to our course site. This way, if your browser or our course site crashes will you are posting, you won’t lose your work.
The book review is worth 15% of your final grade in this course. It will be graded on an extra credit / pass / low pass / fail basis. For more details on this kind of grading, see the relevant section in the course syllabus/on the Policies page of this site.