[amended from Maureen Daly Goggin & Michael Stancliff]
“To review is to assess; that is the essence of the reviewer’s duties. The sad truth is that some books, even those published by prestigious presses, are poorly conceived and written; publication is not guarantee of quality. Consequently, distinguishing books of quality is one of the most important responsibilities of a book reviewer.”
----Christina Murphy. "Breaking the Print Barrier: Entering the Professional Conversation." Publishing in Rhetoric and Composition. Edited by Gary Olson and Todd Taylor. Albany: SUNY P, 1997, 12.
This assignment provides you the opportunity to read a scholarly book (or edited collection) concerned with rhetoric, composition, and the teaching of writing. It also provides you the opportunity to engage in an academic genre common to the discipline. This assignment is meant to contribute to theorizing your teaching practice as well as your professional development.
You will select a book published between 2007 and 2010. I recommend you identify a book within your scholarly and/or professional interests. Your selection could also relate to your scheduled facilitation. Your best bet for identifying an appropriate codex is to use CompPile. Search by date, then organize the results by "book" in descending order. For example, here's a screenshot of "2007" results by book in descending order:
A likely outlet for your review would be any one of the many journals devoted to rhetoric and composition. CompPile is always in need of reviews, too!
The following questions should serve as heuristics:
- What is the book's content? (i.e., summarize and assess the major ideas in the book) How is it organized? How well does the organization work?
- What does the author promise the book will deliver? How well does the author succeed in delivering on that promise?
- How readable is the book? If it is a difficult read, is it worth the time and energy to struggle through?
- Has the book anything new to say or is it plowing familiar ground?
- What are the limitations of the book? (All books have these; good authors note them.) What problems, if any, plague the book?
- What is your intention in writing the review? Is the review meant as a service within a field or across fields? Are you consciously going to foreground a more specific agenda?
- Are you writing the review for those within the field or those working in another discipline?
Reviews often run 1500-2000 words in length. Your review should do likewise. The convention for many reviews is to first list the title of the book, followed by publishing information, followed by the review and to place your name and institution at the end. Here are two examples: "Brooke, Collin Gifford. Lingua Fracta: Towards a Rhetoric of New Media. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton P, 2009. 222 pp, ISBN 9781572738935 | Reviewed by Kerri Hauman." & "Lee, Amy. Compositing Critical Pedagogies: Teaching Writing As Revision. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 2000. | Reviewed by Nicole Provencher."
Your review is due by Week 10, but you are welcome to complete it earlier than that.