My Self-Audit

How did knowing you’d have to write a Review on the blog change the way you read our books? How did it change the way you prepared for class?

I read all the books much faster than I otherwise would have, except for Windup Girl and Flight Behavior. Those two I would have read non-stop no matter what; I just couldn’t put them down—which, with Flight Behavior, was very surprising; it’s not my style at all.

This semester, I bought those little Post-It bookmark tabs for the first time, and annotated as I read. This was a new practice for me, and I did it mainly to be ready for in-class discussions. I also high-lighted many of the most overt references to climate change in the stories.

 

How did writing in this format affect your writing process and writing style?

The blog format really freed me up to say exactly what I wanted to say in the way that most succinctly captured what I meant. I could use ellipses and pop culture references, for instance, and even slang, which in a formal essay I would have had to rephrase into two or three whole sentences to convey the same point. For this reason, I’ve loved this class. I believe we’re all highly-enough educated and smart enough here to be trusted when we say, “Yeah, I can write formally, but formal writing is boooooring!” All work and no play… This informal stuff is a welcome respite.

I’m not sure how my writing style here would compare to how I’d write on a non-academic discussion board, though. It’s been years since I’ve been active on one of those, and I’m a better writer now.

But the prospect of a wider audience has certainly motivated me to think all my posts through, with a seriousness that I don’t necessarily apply to all my schoolwork. “Coasting” through this class was not an option for me. The whole world might find out!

 

How often did you read the Reviews posted by your classmates? Did you gravitate towards reading particular writers?

I feel like I should have been reading more of my classmates’ reviews throughout the semester. I’ve read maybe half. But I did make a point of reading at least some each and every week, and I did pay some more attention to the extra stuff like news articles, links we posted to outside resources, and especially the hubbub surrounding Dan Bloom.

Whose reviews I chose to read was typically decided by who had commented on my own posts, who was in my other classes, who was the most outspoken or entertaining, and whoever was at the top of the page.

 

Finally, if you’d like, reflect upon the possibility that the work you’ve posted on the blog is now available for anyone to read, even now that the course is over. Do you think this blog could be a useful resource for future readers curious about the topic?

I like this idea. It feels like we’ve contributed to the worldwide discourse on the topics at hand in a slightly more real way than we’re allowed to in most liberal arts classes. We’ve thrown our two cents into the discourse on literature (on cli-fi particularly), into the discourse on science, and into the big discussion of social criticism.

Do I think other people might read our posts? They might! And they might come from a scholarly direction, or they might arrive here just for fun, wondering about what the heck “cli-fi” is, or wondering how we imbue any words with heavy meaning anyway: “global warming,” “climate change,” “environmentalist agenda,” “carbon combustion complex,” and so on.

Final Audit

To be honest when I did any writing for the blog, I did not approach it any differently than I would have if I were writing an essay for any class. I have a fairly analytical mindset to begin with; so reviewing these books came quite easily to me. I tended to just sit down after finishing the book, and in a stream of consciousness style, writing my thoughts in one sitting. I really tried not to put too much thought into how my reviews sounded. When I think about what a review should be, in my mind, it is simply the author’s personal thoughts and interpretations of the given work. I think this is what was intended by starting a class blog, which was simply to have a way for everyone to put down his or her initial thoughts on each weeks reading.

 

I think that parts of the blog could be useful for future readers. Obviously roughly 20 reviews of the same book does not serve much purpose, but there are definitely some interesting points and thoughts on the blog that could be of some use. I think, overall, the blog was a success and it certainly helped me get a sense of what everyone was thinking before we got to class. I truly would not have changed anything about it.

The End Has Come

  • How did knowing you’d have to write a Review on the blog change the way you read our books? How did it change the way you prepared for class?

Whenever I started the books I knew I had to pay closer attention to the details of the book, because after I was finished I would later then need to recall those details. I tried to make sure that I was paying close attention to anything about climate change and how it effected the story and characters. One of the things that it made me do, that I never do and hate doing, is dog-ear my pages. If I came across a particular page that contained a lot of climate change then I would fold the page so I knew to come back to it after I was finished reading. It made it a lot easier when I was eventually writing my blog posts.

  • How did writing in this format affect your writing process and writing style? I’m really interested to hear how writing in a blog format was different from writing you’ve done in other classes, whether English classes with more traditional papers, other courses with online writing (blog, discussion board, etc.) or otherwise. Did the possibility of a wider audience – your classmates, or anyone who stumbled upon our blog – change the way you wrote?

I really enjoyed the blog format, more than I thought I would at first. It made me feel more comfortable sharing my feelings about the book in a less formal way than essays. In other classes I always had to write very structured papers and my opinion wasn’t really included. I really enjoyed the blog because of the fact that I was able to share my opinion of the book as a whole and how I felt about it.

 

  • How often did you read the Reviews posted by your classmates? Did you gravitate towards reading particular writers?

After I posted my reviews I would always check out what other people were writing about. It was interesting to read their reviews and then hear them in class. I have to say that I always enjoyed reading what Bobby had to say. I think that he was successful at the blog format as a whole and I enjoyed the touches of humor.

  • I’d be excited to hear you reflect on whether and/or how your experience with and attitude towards the blog changed over the course of the semester. Did it live up to its promise? Was the blog element of the course better or worse than you hoped or feared?

I think that at first I was a little hesitant with the blog. I didn’t have any experience with blog format so I didn’t really know what was expected from my posts and how to even approach it. After the first few posts and observing what other people were saying, I became a little more comfortable with the format and the subject matter. I think it totally lived up to its promise. The blog was a great way to post our thoughts on the books and have an opening for discussion. It was definitely better then what I had feared. I really wish that other classes of mine would have done it as well.

  • Finally, if you’d like, reflect upon the possibility that the work you’ve posted on the blog is now available for anyone to read, even now that the course is over. Do you think this blog could be a useful resource for future readers curious about the topic?

I think that it would be a great resource for anyone interested in the topic of climate fiction and climate change in general. The blog contains really great points about the books and its relation to climate change. It is also a source that is not completely made up of one single person’s opinion. Anyone who comes across our blog will find a variety of opinions on the topic not just one particular view.

Overall it was a great class that I really enjoyed. Thanks!

Great Class….cli-fi is here to change the world….

While reading the novels, I was aware that I would need to give my opinion on the books and it made me try to capture key points and objectives. I tried not to read leisurely but some of the books were long and I basically would either skip certain chapters and write about what I remembered and how it tied into the topic of climate change. Having not been a science fiction reader I was unsure what was science fiction was and I focused more on the themes of client change in each of the books I read. In class, I tried to pick up on the ideas of what was on others mind and tended to answer and participate when I felt it was something useful and or have a opinion that meant something.

The writing for me was more expressive in nature. I felt less constraints in expressing myself and how the various books were good or bad for me. My other courses have been more formal in nature in regards to having to do a lot of research on the various topics. My writing is my writing I did not feel anything outside of trying to get  a decent grade. If people were interested that’s nice but it was not a major point for me.

I actually enjoyed reading Dennis’ comments, mostly. He had the most to say and it was well written. There were a few others that really were able to share thoughts and opinions that made sense and allowed me think about what I wrote or shared.

Did knowing that you had to post on the blog affect the way you read (and watched) stuff unrelated to the course readings? This for me was the most important idea for this class. Reading the novels but discussing climate change helped me to understand and really be in touch with where we are as a society. While I knew climate change was a real topic and something that American society focus on from time to time being able to read about it in more detail helped with me having a better connection to the world around me. The blogs helped in writing down my thoughts as it related to the novels and also what was going on in my day to day living.

 I initially was a bit intimated because I never wrote a blog and I was a bit unsure what to say in terms of my thoughts. What made it a bit easier was that it was fiction and I could look at it from the stand point of something that was not real and try and focus on what message was trying to be conveyed. The books were lengthy, I think after a time I started getting a bit tired of all of the reading and was thinking maybe it could be less books but more talking about different ideas or the underlying message in the novels. I think it is a great idea to have this looked at publicly. I think others will get more attention than mine but if what I share will help someone understand the topic and help with changing our current climate for the better, I am all for it. Kudos to you Ted! Best of Luck and thanks for a great semester!

Final Audit

How did knowing you’d have to write a Review on the blog change the way you read our books? How did it change the way you prepared for class?

Knowing that I had to write a review about the book made reading more of a chore than it usually is for me. I realized that I would have to be thinking much more in depth than I normally would because I would eventually need to articulate my thoughts to other individuals. It made me pay more attention to detail and focusing how best to explain what I was thinking while reading the book. I prepared much more for class and spoke more carefully because I knew that everyone was feeling exactly how I was and did not want to embarrass themselves.

How did writing in this format affect your writing process and writing style? I’m really interested to hear how writing in a blog format was different from writing you’ve done in other classes, whether English classes with more traditional papers, other courses with online writing (blog, discussion board, etc.) or otherwise. Did the possibility of a wider audience – your classmates, or anyone who stumbled upon our blog – change the way you wrote?

I really enjoyed writing in a blog because I just got to write as myself without any proper formatting or things like not being able to use the word I while writing an assignment. I definitely was always remembering that some random individual would be able to read my writing so once again I was more careful about what I wrote and trying not to sound unintelligent. This class made me realize how I feel about exposing my work to others.

How often did you read the Reviews posted by your classmates? Did you gravitate towards reading particular writers?

I always read a couple of the most recently published articles whenever I checked the blog so if someone’s review happened to be in that group of postings I ended up reading it.

Did knowing that you had to post on the blog affect the way you read (and watched) stuff unrelated to the course readings?

Posting on a blog did not affect how I read or watched stuff unrelated to the course readings but it did make me pay attention in that I was looking for climate issues and climate fiction in passing. Before this class I had never thought about the environment or climate change at all but now I think about it a ton (which just makes me depressed most of the time).

I’d be excited to hear you reflect on whether and/or how your experience with and attitude towards the blog changed over the course of the semester. Did it live up to its promise? Was the blog element of the course better or worse than you hoped or feared?

My attitude towards the blog did not change because I enjoyed it from the start and still enjoy it more than writing a regular term paper. The blog was definitely more enjoyable than I thought it would be and I may try to do more blog writing because of this class.

Final Audit

How did knowing you’d have to write a Review on the blog change the way you read our books? How did it change the way you prepared for class?

I definitely think knowing I’d have to write a review affected the way I read each book, and how closely I read it. I had to go into it with the mindset of, “Okay, what do I have to pull out of this that would be relevant to a review?” and spend the book really looking more for key points and flaws rather than reading for enjoyment. However, it’s reading for class, so that aspect isn’t necessarily a problem.

How did writing in this format affect your writing process and writing style? I’m really interested to hear how writing in a blog format was different from writing you’ve done in other classes, whether English classes with more traditional papers, other courses with online writing (blog, discussion board, etc.) or otherwise. Did the possibility of a wider audience – your classmates, or anyone who stumbled upon our blog – change the way you wrote?

I typically find when writing for other classes that I have a tendency to be long winded. I found more and more consistently with the blog that I had to be punchier and I had to make my points more succinctly. My screenwriting class uses the discussion board format where every week someone submits their script for critique online and everyone must post on the discussion board what they thought. I think I prefer this method because it gives me more opportunities to write creatively

How often did you read the Reviews posted by your classmates? Did you gravitate towards reading particular writers?

Not as often as I should have, but I did try to read a handful every week. I tended to gravitate toward Bobby’s reviews because I think his writing style is very fun, and we seem to have similar tastes as far as literature goes.

Did knowing that you had to post on the blog affect the way you read (and watched) stuff unrelated to the course readings?

Not really, because I wasn’t approaching them from an angle of having to review them. When I read for pleasure I consume it as I would a film or television show and just experience it viscerally without necessarily analyzing it. At least not at first.

I’d be excited to hear you reflect on whether and/or how your experience with and attitude towards the blog changed over the course of the semester. Did it live up to its promise? Was the blog element of the course better or worse than you hoped or feared?

I didn’t really have any negative attitudes toward the blog at the beginning of the semester. I thought it was a cool idea, and it turned out to be a very engaging teaching tool.

Finally, if you’d like, reflect upon the possibility that the work you’ve posted on the blog is now available for anyone to read, even now that the course is over. Do you think this blog could be a useful resource for future readers curious about the topic?

I do! Given that cli-fi has not quite reached the mainstream in a big way, I think it’s good to provide people with a wealth of opinions on the matter from a host of different sources. None of us feel the same way about cli-fi or climate change in general and it would only serve to make someone’s view more rounded by intently looking at our blog. In that sense, I definitely believe the blog can be used as a useful teaching tool.

Final Blog Audit

 

How did knowing you’d have to write a Review on the blog change the way you read our books? How did it change the way you prepared for class?

I usually read books pretty closely, but I think for this class I definitely annotated them more because I’d read things that I knew I wanted to write about in my reviews later. It also helped to see you (the professor) with the book thoroughly marked up so that I didn’t feel like a crazy person with stickies hanging out of my book! I also came to class with very specific ideas and topics that stuck out to me about the book but again, that’s probably due to me annotating inside of them so much.

 

How did writing in this format affect your writing process and writing style? I’m really interested to hear how writing in a blog format was different from writing you’ve done in other classes, whether English classes with more traditional papers, other courses with online writing (blog, discussion board, etc.) or otherwise. Did the possibility of a wider audience – your classmates, or anyone who stumbled upon our blog – change the way you wrote?

It definitely changed the way I wrote, because I think I felt like I had to back up my arguments even more than usual and be more assertive when making claims on whether or not I liked a book. As far as the formatting of writing blog posts instead of papers, I loved it! It’s a lot more casual and not as stressful. I also felt more comfortable writing my opinion on books, because everyone else’s interpretations were so varied.

 

How often did you read the Reviews posted by your classmates? Did you gravitate towards reading particular writers?

I think in the beginning I read the first few brave souls who posted first on the blog just so I could see how they were formatting their posts and how casual we should be with the blog. Then later on, I started writing and posting my blogs first, and then seeing if anyone else agreed with me and if they didn’t, what their takes on the books were. I didn’t read all of the blog posts simply because of time, but I read a couple each week, just to get an idea of how everyone else in the class was feeling about the book. I did gravitate towards reading some students’ reviews who always seemed to have similar opinions to mine and there were a couple that I’d always check out because their writing voice was really fun to read.

 

Did knowing that you had to post on the blog affect the way you read (and watched) stuff unrelated to the course readings?

I took another class this semester that was really heavy & close-reading about the American Gothic Short Story  and I think the combination of that and this class caused me to also annotate books that I read just for fun; it’s really weird! I feel like I have to underline certain things because I’ll want to come back to them but I don’t know why I would come back to them lol.

 

I’d be excited to hear you reflect on whether and/or how your experience with and attitude towards the blog changed over the course of the semester. Did it live up to its promise? Was the blog element of the course better or worse than you hoped or feared?

I was really intimidated by the aspect of blogging, especially when you mentioned that other students in the class might comment on them. I’ve taken classes before where the commenting portion really got out of hand as far as disagreeing about certain topics, so that made me a little anxious. But I think that everyone’s been really cordial and respectful of each other’s opinions. At least online. It turned out a lot better than I thought it would and it helped me realize how I felt about books that I might have been on the fence about if I hadn’t actually sat down and written a review on them.

 

Finally, if you’d like, reflect upon the possibility that the work you’ve posted on the blog is now available for anyone to read, even now that the course is over. Do you think this blog could be a useful resource for future readers curious about the topic?

With the exception of one, I’m really proud of the reviews that I’ve written and I’d love for them and the other reviews on the blog to help someone else trying to learn more about cli-fi. This blog would definitely be useful to people interested and curious about it. Especially if they’re unsure about just jumping in. I think the blog provides a lot of insight on cli-fi and on climate change in general and I think it’d be a great starting point for people interested in it.

 

Hope everybody has a great summer!

Le Fin

How did knowing you’d have to write a Review on the blog change the way you read our books? How did it change the way you prepared for class?

 

Knowing that I had to write a review certainly meant that I had to read the books with a thought of what I would be saying in mind. It made me a more careful conscientious reader, because I was mindful of the materials that I was reading. By that I mean that I had to look for the elements of the stories that were important to the class. I was more aware of the climate change elements, and in particular in making sure that they exist in the novel. This was particularly important to me because reading is something I really enjoy, and it was an interesting challenge to read for things in a story rather than just enjoy it.

 

How did writing in this format affect your writing process and writing style? I’m really interested to hear how writing in a blog format was different from writing you’ve done in other classes, whether English classes with more traditional papers, other courses with online writing (blog, discussion board, etc.) or otherwise. Did the possibility of a wider audience – your classmates, or anyone who stumbled upon our blog – change the way you wrote?

 

I would say that I did not really enjoy writing reviews as much as it may have somewhat appeared. I enjoyed the process of discussing the books, and that there was certainly less pressure to write formally and academically, two things I greatly despise. I did enjoy the possibility of a wider audience, as I would hope to publish a book one day, but as of yet, I have been unsuccessful. So hopefully my experience with this blog could help me towards this goal.

 

How often did you read the Reviews posted by your classmates? Did you gravitate towards reading particular writers?

 

I did not read them very often. I did enjoy reading them when I did, but I didn’t do it very often. I enjoy the input of my classmates; this is an interesting take, because I don’t usually have access to what my classmates are saying. Knowing how they feel about their classes and the books we are reading is a newly fascinating experience for me. And no, there were no particular writers to whom I gravitated.

 

Did knowing that you had to post on the blog affect the way you read (and watched) stuff unrelated to the course readings?

 

Yes, definitely. I found myself more aware of things to do with climate in movies and shows that were not class material. There is a lot more out there than you would think. IT is interesting how different your perceptions of the world are when you’re looking for particular things versus when you’re not looking.

 

I’d be excited to hear you reflect on whether and/or how your experience with and attitude towards the blog changed over the course of the semester. Did it live up to its promise? Was the blog element of the course better or worse than you hoped or feared?

 

My attitude towards the blog definitely changed over the semester in quite a few ways. Firstly, I hated the idea of a blog to begin with because despite being of the Internet era, I am not very Internet savvy. So, I did not like the idea of a blog. But, I do like it now. I have learned it, I have become comfortable with it, and it makes sense to me now. I do know how to write traditional papers, and I do really like them, but now I do not quite know if I would ever want to write a normal paper again. I like blogging, and review writing, it makes me feel like a critic, who I was already, but now I can be a professional one.

Final Blog Audit: Cli-Fi Popular Fiction

How did knowing you’d have to write a Review on the blog change the way you read our books? How did it change the way you prepared for class?
Given that this popular fiction course had a genre specific theme, “Cli-fi” (climate-fiction), and knowing there are mandatory blog posts made me read the texts more critically in relation to climate-change and the authors’ intended message, from my perspective. Whether the books/authors addressed climate-change literally like Oreskes’ and Conway’s “The Collapse of Western Civilization” and Squarzoni’s “Climate Change”; or made subtle inferences to adverse climate-change and/or weatherization like Bacigalupi’s “The Windup Girl”, or Buckell’s “Hurricane Fever”; or developed sub-textual themes of grave importance in conjunction to the effects of climate-change like in Stewart’s “Earth Abides” (conservationism), Atwood’s “The Year of the Flood” (sustainability), or Octavia Butler’s “Parable of the Sower” (commonality through religion and the hydrologic system); all these works of literature stimulate discussion. Having to post on a blog inspired me to focus on the preceding points-of-interests.

How often did you read the Reviews posted by your classmates? Did you gravitate towards reading particular writers?
I read all the blog posts and Reviews submitted by my colleagues, but only after my own review had been completed, as I did not want my opinion or experience of the text jaded by excellent interpretive insights. I gravitated more towards the negative and critical Reviews only because it is easy to simply say “I liked the book because…”; however, when you do not like nor care for a particular text you cannot simply state “I don’t like it.” The critic needs to demonstrate a legitimate reason for the distaste. For instance, I did not care for “The Windup Girl” not because it is a poorly written, structured, or executed novel; on the contrary, I did not like the book because it was written excellently, I am not a fan of the “Sci-fi/Cli-fi” genres of writing. I have an immense literary respect towards the author and the book because it is beautifully composed, but I could not truly appreciate this work of art due to my own prejudices toward “Sci-fi” and “Cli-fi.”

Did knowing that you had to post on the blog affect the way you read (and watched) stuff unrelated to the course readings?
Yes, I was careful to only read material related to the theme of climate-change with specific references or direct correlational links to the assigned works of fiction. Secondary source materials are important as they reinforce factual real-world effects that these fictional works highlight to visitors who read the blog’s informative Reviews.

I’d be excited to hear you reflect on whether and/or how your experience with and attitude towards the blog changed over the course of the semester. Did it live up to its promise? Was the blog element of the course better or worse than you hoped or feared?
I am not a blogger and this was my first experience participating in any type of blogging activity or postings, and I must confess the experience is not as bad as I expected and feared. Since I am not a fan of the genre theme for the course, “Cli-fi”, I was apprehensive about expressing my unedited honest opinions and Reviews about the books, but my honesty was met with unbiased appreciation. This blog provided a safe place to express oneself without fear of ridicule and allowed an interaction among classmates that may have lacked in the classroom setting. Some people find it difficult to articulate themselves in person and the blog gave them a platform to be heard; if this was the promise of the blog, then yes it did live up to and exceed my expectations.

Finally, if you’d like, reflect upon the possibility that the work you’ve posted on the blog is now available for anyone to read, even now that the course is over. Do you think this blog could be a useful resource for future readers curious about the topic?
I support and feel confident about the work I have posted on the blog. My only apprehension would be the potential for negative feedback and/or comments, but I have resolved that with all good there will be bad. That is to say, for each negative comment or criticism there will be an opposite positive reaction. With this in mind, this blog will most assuredly stand as a place of quality information on the topics of climate-change, weatherization, global-warming, and the genre theme of Climate-Fiction, “Cli-fi” literary novels for future visitors. Whether an impassioned Eco-activist or disinterested skeptic, this blog will delight as the commentary of Reviews and posts are infused with intelligent academic insights, humor, and blunt-honesty.

Final Blog Audit

Another semester is done and my time at Temple University has come to a close, and what a unique way to end it. When I first heard the class was about “climate fiction,” the groaning that when on my head was almost deafening, but everything really did seem to work out and I found a few interesting new authors.

Being a fan of science fiction, a lot of the novels were directed towards my interests, and the fact that part of the story was about the climate didn’t really change how I would have normally analyzed the books. I probably would’ve completely missed the climate stuff if I was just reading some of these books on my own. What really made this class unique was the blog.

I, personally, love blogging. I’ve been writing film reviews for a few years now, so the opportunity to do the same with books and get graded on it was right up my alley. I said on my last audit that writing these reviews was a great way to get my thoughts in order before class. Reading other blogs also helped at times to see other points of view on the books or maybe look at some parts that I hated or loved in a different light.

While I could do without some of the readings and would have liked to have explored a few more genres, I will say that this was a worthwhile class to take. What really stands out was my discovery of both Kim Stanley Robinson and Margaret Atwood, both of whose novels I’m going to try and read more of. My only one regret is that I didn’t use the blog as much as I should have.