Info about Reviews

Here, extracted from the syllabus, is the information and instructions about writing the Short and Expert Reviews that are the core of your writing for this course. Here’s a link to the Rubric.

6 Short Reviews

6 times this semester—3 times before Spring Break and 3 times afterwards—you will post a short review of the book assigned for that week. (Note: there are 10 books assigned, and you’ll be writing an Expert Review for two of them, so you’ll get to take a pass twice, once before and once after break). Think of these as being similar to reviews for books you read on Amazon: a 200-1000 word critical evaluation of the book. These reviews should be posted by Tuesday at midnight so that your classmates and I will have a chance to look over them before class on Wednesday. Please create a new post on the blog for your Reviews; consider giving your Review a title too. (Note: I strongly suggest writing in another program and then pasting in the WordPress site).

Extra credit: I think it would be great if in addition to posting on our own blog we also posted our reviews of the books on Amazon, where reviews are widely read and actually influence whether people buy books. Therefore, if you post all of your short reviews on Amazon in addition to posting them on the course blog, I will boost your final Short Reviews grade by one full notch (B- to A-, etc). (When you post a review on Amazon, you’ll receive an email confirming that it now appears on the site; you can simply forward these emails to me so that I can look at the review.)

2 Expert Reviews

Two times this semester you will be assigned to write an “Expert Review” on that week’s reading, which will replace your Short Review and are also due at midnight on Tuesday. Expert Reviews are different from Short Reviews in three ways: (1) they are longer (500-2000 words); (2) they must incorporate an outside source in addition to discussing the main reading for the day. You are encouraged to use the week’s secondary reading as your second source or to choose one of your own; (3) they must take a stance on a larger issue related to the book, rather than just discuss the book on its own. Think of the Expert Review as a short paper—write more formally, like an expert, and spend more time crafting your post. I will give you an opportunity to volunteer to be an expert on a particular book. If you don’t volunteer, I’ll assign you to a certain week.

Expert Review Assignments

1 – Week 3 (1/28)

H.G. Wells, The Time Machine

2 – Week 4 (2/4)

Phillippe Squarzoni, Climate Changed: A Personal Journey through the Science

Experts: Sophia, Alec, Alina, Jim

3 – Week 5 (2/11)

George R. Stewart, Earth Abides

Experts: Emily, Darrek, Deirdre, Erinn, Steve, Sam, John,  Cameron

4 – Week 6 (2/18)

Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future

Experts: Matt, Sanaa, Joe, Christian, Jesse, Annie

5 – Week 7 (2/25)

Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower

Experts: Jordan, Tiffany, Gloria, Taylor Shuster, Dennis, Stephanie, Taylor Antosiewicz, Bobby


6 – Week 8 (3/11)

Barbara Kingsolver, Flight Behavior

Experts: Tiffany, Gloria, Alina

7 – Week 10 (3/25 )

Kim Stanley Robinson, Forty Signs of Rain

Experts: Deirdre, Erinn, Taylor A., Cameron, Joe

8 – Week 11 (4/1)

Paolo Bacigalupi, The Wind-up Girl

Experts: SophiaJordan, Alec, Stephanie, Steve, Annie

9 – Week 13 (4/15)

Margaret Atwood, The Year of the Flood

Experts: Emily, Darrek, Taylor S., Dennis, Bobby, Sam

10 – Week 14 (4/23)

Tobias Buckell, Hurricane Fever

Experts: Jim, John, Matt, Sanaa, Jesse

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