Friday, December 17, 2010

Writing Studio Bulletin: WSB 2-01 (Fall 2010) - BRs

This bulletin contains reminders about book reviews for 2nd semester. If you have concerns or questions about the content of this bulletin, please spell them out in comments on this post.

Click on the graphic representing classnotes (above) to get a closer look.
[43 words]

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Quotations and references for book reviews

This post recap's a series of quick demonstration posts I made on pab's potpourri today (2010.12.08) to show how to quote short passages from books that you're reading and reviewing. After each snippet from a potpourri post, I'm adding brief explanations.

The snippets below represent short quotations, or what I call "tasty morsels" to whet readers' appetites for books that you're reviewing, sandwiched between brief introductory and follow-up remarks of a personal nature. That is, from the reviewer's point of view.

The list of references at the end of this post also comes from pab's potpourri, as do the labels I suggested for reviews of ... [the] two books [I've listed]. Green highlights flag publication information that appears both in short references immediately following quotations, and in complete, APA-style references to list at the end of book review posts.
My favorite line in the book is when Heathcliff says, "I have to remind myself to breathe – almost remind my heart to beat!" (Bronte, 1989, p. 65). It reminds me how strongly our thoughts can influence our bodies. (BR 2-16: Emile Bronte's Wuthering Heights, 2010.12.08)
The underlines I've added to the first quotation from Wuthering Heights (2-16, above) are to show how I've sandwiched the quotation between remarks in the present tense. That is consistent with the present tense in the quotation itself.
The most impressive passage for me was when Heathcliff ... [said], "I have to remind myself to breathe – almost to remind my heart to beat" Bronte1989, p. 65). That made me realize how much our thoughts and emotions influence our lives. (BR 2-19: Wuthering Heights, 2010.12.08)
The underlines I've added to the second quotation from Wuthering Heights (2-19, above) are to show how I've sandwiched the quotation between remarks in the past tense. For most practical purposes, either present or past tense will do, as long as you are consistent in context. 

I hadn't been consistent during the second demonstration, so after class I removed "says" from the post, and replaced it with "... [said]." Spaced periods ("...") mark the removal point, and square brackets frame the word that I added.

The labels I proposed for reviews of Wuthering Heights (Bronte, 1989) were: books, classics, fiction, and reviews. Bold typeface here indicates required labels.

Now let's move on to the other examples, in this case quotations from a piece of non-fiction. Please note that below, as well as for the examples from a piece of fiction above, I've use superlative... forms ("most ...").
In this book there were lots of surprises. The most surprising bit of information about the U.S. was that there are literally hundreds of "national parks, national seashores, national forests, and [national] recreation areas" (Cox1990, p. 4). I've seen some of them already. I really want to go and see more of them soon! (BR 2-17: Wild America by Teresa Cox)
To sandwich the first quotation from Wild America (2-17, above), I used past tense at first, reflecting a while[-]reading perspective, followed by present perfect and present tense expressions, suggesting a transition to personal experience and a current state of mind. Square brackets, this time within the quotation, frame a word added to clarify wording from the original.
This book is full of surprises. I was most surprised to learn, "There are more than three hundred national parks, ... seashores, ... forests, and recreation areas" in the U.S. (Cox1990, p. 4). I have visited some of them already. Reading this book makes me want to visit some more. (BR 2-18: Wild America)
To sandwich the second quotation from Wild America (2-18, above), the sequence of tenses I used is rather (or too) complicated. It ranges from present tense, to past, to past perfect, and back to present tense. What was I thinking?

Actually, I was trying to shorten and clarify the quotation, by removing words from the original, rather than adding words to it. [Strings of] spaced periods (ellipses), this time within the quotation, mark removal points. In spite of the wobbly time frames around it, the shorter quotation from Wild America in snippet 2-18 is easier to read than the extended one in snippet 2-17.

The labels I proposed for reviews of Wild America (Cox, 1990) were: books, geography, non-fiction, and reviews. Bold typeface again indicates required labels.


Bronte, Emily. (1989). Wuthering Heights [Longman Classics series]. Harlow, Essex: Longman Group UK.

Cox, Teresa. (1990). Wild America. Harlow, Essex: Longman Group UK.

[738 + 5 words]
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...