Book reviews must be on an author we are all reading this quarter. On the date the novel is listed on the assignment sheet, you post a 1,000 word review of the novel.
Reviews should include a brief summary of the plot, the major themes of the novel, and their relevance to the discussions we’ll be having in the course itself. Context is always helpful – knowing that The Left Hand of Darkness was published in 1969 and was influenced by the social upheavals of the 1960s helps us better understand it. The best book reviews respect what the author is trying to achieve and are light on snark. Some indication about who might find the novel particularly interesting is helpful as well.
Before you write your book review, you should determine what kind of audience you are writing for. All book reviews should begin with the title, author, publisher, date of publication, and number of pages and should be no more than 1,000 words in length. They should be grounded in a close reading of the text itself, but written in a style accessible to the audience you’ve identified (keep in mind that these reviews will be public). Looking at the format of different book reviews can be helpful. See the New York Times’ book review of Karen Joy Fowler’s latest novel. See also the Amazon reviews of the novel.
You can also submit your book review as a podcast, if you think that format is one more compatible with your style or accessible to the audience you’ve identified. If you do so, please see me in advance to discuss technical issues.