Semester’s Nonfiction Book Assignment
Books and authors don’t
come to readers
Readers must seek out
books and authors
The good news is within
the wide world of books
many choices exist to please
READING CAN BE ENJOYABLE AND WORTHWHILE IF YOU CHOOSE
READING MATERIAL WELL.
All reading assignments are designed
to help students find and build
voluntary reading habits. The book
review assignment provides
experience shopping for books and
introduces new authors.
One of the best ways to improve your writing is to
read critically the writings of others. Watch how
professional writers handle their craft. Analyze how they
write and apply what you glean (look it up) to your own
content and style.
T O D O : G o t o a b o o k s t o r e , l i b r a r y, p r i v a t e
bookshelf or the internet.
Select a n o n f i c t i o n book.
From a friend, family member or book review, you may have heard
about a nonfiction title that sounds intriguing to you. For example, I’m
interested in Hollywood and women’s representation in the media. I heard
about Susan Douglas’ Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the
Mass Media listening to the program Fresh Air hosted by Terry Gross on
National Public Radio NPR , which can be found on your radio dial at 101.9
in Detroit WDET.
Maybe you’re interested in medicine or American history and might
enjoy reading about midwifery or the treatment of Native Americans by the
U. S. government circa 1885. If so, investigate titles and mindfully pick
one. Maybe you’re drawn to the environment or the national diet, which
might lead you to popular titles such as Al Gore’s Earth in the Balance:
Ecology and the Human Spirit or Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the
American Meal by Eric Schlosser. In terms of political commentary, some
students seek out Bill O’Reilly, while others turn to Michael Moore. More
serious readers dig deeper. This assignment is about you. Be yourself.
Follow your own
CHOOSE BOOKS BY
No Other Method
HEY! What a
great topic to focus
Please realize: STUDENTS WHO FAIL
on this semester!
TO CHOOSE THEIR NONFICTION BOOK
WISELY CREATE PROBLEMS FOR THEMSELVES
LATER IN THE SEMESTER. TO WRITE THE
BOOK REVIEW, STUDENTS MUST READ AND
REFLECT UPON THEIR CHOICE.
DON’T TAKE THE
LAZY APPROACH AND
PICK A BOOK BASED ON ITS COVER, COST OR SIZE.
THINK THROUGH EACH DECISION: CATEGORY, AUTHOR’S VOICE, APPROACH
Be aware: Any one theme might be addressed by a great number of authors and
publishers. Among the available choices speaking about a single topic such as true crime,
for example, find the voice and approach that most strongly appeals to your personality
and interests. Realize that not all books about Charles Manson, serial killers and the
Mafia are alike.
DO NOT HESITATE!
CHOOSE AND BEGIN READING IMMEDIATELY!
Weekly Nonfiction Book Homework: Read, Write, Think
Directions: Per week, read enough to finish the book in time
to write the book review. As you read, interact with your selection
and write in your composition notebook.
Emphasize quality over quantity.
Write analysis and response NOT summary.
Use weekly writing to help you understand your own
reaction to the book and eventually arrive at a thesis.
Look Pace yourself to finish for
reading in time to begin
the book review.
ACTIVE VERBS that describe your reaction. Does
the book inspire readers to join the Peace Corp?
Move readers to vote in the next presidential
election? Compel readers to jump start their lives?
Remind readers to discipline their eating habits?
Questions to consider:
What does reading the book may you think? Remember? Feel? Imagine?
Does the book remind you of anything else?
Can you connect the book to things (past, present or future; public or
personal) outside of the book?
What value does this book offer?
What lessons does it teach?
Are the author’s efforts successful? Unsuccessful? Why?
How is the book designed?
Who would you recommend this book to, if anyone?
What does reading the book do for readers?
After reading your nonfiction book
selection, to write a book review
you need to create a thesis
A thesis statement is the idea you develop and stick to when writing an essay.
Usually, a thesis statement is composed of one or two declarative sentences
that end in periods—not question marks.
A thesis statement should explain the writer’s main idea clearly and specifically.
Two example thesis statements about the same book:
One person might write: “To realize the effects of
watching television and movies on attitudes toward Main
gender, every male and female who grows up in a Writing
media-saturated culture like the United States Rule:
should read Susan Douglas’ Where the Girls Are:
A t he si s s tate m e n t g o e s be y o nd fa ct to s ta
a n o p in io n a nd ma k e a cl aim .
Growing Up Female with the Mass Media.”
Conversely, another person might crib: “Susan Douglas’ Where the Girls
Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media will make men feel guilty and plan
women feel like punching something.”
The first example thesis is more serious, while the stick
second is more humorous (as well as sexist and based on
stereotype). to it!
No simple book reports wanted *****
A t he si s s tate m e n t se ts a wr ite r’ s t o pi c,
p e r s p e c ti ve an d to ne .