A summary

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					Part One  

   Book Report
I.                  The Book Report

n        Teachers who want to know whether
    their students have read the books assigned
    and how well they understand those books
    may require a book report. If they are not
    required, students may as well write one or
    two for themselves, for writing book
    reports helps students to improve their
    reading comprehension and their ability to
    analyze and evaluate books.
three main parts
n   Generally speaking, a book report consists
    of the following three main parts:
    information about the author and his times,
    a summary of the book, and comments on
A brief account of the author’s
n      should be given together with a description of
    his times. The latter should include the
    circumstances that led to the writing of the book
    under discussion and the historical and social
    background related to the content of the book. To
    make these things clear, the writer perhaps needs
    to read some reference material, such as
    biographies of the author and histories of the
    period described in the book.
A summary
n       (which will be discussed in Part II) should be
    self-contained, clear, and easy to understand.
    Above all, it should be objective. Comments on
    and criticisms of the book should not be mixed
    with the summary; they can be left to the third
    part. The summary of a novel or a play is usually
    written in the present tense, while that of
    nonfiction, in the tense of the original work: for
    example, the past tense should be used for a
    history, and the present for a scientific work.
Comments on and evaluation of the book
n   Comments on and evaluation of the book form
    the third and most important part of a book
    report. In this part the writer expresses his or her
    own views on the book, names its merits and
    demerits, and discusses its relevance to the
    present time. The discussion should of course
    center on the content of the book, but the author’s
    style and techniques of presentation, if
    interesting, can also be touched upon.
II. Writing a Summary
n   A summary is a brief restatement of the
    essential thought of a longer composition.
    It reproduces the theme of the original with
    as few words as possible. When one writes
    a summary, one should not interpret or
    comment. All one has to do is to give gist
    of the author’s exact and essential meaning.
A summary
n      condenses a paragraph, an essay, or a book to
    its controlling idea and main points. It should be
    written in complete sentences and reworded, as in
    paraphrasing. Summarizing, like outlining, is an
    effective study skill, for it requires the student to
    differentiate between what is essential and what
    is insignificant. The relative importance of ideas
    must also be recognized. Once the main idea has
    been rewritten, the information will be easier to
    recall later on a test or in a paper. Summarizing is
    also helpful in taking notes for a research paper.
Uses of summary writing
n   1) Summary writing is a very good exercise for 
    improving reading comprehension.
n      Some students read carelessly, and gain only a
    vague idea of what they have read. Summary
    writing can force them to try to understand what
    they read, for one can write a summary of any
    passage unless he has grasped its meaning. So
    summarizing is also training in concentration of
    attention. It requires one to read with the mind, as
    well as with the eye, on the page.
2) Summary writing is also helpful to composition 
n   It trains one to express one’s thought clearly,
    concisely and effectively. It is an excellent
    corrective of vague and disorderly thinking and
    loose and diffuse writing. When writing a
    summary, one has to work within strict limits.
    One must express a certain meaning in a fixed
    number of words. So it is important to chose
    words carefully, to make sentences with an eye to
    accuracy and brevity, and to write the summary
    in logical order.
3) Summary writing has practical 
n   The ability to grasp quickly accurately
    what is read, or heard, and to reproduce it
    in a clear and concise way is of great value
    to people of many professions. For
    scientists, businessmen, lawyers, and
    government officials this ability is not only
    important, but necessary.
2. Qualities of a good summary
n   No idea that is not the author’s should be
    included in the summary, and no opinion of
    the writer should be in the summary. No
    judgments (whether the article was “good”
    or “interesting”) are permitted in a

n   Depending on the assignment, the summary
    should contain every main idea in the
    article. Stating only the first main idea, or
    only one main idea and details to support it,
    will not give the reader a complete idea of
    what the article was about.

n     Giving equal attention to each main idea,
    and stressing ideas that the author stressed,
    will result in an accurate summary.
3. Questions to judge a valid summary 

n   Did I include all the important ideas?
n   Did I omit all unnecessary words and phrases?
n   Does the summary read smoothly? (Have I made
    good use of transitions: also, thus, therefore,
    however, etc? Have I made every word count?)
n   Would a reader of my summary who had not read
    the article get a clear idea of the article?
4. The goal of the summary is

n   To give readers an objective, complete,
    accurate, balanced view of an article they
    have not read.
5. Procedure of summary 
n   1) Read the article quickly, looking for main ideas.
n   2) Read it again carefully, absorbing the information.
n   3) Look for the thesis and topic sentences; they will often
    give you the main ideas of the article that you will need
    for your summary.
n   4) Depending on the assignment, select the major ideas
    you will need to use in your summary. Arrange these
    ideas carefully in order to achieve balance and
n   5) Begin the summary with a sentence that informs your
    reader of the title and author of the article.

n      In the article” The Making of the Dutch
    Landscape,” Audrey Lambert states that…
n   Punctuation   (1)Underline the titles of
    the books, or in quotation marks
6. Experiences in Writing Summary

n   1)      Omit  unnecessary  details 略去“绿
n     In order to make the passage powerful
    and convinced, he origin will quote
    examples, quotations of authorities,
    definitions, details and rhetorical phrases.
    Such details can be omitted.
2) Keep some plots, reduce the examples 保

n   Follow the chronological order of the
n   3)Simplify the descriptions, eliminate all
4)      Compress wordy sentences and change
phrases to words.

n   “His courage in World War II might without
    exaggeration be called lion-like.”---He was very
    brave in World War II.
n   “They acted in a manner that rendered them liable
    to prosecution(起诉).”---They acted illegally.
n   “He was hard up for money and was being
    pressed by his creditor.”---He was in financial
5) Use general words instead of specific

n   “She bought home several Chinese and
    English novels, a few copies of Times and
    Newsweek, and some textbooks. She
    intended to read all of them during the
    winter vacation.”--- She brought home a lot
    of books and magazines to read during the
n   6)      Use the shortest possible transitions, e.g. but, thus,
    yet, for, etc.
n   7)      Put the main points of a dialogue in indirect speech.
n   8)      Analyze the origin 精剖原文
n   Try to analyze the origin. Try to find out the main idea,
    topic sentences and so on.
n   9)      Take the use of topic sentences and key words 巧
n   10)      Pay attention to Persons 注意人称
n   A formal summary should be written by the third person.
    Exercise: Write a summary for the following passage.
n        It was an afternoon at the beginning of the spring of last
    year. The weather was dreary, raining, and stormy. I was
    alone in the cottage. I knew that I must be alone till evening.
    The cottage was in a remote part of a remote country. It had
    been let by its owner together with its furniture. As I am
    easily affected by weather and hate being alone, I felt
    unhappy. And my unhappiness was increased because I
    dislike being set among things that do not belong to me.
    Whenever I am alone in a room that is not mine, I feel as if
    everything in it were warning me not to touch it. Articles of
    glass and china seem to say: “Be careful not to break us.” The
    carpet seems to say in an angry manner: “If you write
    anything, you must not spill any ink on me”. The books seem
    to say in a fit of ill temper. “You must not turn down any
    page of us, nor leave any mark of your thumb on any page of
    us, nor break the back of any one of us.”
n   I stayed in a remote cottage on a wet
    stormy day early spring last year. I was
    made uneasier and unhappier, conscious of
    the fact that neither the cottage nor the
    furniture were in my possession.

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