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  • Bibliographical Data
    publication and book price This information is important for readers who want to buy the book It may also raise questions Is the book newly issued Or is it being reissued If reissued is it only a new printing or has it been revised If revised what is the nature of the revision Answers to these questions often can be found in a preface to the book by the author

    Original URL path: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=1001&guideid=49 (2015-10-15)
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  • Classification
    literature biography history and contemporary thought among others A reviewer analyzes a book s conformity to a genre with attention to the author s approaches methods materials and coverage and the outcomes of the book as to information judgments or interest value For example in her review of John D Agata s Halls of Fame Wendy Rawlings discusses how D Agata experiments with the form of the essay If you re accustomed to reading essays organized around a clearly articulated theme and guided by a single narrative voice that signposts its intentions along the way D Agata s methods may frustrate His essays are disjunctive agglomerations of excerpts from texts of all sorts literary and otherwise lists transcripts from tape recorded conversations and often long passages of direct quotes from people he meets Reading D Agata s essays I felt the strain of someone experimenting with the democratization of a form that in America has perhaps been colonized or at least overpopulated by the ironic and the smug Rawlings further compares and contrasts D Agata s methods to those of David Foster Wallace another contemporary writer of essays When analyzing a writer s approach to form some questions to consider

    Original URL path: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=1002&guideid=49 (2015-10-15)
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  • Author and Author Purpose
    book jacket and biographical notes on the author Further research may be helpful read interviews essays and if available previously written biographies In John Calderazzo s review of Ken Lamberton s Wilderness and Razor Wire biographical data about Lamberton proves relevant Lamberton had an uncommon resume for someone doing serious jail time no grinding poverty no drugs or violence He grew up in Arizona as an avid collector of wild things a self taught naturalist He earned a bachelor s degree in biology married Karen a fellow lover of the wild had kids and decided to share his passions for science and nature in the public schools He became infatuated with a student and incredibly ran off with her to Colorado Soon someone from Mesa recognized them in Aspen and called the police This background information provides the reason for Lamberton s incarceration as well as the basis for Calderazzo s discussion of the writer s microscopically detailed prose and the single mindedness of his gaze The following is a list of possible biographical data about an author to reference in a review Race nationality and origins social cultural religious economic political environmental Training and affiliations literary scholastic religious political

    Original URL path: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=1003&guideid=49 (2015-10-15)
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  • Subject Matter
    however a reviewer must interpret the subject through analysis of character setting plot and symbolism A discussion of the subject of a book might begin with its title From where did the author derive the title What is the title s meaning or suggestiveness Is the title an adequate heading for the contents of the book Or is it ambiguous or false in some way Other questions regarding the exploration of a book s subject by its author include What areas of the subject are covered In fiction areas of subject may be considered character concerns setting and plot What areas of the subject are left uncovered Is this intentional or the result of oversight or failure on the author s part To what degree is the author thorough or negligent in addressing the subject In his review of Wilderness and Razor Wire John Calderazzo comments that writer Ken Lamberton avoids discussion of personal motivation Perhaps to spare his wife further humiliation and pain Lamberton has decided not to belabor his motive for his one act of insanity He talks vaguely of immaturity but that s about it T he single mindedness of his gaze has implications he either doesn

    Original URL path: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=1004&guideid=49 (2015-10-15)
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  • Contents
    weakness of supporting ideas and the relevancy of collateral ideas or implications In fiction themes develop through character setting and plot a reviewer evaluates the relative success or lack thereof of these fictional elements Think about these questions What is the setting or place and time of the story Does the setting reflect or contrast with characters and plot Are characters fully or minimally developed Does character development increase or deteriorate as the action proceeds Is the plot sequenced chronologically or otherwise Does tension build or deflate as the story progresses Note how David Milofsky discusses the effectiveness of the contents of Reynolds Price s Noble Norfleet Although there are spots of lyricism and for the first third of the book Price s narrative has the drive and tension of some of his better work overall Noble Norfleet sags beneath its unlikely premise and even more unlikely hero It seems likely that Price was trying to say something here about the relationship between sexuality and madness about the necessity not only of nursing others but of caring for oneself of showing Noble as some kind of paradigm hence his name But sadly the novel succeeds in none of these aims

    Original URL path: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=1005&guideid=49 (2015-10-15)
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  • Style
    through writing This is an important aspect of a book to review While initially reading the book and in any subsequent reads a reviewer should mark passages of particular resonance and reflection of the author s style These passages help the reviewer form ideas as to whether or not the style is effective in conveying content and pleasing to the reader One or more of these passages may be cited within the review itself in order to both exemplify the author s style and provide basis for the reviewer s response The following is excerpted from Wendy Rawlings discussion of John D Agata s poetic associative essay writing style in Halls of Fame Juxtaposing so many voices and kinds of language can allow the reader to create exciting associative links between texts and ideas but it can also when overused begin to feel somewhat arbitrary In the book s title essay for instance single sentences and sentence fragments form choppy narratives composed of statements that seem at times cruelly separated from each other by the portentous silence of white space This narrative strategy prevails throughout most of the twenty four sections of the essay and as a result the sentences take on a stilted self importance like a poem written by someone as yet unschooled in enjambment A passage from the essay follows this description When responding to a literary work consider these aspects of style Tone or narrative vein Logical and reasoned objective or imagined and emotional subjective Dramatic and gripping or pedestrian and level Epic and far reaching or lyrical and infused with personal poetic emotion Solemn and serious or comic and entertaining Spiritual or vulgar or both Approach Formal or familiar informal Simple or complex Broad or specific Abstract or concrete Direct or implicational Figurative or literal

    Original URL path: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=1006&guideid=49 (2015-10-15)
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  • Form and Technique
    and Technique in Poetry View of Life Value and Significance Format Planning and Writing Beginnings Development Conclusions Reviewing Specific Types of Books Publication Resources Print Friendly Format About this Guide Contributors Citation Book Reviews Form and Technique A n author carefully chooses the form and various writing techniques to use to develop ideas A book reviewer decides whether or not these choices are appropriate and effective Do certain techniques aid

    Original URL path: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=1007&guideid=49 (2015-10-15)
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  • View of Life
    develop views apparent in past works Or make a new statement Below is a list of popular attitudes or schools of thought Idealism emphasis on enduring spirituality as opposed to transient values of materialism Romanticism focus on emotion and imagination as freedom from the strictly logical Classicism intellectuality dominance of the whole over its parts and form over impulse Realism adherence to actualities the logistics of everyday life objectivity Impressionism intuition sense responses to aesthetic objects Naturalism humans as part of nature adaption to external environment In response to Wilderness and Razor Wire John Calderazzo discusses the importance of nature in Ken Lamberton s life and writing I n the prison of his days to paraphrase W H Auden Lamberton is helped by nature by the winds and dust and sweet smelling raindrops that blow down from the nearby mountains which he sees framed in barbed wire This is nature unbound not just out there beyond the walls but slipping in through the bars swirling around his cell penetrating even his skin Swallows migrate then return to raise new young in their mud packed homes lending solace and spice to the impossibly slow turning of the seasons The swallows and

    Original URL path: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=1011&guideid=49 (2015-10-15)
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