Bonus Book Review Optional Assignment

Can earn up to 5% increase in your grade
(length – whatever it takes to do a good job; probably 3-5 pages)

You may have written a book report in high school that was a simple summary of a book.  OK, so that ensured (more or less) that you read the book, but was pretty mindless and boring.  That is NOT what this book review assignment is about.

 The idea of a professional book review is to briefly summarize the ideas of the book, but mainly to give your opinion about the book’s merits – it is a critical analysis of the book.  Just like in the literature critique assignment, ‘critical’ does not imply that you are going to be mean or harsh in your review.  It means that you are going to evaluate objectively whether the author(s) have fulfilled their objectives in the book, and whether they have used persuasive and unbiased evidence to support their claims.  Did you find the book engaging?  Persuasive?  Did you agree with it?  Did you enjoy it?  Would you recommend it to others?  What is the intended audience of the book?  Does it succeed in reaching this audience?

 Work hard on making your book review very readable to a general audience – it should flow well and be written nicely.  You should have an introduction, discussion of the book, and clear conclusion (although these don’t have to be broken into explicit sections – you can write this like an essay).  Include:

 (1)   The title and author of the book you are reviewing

(2)   The author’s objective(s) and audience

(3)   The author’s main arguments

(4)   Your evaluation of the author’s support of his arguments (provide examples)

(5)   Your evaluation of the author’s interpretation and success with his/her objectives in writing the book (provide examples)

(6)   Comparison with other books or sources if appropriate

(7)   Your conclusions about the book

(8)   You can rate the book with a number of ‘water droplets’ [like a number of stars] out of 5 possible if you’d like, but this isn’t mandatory.

Be sure to put any quotes from the book in quotation marks and to cite any sources used.

I’m going to start a webpage with reviews of aquatic topic books written by students.  If you give me permission, I will include your review on this page!  Then your recommendation may sway others to read (or not to read!) the book.

See me if you have additional questions!

Choose a book on a topic related to oceans, estuaries, or the organisms that live in them.  Feel free to search for your own book, but see me with your choice before starting.


Check out these or similar books, or any aquatic related book that might excite you!  There are thousands of possibilities -- if in doubt just try a search for a topic of interest in the Syracuse Library catalog or on Amazon -- tons of possible titles will probably appear.

Ballard, R. The Eternal Darkness: A Personal History of Deep-Sea Exploration

Darwin, C. 1845. The Voyage of the Beagle.

Dean, C. 1999. Against the Tide: The Battle for America's Beaches.

Dobbs, D. 2000. The Great Gulf: Fishermen, Scientists, and the Struggle to Revive the World's Greatest Fishery.

Ellis, R. 2003. The Empty Ocean.

Greenlaw, L. 2000. The Hungry Ocean: A Swordbook Captain's Journey

Greenlaw, L.  2003. The Lobster Chronicles: Life on a Very Small Island

Kurlansky, M. 1997. Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World.

Langstroth, L. and L. 2000. A Living Bay: The Underwater World of Monterey Bay.

Safina, C. 1997. Song for the Blue Ocean

Safina, C. 2003.  Eye of the Albatross.

Steinbeck, J. 1940s -- either Cannery Row or Sweet Thursday

Waldman, J. 2000. Heartbeats in the Muck: A Dramatic Look at the History, Sea Life and Environment of New York Harbor

 Warner, W.W. 1976. Beautiful Swimmers: Watermen, Crabs and the Chesapeake Bay.


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