Avid Potters The Impending Crisis: Chapters 11-20 Only

A critical book review is NOT simply re-telling the plot and events of the book. In fact, you should summarize this information in no more than two paragraphs, preferably one. I already know what happens in the book. You are required to analyze the arguments and theses advanced by the author. The purpose of your reviews is to communicate what you learned from the book, what the author was trying to do, how they did it, and to provide your assessment of their success or failure. Explain how the author used facts to make their point. If you believe the authoras logic to be sound, point that out. Likewise, if you find what you believe to be a failure in their logic or in the manner in which they used their sources, point that out.

Here is a breakdown of what constitutes a successful paper:

1. Each review MUST begin with an introductory paragraph which quickly introduces the book and its argument, and foreshadows your assessment of its success or failure at meeting its goals.

2. That MUST be followed by a one or two paragraph summation of what the book was about. Often this is a difficult taska breaking down a 200-300 page book in one or two paragraphsa but the practice of doing so will help you to hone in on the most essential point and purpose of the book.

3. From there, the bulk of your paper MUST discuss the types of sources (giving specific examples) the author used, the logic implored, and your assessment of its successes or failures. The authoras writing style is important to considera we all know that some books are easier and more interesting to read than others, and well written books usually strengthen their theses because of their readability. So comment on this, but do not dwell too deeply on that aspect of the book.

4. Lastly, your reviews MUST include a concluding paragraph that sums up everything you have said in a few cogent sentences. The last paragraph is not the time for new thoughts or ideas.

Here is a hint: most good papers are those that have strong, tight, and carefully crafted introductions and conclusions.

One other worda NEVER USE BLOCK QUOTES. They are boring, and are almost always a sign of lazy writing.


1) All papers must be written in Microsoft Word or in Corel WordPerfect
2) Page numbers a top right
3) Margins a 1 A?a? Binding side (left) / 1a? a Top, right, and bottom
4) Font a 12 point Times New Roman
5) Double line spacing
6) No double line spacing between paragraphs
7) Indent all new paragraphs
8) Dates should be written as a?19th Centurya? or a?1950sa? a numerically
9) Dates should be written 21 March 1918. (Ok, we can do away with this one. This is America after all. March 21, 1918 is fine).
10) Months must be written out
11) Only time a date is written out is when it starts a sentence
12) Time of day should be written out a a?eight oaclock in the morninga?
13) Numbers up to ten should be written out
14) After ten, must use numeric designation


1) Formal grammar applies
2) Spelling
3) Capitalization
4) One idea per paragraph
5) Transition from one paragraph to the next
6) Use first and last names when introducing author for the first time
7) American English has no historical present tense
8) Write in past tense
9) The term a?dataa? is plural
10) Use a?becausea?
11) Word choice a be selective a avoid ambiguity
12) Avoid the following:
a) Using the slang aint, and any other slang
b) Using the word a?felta?
c) Using the word a?thinga?
d) Using a?Ia? and a?youa?
e) Making lists
f) Contractions
g) Parentheses
h) Colons and semicolons
i) Unnecessary long quotes
j) Questions?
k) Overly-broad constructions such as a?the black mana? or a?the white mana?
l) Referring to non-fiction books as a?novels.a?
m) Using impact (or any other noun) as a verb. We are aware that it is common now for people to use impact as a verb; we are aware that many unabridged dictionaries go so far as to embrace this practice. We, however, do not. Formal written English does not allow for such usages and, of course, they are forbidden in this class. Incidentally, this misuse of a?impacta? arises from Americansa inability to distinguish between a?effecta? and a?affect,a? both of which are lovely and useful words.
n) Doing anything contrary to the strictures of Strunk & White, Elements of Style.
o) Writing that a?the author gives . . .a? No. The author does not a?givea? anything. The author shows, describes, presents, illumines, opines, dissects, analyzes, etc.