by Harry Teitelbaum
For some time I've been toying with the idea of writing real book reviews instead of (or in addition to) chatty little blurbs like the one you're reading. So, I picked up How to Write Book Reports -- it's short and it claims to actually be about how to write book reviews. Unfortunately, it is targeted specifically at high school students (make sure you take notes on 3x5 cards and write an outline in the Harvard style), and the author often takes a condescending tone towards his audience.
Also (and I realize this is slightly pedantic), I have a difficult time taking a book seriously when it contains both this sentence: "Pronouns must agree with their antecedents in person, gender, and number," and this sentence: "Stephen Crane, for example, did not fight in the Civil War nor was she directly involved in combat, yet her Red Badge of Courage is attested to by many combat veterans as being a realistic portrayal of life and emotions at the front lines." Macbeth and Wordsworth are similarly mis-gendered, perhaps as a result of an automated conversion of male to female pronouns gone awry. So, I would not recommend this book.
copyright © 1999 John Regehr