Brief Bedford Reader / Edition 10

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A compact version of one of the most popular composition readers available today—at a significant savings to students—The Brief Bedford Reader provides 45 compelling readings by excellent writers and all the practical instructional material of the full-length book to connect critical reading to academic writing. The unique "Writers on Writing" feature illustrates the many ways writers create meaning from what they read and experience. The twelfth edition provides even more helpful guidance for students on critical reading and writing, a new appendix with advice on APA documentation, and an updated selection of compelling readings. The print text is now integrated with e-Pages for The Brief Bedford Reader, designed to take advantage of what the Web can do, with provocative new essays and multimodal selections.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312472078
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 3/6/2008
  • Edition description: Tenth Edition
  • Edition number: 10
  • Pages: 736
  • Product dimensions: 9.06 (w) x 11.14 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

X. J. Kennedy is an acclaimed poet, children’s author, college teacher, and textbook author. He has taught freshman composition at the University of Michigan; the University of North Carolina, Greensboro; and Tufts University. Since 1966, more than 2 million students have treasured his introductory literature texts and The Bedford Reader, coedited with Dorothy M. Kennedy and Jane E. Aaron, now in its ninth edition.
Dorothy M. Kennedy is a writer and editor whose articles and reviews have ppeared in both professional and academic journals. She has taught composition at the University of Michigan and Ohio University and, with X. J. Kennedy, is the recipient of the NCTE Teacher's Choice Award for Knock at a Star: A Child's Introduction to Poetry.
Jane E. Aaron is a professional writer and editor as well as an experienced teacher. She is the author of the best selling Little, Brown Handbook and coeditor of the best-selling Bedford Reader, Eighth Edition (Bedford/St. Martin's, 2003). She has served as consultant, editor, or writer on more than a dozen other textbooks for the first-year composition course.

Ellen Kuhl Repetto (M.A., University of Massachusetts Boston) is a freelance editor and writer who has contributed to more than twenty composition readers, handbooks, and rhetorics. She is the author of The Bedford/St. Martin's Textbook Reader (2003), Readings for Discoveries: A Collection of Short Essays (2006), and Hope over Hardship: A History of the Boston Home, 1881 - 2006 (2007).

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Table of Contents

*New to this edition


*How to Use This Book

PART ONE: Reading, Writing, and Research

1 Critical Reading

Reading Closely

  Previewing • Writing while reading

Nancy Mairs Disability (annotated essay)

Developing an Understanding

  Summarizing • Thinking critically

*Checklist for critical reading

Analyzing an Essay

  Meaning • Writing strategy • Language

*Questions for analyzing an essay

Thinking Critically about Visual Images 

*Questions for analyzing a visual image

  The big picture • Analysis • Inference • Synthesis • Evaluation

*Visual Image: Man Fishing by a Power Plant, photograph by Robin Nelson

2 The Writing Process

Assessing the Writing Situation

  Subject • Audience and purpose • Genre

Discovering Ideas

  Journal writing • Freewriting • Using the methods of development

Focusing on a Thesis

  *Finding a focus • Crafting a thesis statement


  *The body • The introduction and conclusion


  Purpose and genre • Thesis • Unity • Development • Coherence

Questions for revision


  Effective language • Clear and engaging sentences • Standard grammar

Questions for editing

An Essay-in-Progress

  Discovering ideas and drafting • Revising • Editing • Final draft

Rosie Anaya Mental Illness on Television (annotated student essay)

3 Academic Writing

Responding to a Text

  Forming a reponse • Synthesizing your own and another’s views

working with evidence

  *Avoiding plagiarism • Summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting • Integrating source material

writing from research

  *Using the library • Evaluating sources • Synthesizing multiple sources

*Questions for evaluating sources

source citation using MLA style 

  MLA parenthetical citations • MLA list of works cited

a sample research paper in MLA style

Rosie Anaya The Best Kept Secret on Campus (annotated student essay)

Rosie Anaya on Writing


The Methods

4 Narration: Telling a Story

*Visual Image: Missed Connection, drawing by Adrian Tomine

the method

the process

  Purpose and shape • The thesis • The narrator in the story • What to emphasize • Organization

Focus on verbs

Checklist for revising a narrative

narration in academic writing

  A geology textbook • A business case study

Emily Thibodeau Company History (annotated student writing)


Maya Angelou Champion of the World

  Maya Angelou on Writing

Amy Tan Fish Cheeks

Annie Dillard The Chase

  Annie Dillard on Writing

*Junot Díaz The Dreamer

  Junot Díaz on Writing

[e-Page] National Geographic In the Shadow of Wounded Knee: Pine Ridge Community Storytelling Project (oral histories)

5 Description: Writing with Your Senses

Visual Image: Doug and Mizan’s House, East River, photograph by Margaret Morton

the method

the process

  Purpose and audience • Dominant impression and thesis • Organization • Details

Focus on specific and concrete language

Checklist for revising a description

description in academic writing

  *An art history textbook • A field observation in child development

Nick Fiorelli from Teaching Methodologies at Child’s Play Preschool (annotated student writing)


Brad Manning Arm Wrestling with My Father (student essay)

  Brad Manning on Writing

Sarah Vowell Shooting Dad

  Sarah Vowell on Writing

Elizabeth Gilbert The Best Pizza in the World

*Sven Birkerts Ladder

[e-Page] Joan Didion The Santa Ana (audio essay)

6 Example: Pointing to Instances

Visual Image: Low-Energy Drinks, cartoon by Glen Le Lievre

the method

the process

  The generalization and the thesis • The examples

Focus on sentence variety

Checklist for revising an example essay

examples in academic writing

  An economics textbook • A job-application letter

Kharron Reid Letter to E-line Systems (annotated student writing)


*Kellie Young The Undercurrent (student essay)

*Michael Chabon XO9

  Michael Chabon on Writing

Anna Quindlen Homeless

  Anna Quindlen on Writing

Brent Staples Black Men and Public Space

  Brent Staples on Writing

[e-Page] Luis Alberto Urrea Life on the Mississippi (audio essay)

7 Comparison and Contrast: Setting Things Side by Side

Visual Image: American Gothic, painting by Grant Wood; Rural Rehabilitation Client,

photograph by Ben Shahn

the method

  Uses of comparison and contrast • Purposes

the process

  Subjects for comparison • Basis for comparison and thesis • Organization • Balance and flexibility

*Focus on parallelism

Checklist for revising a comparison and contrast

comparison and contrast in academic writing

  *A communication textbook • A review of popular music

Charlotte Pak from Beyoncé Knowles: Soloist (annotated student writing)


Suzanne Britt Neat People vs. Sloppy People

  Suzanne Britt on Writing

Dave Barry Batting Clean-Up and Striking Out

  Dave Barry on Writing

*Andrea Roman "We’re Not . . ." (student essay)

  Andrea Roman on Writing

David Sedaris Remembering My Childhood on the Continent of Africa

  David Sedaris on Writing

[e-Page] Alan Watts Life and Music (flash animation)

8 Process ANalysis: Explaining Step by Step

Visual Image: Workers Making Dolls, photograph by Wally McNamee

the method

the process

Focus on consistency

Checklist for revising a process analysis

process analysis in academic writing

  A psychology textbook • A chemistry lab report

Victor Khoury from DNA Extraction (annotated student writing)


Firoozeh Dumas Sweet, Sour, and Resentful

  Firoozeh Dumas on Writing

*June Melby How to Make a Sno-Cone

*Dan Koeppel Taking a Fall

Jessica Mitford Behind the Formaldehyde Curtain

  Jessica Mitford on Writing

[e-Page] Dove Evolution of a Model (video)

9 Division or Analysis: Slicing into Parts

Visual Image: Deconstructing Lunch, cartoon by Roz Chast

the method

  Kinds of division or analysis • Analysis and critical thinking

the process

  Subject and purpose • Principle of analysis and thesis • Evidence

Focus on paragraph coherence

Checklist for revising a division or analysis essay

division or analysis in academic writing

  *A political science textbook • An annotated bibliography for literature

Lauren Soto from Edgar Allan Poe’s Revenge (annotated student writing)


Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan Vampires Never Die

  Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan on Writing

*James Parker Our Zombies, Ourselves

  James Parker on Writing

*Robert Lipsyte Jock Culture

Francine Prose What Words Can Tell

  Francine Prose on Writing

[e-Page] Jamaica Kincaid Girl (audio short story)

10 Classification: Sorting into Kinds

*Visual Image: How the Poor, the Middle Class, and the Rich Spend Their Money, table

by NPR

the method

  Subjects and reasons for classification • Kinds of classification

the process

  Purposes and theses • Categories

Focus on paragraph development

Checklist for revising a classification

classification in academic writing

  An anthropology textbook • A computer science résumé

Kharron Reid Résumé (annotated student writing)

*failures to communicate

Deborah Tannen But What Do You Mean?

  Deborah Tannen on Writing

William Lutz The World of Doublespeak

  William Lutz on Writing

Russell Baker The Plot against People

  Russell Baker on Writing

*Jeff Wise Deadly Mind Traps

[e-Page] US Census Bureau, 2010 Census: United States Profile (map)

11 Cause and Effect: Asking Why

Visual Image: Im txtng while drvg, cartoon by Mike Luckovitch

the method

the process

  Subject and purpose • Thesis • Causal relations • Discovery of causes • Educated guesses

Focus on clarity and conciseness

Checklist for revising a cause-and-effect essay

cause and effect in academic writing

  A history textbook • A letter to the sports editor

Kate Krueger Letter to the Weekly (annotated student writing)


Chitra Divakaruni Live Free and Starve

  Chitra Divakaruni on Writing

Marie Javdani Plato o Plomo: Silver or Lead (documented student essay)

  Marie Javdani on Writing

*Dan Ariely Why We Lie

*Christopher Beam Blood Loss

[e-Page] Randall Munroe, Everybody Jump (illustrated blog)

12 Definition: Tracing Boundaries

Visual Image: There’s Strong, advertisement for the US Army

the method

the process

  Discovery of meanings • Methods of development • Thesis • Evidence

Focus on paragraph and essay unity

Checklist for revising a definition

definition in academic writing

  A biology textbook • A government essay exam

Martin Ward Civil Liberties (annotated student writing)

hurtful words

Gloria Naylor The Meanings of a Word

  Glorida Naylor on Writing

Christine Leong Being a Chink (student essay)

  Christine Leong on Writing

*Meghan Daum Narcissist — Give It a Rest

  Meghan Daum on Writing

Thomas Sowell "Needs"

[e-Page] Schroeder Veidt Dr. Carmella’s Guide to Understanding the Introverted (cartoon)

13 Argument and Persuasion: Stating Opinions and Proposals

Visual Image: Corporate America Flag, image from Adbusters Media Foundation

the method

  Audience and common ground • Elements of argument • Reasoning

the process

  Finding a subject • Organizing

Focus on tone

Checklist for revising argument and persuasion

argument and persuasion in academic writing

  A public relations textbook • An environmental proposal

Amelia Jones from Environmental Initiative for Corden University (annotated student writing)

Linda Chavez Supporting Family Values

  Linda Chavez on Writing

same-sex marriage

Katha Pollitt What’s Wrong with Gay Marriage?

Charles Colson Gay "Marriage": Societal Suicide


*Bill McKibben Waste Not, Want Not

*Derrick Jensen Forget Shorter Showers

  Derrick Jensen on Writing

*Margaret Lundberg Eating Green (documented student essay)

  Margaret Lundberg on Writing

[e-Page] work-life balance

[e-Page] Ann-Marie Slaughter Why Women Still Can’t Have It All (magazine feature)

[e-Page] Reader’s Digest The Essay that Rocked the Internet (quotations)

[e-Page] Andrew Cohen "Having It All"? How about "Doing the Best I Can"? (blog post)


Mixing the Methods

*Sherman Alexie Superman and Me

  Sherman Alexie on Writing

Judy Brady I Want a Wife

  Judy Brady on Writing

Martin Luther King, Jr. I Have a Dream

George Orwell Shooting an Elephant

  George Orwell on Writing

E. B. White Once More to the Lake

  E. B. White on Writing


APA documentation

source citation using APA style

  APA parenthetical citations • APA references

sample pages in APA style

Rosie Anaya from The Best Kept Secret on Campus (annotated student writing)

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