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The Short Prose Reader 12/e
I Think, Therefore IM
A journalist and author explains how text messaging, Weblogs, and e-mail are changing the ways students write—and driving some teachers to distraction.
One of America’s most imaginative authors offers young writers the secrets of his success.
According to this writer-teacher, “clutter is the disease of American writing.” We must, Zinsser declares, simplify.
Novelist Amy Tan explains how her writing style achieved both passion and simplicity when she learned to value the criticism of her mother, who said after reading her daughter’s novel, “So easy to read.”
A Latina writer recalls how reading helped her overcome her childhood circumstances.
“Reading had changed forever the course of my life,” writes Malcolm X, who explains movingly how reading is both an activity of love and a tool of power.
The writer recalls the pleasure she found in smuggling home grade-school books so that she could teach her 70-year-old Greek grandmother to read.
This literary celebrity lashes out at television and the disastrous effect commercials have had on students’ reading abilities.
An award-winning poet and essayist bids good-bye to a season and its passing signs.
An acclaimed nature writer discovers in the Ecuadorian jungle the depths of experience that can be found in “the middle of nowhere.”
Squirming turtles, swimming catfish, pungent skunks, city pigeons: Why did Kingston’s mother bring the culture of China to their California kitchen?
A novelist evokes a puzzling and emotional visit to the site of the destroyed World Trade towers.
In a narrative of her youth, a writer remembers her efforts to obtain “a cultural divorce” from the heritage into which she was born.
One of America’s foremost poets tells of his childhood disillusionment as he struggled desperately to see Jesus.
Humorist and storyteller David Sedaris turns to his childhood and recounts a strange winter day when his mother sent him and his sisters out to play.
The renowned author of Animal Farm and 1984 discovers how precious human life is as he tells of witnessing an execution in Burma. “It is curious,” he recalls, “but till that moment I had never realized what it means to destroy a healthy, conscious man.”
Ever been confused by the owner’s manual that came with electronic equipment? Well, Bryson’s instructions are even more frustrating.
A popular essayist, novelist, and screenwriter offers a hilarious spoof on our preoccupation with terrorism and terrorists.
Avoiding insects. Getting a good rest. Cooking trout just right. This essay can make anyone’s next camping trip a success.
A prolific writer and winner of a 1989 National Book Award explores the politics of the hairdo by recalling his experiences as a child in his mother’s home beauty parlor.
An avid “night walker” explains how his seemingly innocent habit has turned him into “an accomplice in tyranny.”
The feminist social critic discovers that there is something useful to be learned from men after all: how to be tough.
“Advocates for the homeless report countless examples of students sleeping in their cars and sneaking into a school gym to shower and change clothes.”
Globalization, Diamond claims, is nothing new: Early farmers carried their genes, foods, technologies, cultures, and languages around the world.
One of America’s most celebrated naturalists warns us of the future in a grim contrast between a flourishing environment and a destroyed landscape plagued by a mysterious curse.
The newspaper humorist takes a close look at the war of the sexes and isn’t quite sure which side he should be on.
This writer focuses on a study that discovered why white girls dislike their bodies, but black girls are proud of theirs.”
A writer investigates the provocative issue of whether ethnic and racial diversity fosters community or social isolation.
The acknowledged master of horror shares his thoughts on why people love to be frightened.
Holocaust survivor, author, and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Elie Wiesel explains what prompted him to become an American citizen more than forty years ago and how he feels about his adopted country today.
This fiction writer offers a colorful, compelling explanation of why he has come to settle in one place.
A science writer explores the unintended consequences of genetic screening for disease.
This popular writer believes that friendships fall into numerous categories,“are conducted at many levels of intensity,” and “meet different needs.”
A law professor takes a critical look at “several environmentalisms.”
This writer claims that advertisements and other images in American magazines classify ethnic groups on the basis of prevailing stereotypes.
This gently satirical essay introduces a dozen student types that everyone knows and loves—among others, the performer, the jock, the lost soul, the worker ant, and finally, the student.
A junior history major at Yale University defines his generation as “post-cold war, postindustrial, post-baby boom, post-9/11.”
The popular Chicano writer takes a poetic approach to explaining how a common but complicated human emotion manifests itself in the deserts of Texas.
Celebrated New York Times contributor and best-selling author Thomas Friedman takes pride in the current generation of college students.
A Word’s Meaning (Mixing Patterns)
Novelist and short fiction writer Gloria Naylor asserts that the meaning of a word goes beyond the dictionary—especially when it is the N-word.
A professor of law in Australia argues that at times the unthinkable becomes permissible.
Torture’s Terrible Toll
The war hero and United States senator, who was tortured during more than five years in captivity, rejects cruelty in the treatment of prisoners.
With biting precision, a noted educator and social critic disputes a commonly accepted opinion about the cause of the ever-increasing problem of homelessness.
“Not enough is written or said about the impact of the American neighborhood—officially secular, informally tolerant of many faiths.”
A leading scholar argues that not only is the idea of uniform Asian-American superiority a myth, but a myth that often veils racist sentiment directed at other groups.
Hirshman argues that men should share the burden of child care, and that educated women harm their cause when they leave the workforce.
A well-known novelist and nonfiction writer declares, “There is a war going on in the streets of New York City” between the Stay-at-Home Mothers and their adversaries, the Working Mothers and Women Without Children.
A celebrated novelist and newspaper and magazine columnist admits that by “the new standards of mothering,” her mother was “a bust.”
A witty, sharp-tongued columnist and political critic argues that the Bill of Rights ought not to protect “gun nuts.”
In one of the great pieces of American oratory, King argues logically, emotionally, and ethically for equality of the races.
A Harvard professor decries “the use of the prison system as a means of controlling young black men.”