Ways of Reading: An Anthology for Writers

Ways of Reading: An Anthology for Writers

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Ways of Reading: An Anthology for Writers 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In my first English class as a college freshman, I took a class entitled Ways of Being, Ways of Seeing, for which we used Ways of Reading: An Anthology for Writers. David Bartholomae and Anthony Petroksy¿s anthology is a collection of diverse essays, all of which exhibit an array of points of view. I found this text useful in that it both interested me and also enhanced my skills as a reader. Through diverse, multi-dimensional essays, Ways of Reading allowed me to explore different points of view while enhancing my skills as a responsive reader. What is striking about this text, outside the individual essays themselves, is Making a Mark, the introduction to Ways of Seeing. The first assignment in our English class was to read the preface, and I found myself greatly perplexed and intrigued after reading it. The introduction prepares the reader by explaining the methods of reading ¿with¿ and ¿against the grain,¿ methods which at first I had trouble identifying with. Through encouragement from the professor and also from the text, I soon began looking at every reading assignment across my curriculum in a different light. Ways of Seeing helped me not only with my particular English class, but also with classes I was taking at the time such as American Studies and Washington, D.C Politics and Literature. The essays included in this text are challenging, a characteristic that is influential to the effectiveness of the anthology. I found myself reading the text more closely than I usually have done in the past to feel as though I could have a grasp on what the author is trying to convey. Do not think that these essays are impossible to read; I found none, although challenging, to be incomprehensible. One such essay that I struggled with, but with time I understood, was Susan Griffin¿s Our Secret. Griffin successfully weaves history and personal testament together while examining the influence of secrets in our lives. At first I could not see how DNA, Henrich Himmler, and the personal threads from the author¿s life could fit nicely into one essay. After careful exploration however I began to see how one as a writer can take such a wide array of topics and mesh them together to form an in-depth essay. While I think Ways of Reading includes a fairly diverse selection of essays, it must be said that in class we read selectively, reading less than half of the included works. My opinion is biased because of this, but I stress that what I read I enjoyed and found beneficial. The essays were cohesive and informative, but at the same time were not forced down your throat as I have found some literature in English courses. I think that this text would be most useful in a class similar to mine, which, as stated before, focused on exploring different points of views and the forces behind them. While many of the essays featured historical issues, I do not feel as though it should be used in any class other then English. I found Ways of Reading to be an instrument that worked to develop my reading and writing skills, and this is most always found solely in an English course. Ways of Reading proved difficult during some essays, but overall I believe it had many positive effects on my reading, writing, and general point of view. I know that is asking much of a text, but I truly feel that this anthology would be beneficial to other freshmen in college. Ways of Reading allowed me to work with my own skills, presenting situations and ideas to me that I was able to move further beyond and formulate new thoughts and viewpoints on. It of course is not without its faults, but I think that this text is a good selection for college English introductory courses which aim to expand on students¿ skills and ways of thinking.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ways of Reading is an anthology composed of excerpts from well-known books from notorious writers. The authors take unique points of view on topics that generally hold interest and controversy in society. For example, Susan Griffin, in an excerpt from A Chorus of Stones writes about what compels Heinrich Himmler and his motives as head of the SS in Nazi Germany. I am a college student at The George Washington University enrolled in English: Ways of Being Ways of Seeing therefore, though I read a portion of this anthology, I have not read the entire book. However, as a student, I have read many parts of this book in detail and have been able to take what the author writes and provide myself with a reflective analysis about those readings. While I have generally disagreed with what many of the authors have said, the book serves its purpose very well. Its excerpts provide the reader incentive to think on a different, deeper level where he or she would have not thought of before. As a result, the anthology creates very active classroom discussion particularly because the readings have to do with matters in which students take particular interest. Thus, the book allows students to develop a strong point of view through the arguments they create. For example, our class spent a great deal of time talking about culture and language within a culture. As one would expect, opinions flared. Gloria Anzaldua and James Baldwin were the authors of two excerpts we read for this topic. These two authors went into detail about topics like dialect vs. language and how language effects culture. These debates were very active amongst the class because each person had their own opinion to share on the topic at hand. Regardless of whether they agree or disagree with the author, the book gave our class a chance to think on a different level and express those opinions amongst a group. This book serves its most useful purposes in very particular classes however. It would be best fitted for a class that focuses on critical thinking or a class where one would make a persuasive speech. Therefore, I believe that Ways of Reading serves as a most effective functional tool when oral presentations where one must give an opinion or take a stand are given. Ways of Reading is not, however, the book for a class designed to develop writing technique. Writing concentrates on a different focus than what this book achieves. Writing an analytical response to an excerpt from here would not be at all unique bring the reader to a new place of thinking. As far as I am concerned, writing virtually eliminates classroom input and the written responses would be very critical of the author because the written response would be ones own thoughts on the subject at hand. If the reader does not agree with the author, the paper would turn out to be very faultfinding and it would not achieve thinking on a deeper level but rather make for a frustrated reader. The writer would have no thoughts from classmates to perhaps make him or her think on a different level. Discussion is an integral part of the success of the classroom and this book. The writings are very ¿¿intellectually challenging¿¿(David Griffith, University of Pittsburgh) and if the students do not discuss what they read there could be a result of mass confusion and frustration. The classroom experience, however, quells these hostile emotions that may negatively affect the goal of understanding scholars on a deep level. Rather than writing one¿s thoughts on a piece of paper and handing it in for a grade, that person can present his or her thoughts to a ¿panel¿ which can either help develop thoughts more or bring the thoughts to a different perspective (¿the other side¿) that the reader has not yet seen. Whatever response one sparks from his or her listeners, the thought provoking topics create class discussion and strong points of view and, ultimately, the book has been successful. Ways of Reading serves as an essentia
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ways of Reading, edited by David Bartholomae and Anthony Petrosky is a compilation of stories regarding different ways of reading. This anthology, used in the right way is very insightful and can provoke thought and discussion. As a college student, I would most certainly recommend this book to professors, or even for enjoyment. Ways of Reading opens readers to a new thought process, as it explores many methods of thinking on certain topics. Many of the essays included in this anthology are controversial in nature. Debate often arises when discussing the essays included in this book. Many new viewpoints arose in my mind, and often existing points of view were challenged. The introduction to Ways of Reading was one of the weaker sections of the book. In my opinion, the Preface had little in common with the stories and offered little support or necessity. Because of this, the essays exceeded my initial expectations based on the introduction. Before each essay, there is a separate introduction of the author and essay which was very helpful, as it made it easier to understand what each essay was about and to understand the viewpoint more clearly. There is another section named ¿Questions for a Second Reading¿ that were also quite helpful. When re-reading an essay, it was often vital to read the ¿Questions for a Second Reading¿ so as to understand what to focus for the second reading that a person might have missed during the first reading. This section also would aid someone with a learning disability because they might be able to focus on these questions to check that they understood important concepts and read carefully enough. I would suggest that this book not be taught alone, but with additional material to support and challenge different views and subjects presented in this book. In particular, my class did a study on racism (various people who were or are in the KKK or other racist and anti-Semitic groups). This sequence of readings was the most interesting sequence because of the viewpoints that we looked at. Readings by David Duke, C.P. Ellis, Matt Hale, and Paul Deputy supported this book by further looking into point of view. What I found to be of particular interest was comparing two readings at a time. Comparing multiple readings of Gloria Anzaldua in addition to outside reading material on the bias of language was one of the most interesting assignments that our class had to do. Along with a few other reading assignments such as, ¿Language in Another Mode,¿ by Harlan Lane, ¿If Black Isn¿t A Language, Tell Me What Is,¿ by James Baldwin and ¿Why I Choose to Write in Irish, The Corpse That Sits Up and Talks Back,¿ by Nuala Ní Dhomnaill, our class discussed what the difference is between a dialect and a language, what makes a language vital to a society and culture, and what the merits of American Sign Language are. Ways of Reading facilitated these discussions by initially gauging our interests in terms of the differences in the Spanish language (in the reading by Anzaldua). Some amount of caution needs to be taken when teaching this book. Because the book does not cover every aspect of every given topic (or opinion), it may be necessary to allow students to branch out and read other opinions not given in the anthology if the class seems to require that for the maximum allowance of understanding. All in all, this book was a highly effective tool for learning about identity. In conclusion, this book provokes much thought into different ideals that make people different. Although not every barrier is crossed, a great effort seems to have gone into the making of the least biased book possible, which allows for each view to gain its own recognition within the book.