February 23, 2017

Homework Help: English (Summer Reading Essay)

Posted by Dylan on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 at 10:54am.

During the summer of 2008 I read several different books. The two books that I enjoyed most were SUB 4:00 by Chris Lear and Salt A World History by Mark Kurlansky. I have been asked to “…discuss which author was more successful in creating a good piece of literature. Use examples from both books to explain your thinking.” What makes a successful piece of literature? This is the question that must first be answered before even attempting to write this essay. Weather or not something is “successful” or not is an opinion and not a fact so I have to come up with my own definition which must be done before proceeding.

Coming up with my own definition of “successful” that pertains to book quality is a rather taunting task. There are several different factors that will change a readers mind on the quality of the book. These things can range from character development, setting, plot, and so forth. As a reader I have expectations for all of these elements that make up a good book. If these expectations that I have as a reader are fulfilled I could call the book “successful”. Can these expectations change depending on several different other expectations?

I have expectations before I start reading as a reader. These expectations can change over time. So therefore I must consider the time and place that I read the book. Obliviously if I’m reading in the car for a few straight hours as I’m traveling on vacation I’ll have to ignore the radio. This would mean my expectations would go up for a book because the book would have to be even more interesting to help me ignore the radio as suppose to reading in a room that’s absolutely silent were I might be able tolerate negative elements of a book and not even know it because there’s nothing that could be distracting to a reader. Of course a reader has different expectations for different books. Let’s say I was reading a textbook. My expectations that I would have would be different than if I was reading a novel. Sense I chose two very different books it’s only normal that I would have different expectations while reading them. I would imagine if I were to just start analyzing these books you as a reader would have no idea what I am talking about because you’ve probably have never read them before so it’s necessary for me to include some background information on these books.

Sub 4:00 by Chris Lear is about Alan Webb who is a track athlete. This book focuses on his high school and college track career. He broke a record thought to last forever. For thirty four long years, not one American Schoolboy had run a sub-4:00 mile. Then Alan Webb comes along and becomes the first athlete to run a sub-4:00 mile in indoor track during their high school career in the US. A few months later who breaks Jim Ryun’s 36-year-old high school record running the impossible. He ran a 3:53.46 mile, which captured Webb to instant fame, earning him the title of “America’s Next Great Miler.” As you can see you would have had no idea what I was talking about if you have no background information at all in track and field. In order for me to call this book “successful” it’ll have to meet my expectations.

My expectations for reading Sub 4:00 by Chris Lear is rather different then Salt by Mark Kurlansky sense it’s not a novel. My expectations for this book is that it gives a detailed overview of both his high school and college track careers, easy enough to read, doesn’t bore me to death, entertains me enough to read the whole thing, discusses those feelings you get before and during the race, discusses some of the workouts he would do, and discusses how hard of a sport track and field really is. These expectations that I have are far different then Salt by Mark Kurlansky.

I can admit that I have very limited knowledge on the use of salt and it’s importance. My knowledge of history is vast but that the importance of salt in particular I haven’t studied before. So I don’t have many expectations for the book Salt by Mark Kurlansky. I expect to come away from reading this book with a great amount of new knowledge that I didn’t have before, it’s easy to read, it’s interesting enough to finish the book and that’s basically it.

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