English (Summer Reading Essay)

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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.

  • English (Summer Reading Essay) -

    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.

  • English (Summer Reading Essay) -

    This paragraph needs to be either paragraph 2 or 3 in the outline I gave you yesterday. Needless to say, you'll need to cut it way down because you need to make it less storytelling and more about the literary elements and how they contributed to the book's success.

  • English (Summer Reading Essay) -

    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.

  • English (Summer Reading Essay) -

    This paragraph's ideas need to go into the previous paragraph -- and concise, concise, concise!!

  • English (Summer Reading Essay) -

    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.

  • English (Summer Reading Essay) -

    This paragraph needs to disappear.

  • English (Summer Reading Essay) -

    --------------------------[END]----------------------------------------

  • English (Summer Reading Essay) -

    This is a rough draft of the introduction to my essay that I have to write for summer reading. I've had a string of terrible English TEachers so I'll know that I'll need a lot of help here.

  • English (Summer Reading Essay) -

    Here's what I've been given to work with...

    In a five-paragraph essay, discuss which author was more successful in creating a good piece of literature. Use examples from both books to explain your thinking.

    The student demonstrates an understanding of both books

    the student demonstrates judgments about the literary quality of each book

    the student supports these judgments with examples from both books

    the student prepares an insightful analysis of the literary elements in the books

    -----------------END------------------

    This is only the introduction to my essay so lots of it is missing but I think it's a good start.

  • English (Summer Reading Essay) -

    I reposted it by the way becasue it was just terrible before when it was all one paragraph becasue I couldn't post multiple paragraphs I had to make it all one and even now it wouldn't let me so I had to post sevearl paragaphs in there on post. At least now it'll be more easier to read.

  • English (Summer Reading Essay) -

    This is fine. Give me time to go through it and I'll get back to you in 2-3 hours.

    Other teachers may have comments in the meantime.

    =)

  • English (Summer Reading Essay) -

    From your instructions:
    In a five-paragraph essay, discuss which author was more successful in creating a good piece of literature. Use examples from both books to explain your thinking.

    You have written far more than a five-paragraph paper. If one of my students had done this, the paper would be automatically returned with a zero score and one chance to rewrite for a 15%-off score. (For a perfect paper with a score of 100, you'd get 85 points in the gradebook.) Some teachers don't even give you a chance to rewrite!!

    Is this summer reading and writing in preparation for an AP class next year? If so, one of the major goals is to get students to write CONCISE papers in a limited time -- 25 or 35 minutes max. And usually there are three or four essay questions in each AP English test. If you want to see the types of questions asked and the layout of the exams, you can order released AP tests at www.collegeboard.com >> Students

    OK -- back to your paper:

    Paragraph 1

    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.

    1. Delete everything I put in italics.
    2. Make sure all book titles are either underlined or italicized in the paper you submit to your teacher.
    3. Write a really good thesis statement to put at the end of this paragraph. A GOOD thesis statement needs to include the topic you've chosen and YOUR ANGLE (your position, your stance, your opinion) about that topic. Try some variation on this:

    Both these books are interesting and successful in their own ways, but I believe that the author of SUB 4:00 is the more successful of the two.
    Now, what is obvious is that you need to state IN ONE OR TWO SENTENCES what you believe a "successful" and "good piece of literature" is. You cannot be flipping and flopping all over the place with expectations. All that stuff needs to disappear, and you need to substitute your CONCISE definition of what you consider to be successful, good literature.

    Let me know if this doesn't make sense.

    Please repost once you have that first paragraph rewritten.

    =)

    PS -- did you read the information in the links I sent you yesterday? All of them??

  • English (Summer Reading Essay) -

    Email me at writeacher@hotmail.com

  • English (Summer Reading Essay) -

    I would like to read all this for you as well, but it will take me longer than Writeacher, I'm sure because this is my busy day!

    Sra

  • English (Summer Reading Essay) -

    Just in case you didn't see some Websites on the literature you read, here are some:

    1. (book review of SUB4:00): http://www.runningforums.com/Running_Book_Review__Sub_4_00_by_Chris_Lear_t18915.html

    2. (brief summary of the book): http://www.rodalestore.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10002&storeId=10051&productId=15326&langId=-1

    3. (blog, pictures): http://wordpress.com/tag/chris-lear/

    4. (podcast with the author): http://www.thefinalsprint.com/2007/12/podcast-106-chris-lear-author-of-running-with-the-buffaloes-part-1-of-2/

    Salt: A World History

    1. (review): http://www.eyrie.org/~eagle/reviews/books/0-8027-1373-4.html

    2. (another review): http://www.elise.com/books/el/archives/salt_a_world_history_mark_kurlansky.php

    3. (Library Leaves, a blog): http://westlafpl.blogspot.com/2008/01/salt-world-history-by-mark-kurlansky.html

    4. (another review): (Broken Link Removed)

    Importance of salt:

    1. (history): http://www-geology.ucdavis.edu/~cowen/~GEL115/salt.html

    2. (Celtic sea salt): http://www.leaflady.org/salt.htm

    3. (history & importance of salt): (Broken Link Removed)

    4. (UC Davis, geology): http://42explore.com/salt.htm

    5. (Iodized salt): http://www.saltco.com/Importance.htm

    6. (importance in an athlete's diet): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17617999

    There is some "background" on your summer project. When I read that you had had bad teachers, it reminded me of what I used to tell my students when they said that: "A good student will learn in spite of a bad teacher and a poor student will not learn with the best teacher." At the beginning of each school year all my students wanted to complain about the teacher they had the year before. A young lady (named Susie, because I never forget her) said "My teacher last year...." to which I said "Just a minute, let me remind you I was your teacher last year!" That ended the gripe session!

    I'll be back with some grammar points.

    Sra

  • English (Summer Reading Essay) -

    Part II for Dylan:

    What makes literature successful? That is subjective and you explained your thoughts well. The writer must have talent, write well, have the ability to describe, be versatile, original, creative and have a good story. If the author is interested in the subject, the writing should be interesting. The style can be quite different, depending upon the culture of the author. Some get directly to the point, others "beat around the bush," making it more difficult to ascertain the main point, but it can still be successful!

    What you wrote about expectations was also interesting. A quiet place to read certainly makes it easier to focus.

    Some grammar points:
    thirty four is usually hyphenated = thirty-four
    indoor track during "their" high school career = it's not clear to whom "their" refers; perhaps "his?"
    Paragraph 2 = My expectations for reading IS = should be ARE as expectations is plural (that appeared twice)
    sense it's not a novel = spelling = since
    how hard of a sport track = delete "of a"
    Paragraph 3 = didn't have before, it's easy to read = better with a semi-colon, making 2 separate thoughts?

    The Prompt is quite clear: 5-paragrap essay, exampls, judgments, insightful analysis
    If you have "spell check" that would be good; just be sure all spelling is correct. There are sites for analysis of literature, when you are ready.

    Now I "bow" to the expertise of Writeacher!

    Sra

    P.S. I didn't proofread what I wrote as I'm late!

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