commentary and criticism on Text Book

I miss Blau. I realize that I’m not saying anything new here, but I’m not very inspired by Text Book. Since we had read a piece by Scholes earlier in the semester and I found myself referring to it often when discussing other readings, I was looking forward to reading Text Book. Sigh. I’m hoping I’ll have more warm fuzzies towards the book as we continue discussing and reading. Here are some of my thoughts on Text Book…

• As a couple others have mentioned, the formatting of the book has been a hurdle for me. I’m very OCD, and the format of the book with the headings, subheadings, etc, is really messing with me! Some of the headings seem to be in the wrong place, and sometimes it is unclear what text is part of an excerpt, and what text is the commentary of the authors!

• While the readings are interesting, I keep thinking I’m reading a study of linguistics and semiotics. Granted, these areas of study play into literature, but I keep expecting more.

• Are the authors really accomplishing their goal of teaching that we “[learn] literary theory by emulating literary practice” (v)? Yes, they include various writing activities after the reading selections, but are these activities really new and different? They often require the reader/student to examine the writers use of language, as mentioned in the point above, and many activities are creative (such as POV responses), but I’m still questioning “writing through literature.” Am I missing something?

• I do like how the book focuses on studying how writers use language. The authors also ask their readers (students) to consider the effect of this use of language. These are two big key words we use in IB English—HOW (technique, choices) and EFFECT (why? So what?)

 • Another positive…Text Book speaks to and reaffirms the notion that we are constantly interpreting! I think it’s important to remind our more reluctant students of this very true fact. My regular-level students complain that “we always have to look for a deeper meaning.” In reality, they’re always looking for deeper meanings, and they pick up on these deeper meanings—in TV shows, movies, advertisements, text messages (as someone in class pointed out a few weeks back), etc. I like how the authors of Text Book discuss the interpretation of things such as advertisements and dreams, not just literary works.