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Writing

Ask an English Teacher: “Like” vs. “Not Unlike”

A regular reader of this blog recently wrote with the following quandary: Q: It drives me crazy when I hear someone say “It’s not dissimilar to…” or “It’s not unlike...”  THEN IT’S SIMILAR OR IT’S LIKE, YOU IDIOT! Please explain this language phenomenon... Continue Reading →

On Writing in Books

Last week, I talked a bit about the value of what I call active reading. One of the things I mentioned was that readers -- particularly students of literature -- shouldn't be afraid to write in their books (assuming, of... Continue Reading →

A Book in My Head: Mike Doughty on The Book of Drugs

"It wasn't so much wanting to write a book as realizing I had a book to write."

Writing About Literature (Pt. 3: Support)

The main thing to remember when you’re writing a paper for a literature course is that you’re not just letting your professor know that you did the reading. Rather, you’re making a point about the text.

Writing About Literature (Pt. 2: Thesis)

While you will certainly include a little bit of summary in your paper, your main job is to make a point about the text.

Writing About Literature (Pt. 1: Reading)

The kind of reading you do in a literature course is most likely different from reading that you do for pleasure.

Writing About Literature

One thing I've noticed over the years is that some of the students in my literature courses have trouble making the transition from writing about more "general" topics in composition courses to writing about literature in my American and Contemporary Literature courses.

More Than Just a Drinking Game

Let’s get it out in the open: Don DeLillo’s The Angel Esmerelda makes for a great drinking game. If you take a shot every time a character in this collection reaches in vain for a word or ponders its origins,... Continue Reading →

On The Ecstasy of Influence

Oct. 6, 2004: I met Jonathan Lethem today, but I accidentally made somewhat of an ass of myself.

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