How did knowing you’d have to write a Review on the blog change the way you read our books? How did it change the way you prepared for class?
I read all the books much faster than I otherwise would have, except for Windup Girl and Flight Behavior. Those two I would have read non-stop no matter what; I just couldn’t put them down—which, with Flight Behavior, was very surprising; it’s not my style at all.
This semester, I bought those little Post-It bookmark tabs for the first time, and annotated as I read. This was a new practice for me, and I did it mainly to be ready for in-class discussions. I also high-lighted many of the most overt references to climate change in the stories.
How did writing in this format affect your writing process and writing style?
The blog format really freed me up to say exactly what I wanted to say in the way that most succinctly captured what I meant. I could use ellipses and pop culture references, for instance, and even slang, which in a formal essay I would have had to rephrase into two or three whole sentences to convey the same point. For this reason, I’ve loved this class. I believe we’re all highly-enough educated and smart enough here to be trusted when we say, “Yeah, I can write formally, but formal writing is boooooring!” All work and no play… This informal stuff is a welcome respite.
I’m not sure how my writing style here would compare to how I’d write on a non-academic discussion board, though. It’s been years since I’ve been active on one of those, and I’m a better writer now.
But the prospect of a wider audience has certainly motivated me to think all my posts through, with a seriousness that I don’t necessarily apply to all my schoolwork. “Coasting” through this class was not an option for me. The whole world might find out!
How often did you read the Reviews posted by your classmates? Did you gravitate towards reading particular writers?
I feel like I should have been reading more of my classmates’ reviews throughout the semester. I’ve read maybe half. But I did make a point of reading at least some each and every week, and I did pay some more attention to the extra stuff like news articles, links we posted to outside resources, and especially the hubbub surrounding Dan Bloom.
Whose reviews I chose to read was typically decided by who had commented on my own posts, who was in my other classes, who was the most outspoken or entertaining, and whoever was at the top of the page.
Finally, if you’d like, reflect upon the possibility that the work you’ve posted on the blog is now available for anyone to read, even now that the course is over. Do you think this blog could be a useful resource for future readers curious about the topic?
I like this idea. It feels like we’ve contributed to the worldwide discourse on the topics at hand in a slightly more real way than we’re allowed to in most liberal arts classes. We’ve thrown our two cents into the discourse on literature (on cli-fi particularly), into the discourse on science, and into the big discussion of social criticism.
Do I think other people might read our posts? They might! And they might come from a scholarly direction, or they might arrive here just for fun, wondering about what the heck “cli-fi” is, or wondering how we imbue any words with heavy meaning anyway: “global warming,” “climate change,” “environmentalist agenda,” “carbon combustion complex,” and so on.