Monday, September 22, 2014

Week 4

Learning Journal Activity -- Reviews

For this week's activity you are asked to write a review, be it of a book, movie, restaurant, art work, band, product, etc. Writing a good review is a craft all its own and there is no single, steadfast formula. However, there are some fairly obvious conventions for any kind of review. It makes sense to tell the name, title, or designation of whatever you are reviewing and to describe it in detail. It's a good idea to name the writer, chef, artist, director, or otherwise important people involved. Most reviews will offer an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the particular subject and compare it to similar things in its particular field. However, the most important element of a good review is to say what you think, what you like or dislike, and if you would recommend this to others. After all, it's your opinion that the reader is interested in here. What follows are some links to sites that may be of interest as examples of reviews. I have linked some commercial sites and some independent reviewers for each category.

Restaurant Review Links

Restaurant Thing -- Offers thousands of reviews, but only from English speaking countries. Unfortunately this means that restaurants in France are off the list!

Burrito Blog -- Yeah, you guessed it... this blog reviews only burritos and places that sell burritos. It is not a coincidence that I put this next to the reviews of the Michelin restaurants.

7-West Cafe -- This is an unconventional review of a restaurant I worked at in Toronto.

Book Review Links -- has a searchable index of thousands of book reviews.

GoodReads -- GoodReads is a site where individuals offer their thoughts on most any book you can name.

Kristin's Book Blog -- Kristin has been reviewing books on her blog since 2005. She has a fascinating project underway to review the Modern Library top 100 books of the 20th century. She is over half way there. New reviews appear on her site weekly.

Movie and TV Review Links

Internet Movie Database -- No explanation needed. This is likely the biggest movie review and information site on the internet.

Rotten Tomatoes -- Offers new movie reviews and previews

Tassoula's Movie Review Blog -- A blog maintained by an independent film critic from Seattle.

Tv-series and videos -- A site kept up by Julius, a blogger from Sweden.

Music Review Links

Pitchfork -- In-depth music reviews from a credible online source.

Metacritic -- Metacritic reviews new releases of music, as well as films, games, and television.

Rolling Stone -- Sometimes there seems to be more advertisements than reviews, but Rolling Stone is one of the industry pillars for music reviews.

MW Music Review Blog -- An independent music reviewer from Ottawa, mostly interested in Indie.

Product Reviews

DC Rainmaker -- A site maintained by a triathlete who reviews technology and products for high-performance athletes.

Car and Driver -- Reviews for most any automobiles on the road.

Of course there are many other kinds of reviews you might choose to do as well. The links above are only meant to provide some idea of the possibilities. If you have trouble coming up with a topic or have any questions about this activity, send me an email or leave a comment on this post.

Assigned Readings and Overview for Week 4

There are no assigned readings this week, as we are doing our essay writing workshops and will write essay #1 on Friday in class. That said, you are encouraged to review part I of our course text (page 1-54), which focuses specifically on the essay writing process. Some of these sections will be discussed during the workshops, but please take some time to read about any particular aspects of essay writing you may find difficult.