Praxis: A Brief Rhetoric

(3rd edition) by Carol Lea Clark

Fountainhead Press, 2018

Listed Price: Print—$52.65; eBook—$39.00 (prices taken from vitalsource.com)

ISBN: 9781680369505 (Print); 9781680362091, 1680362097 (eBook)

The Physical properties

  • Medium-sized paperback
  • Tightly bound but flexible
  • Pages smooth but not too glossy
  • Full color pictures

The pros

  • The focus on rhetoric, as can be seen simply by looking at the chapter titles, gives the book a central theme to which it ties the various aspects and stages of the writing process. This focus means that everything in the book relates back to higher-order concerns of writing, even when discussing the nitty-gritty details, such as verb choice and proofreading.
  • Each chapter is divided into subsections, which also have their own subsections, to highlight specific concepts or practices; these are listed in the table of contents to make finding and jumping to specific areas of interest quick and easy.
  • While there is some jargon and concepts which may be more advanced than required from an ENGL 110 course, the book never gets bogged down in any of it, giving quick glosses before moving on to practical examples.
  •  The book is filled with activities for students to reinforce the lessons provided; there is a wide variety included, for both in- and out-of-class assignments as well as solo and group work.
  • The readings also draw from a wide range, from example texts like the Gettysburg Address and Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech to readings about writing itself, like Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird and the aforementioned short essays—penned by grad students and writing instructors—which introduce each chapter.
  • The size and spacing of the words on the page make the physical act of reading easy.

The cons

  • If a particular instructor’s ENGL 110 course is not heavily focused on the topic of rhetoric, then a book which very much is will be of limited use.
  • Alternatively, an instructor looking for a book with more in-depth readings on rhetorical theory (such as for an honors course) might find this book too shallow for that purpose.
  • For instructors who have their own activities mapped out for the whole semester, a book which breaks up the text every few pages with now-irrelevant exercises will also be of limited use.
  • The final section on citation goes through both MLA and APA (with more of a focus on MLA), but Chicago Style is totally absent, so if that is an instructor’s style of choice, they would be out of luck.
  • Because the text jumps from lessons to activities to readings and back again, if you are just reading for the lessons themselves you have to skip over pages at a time; the result can be somewhat disorienting.
  • Relatedly, the book’s layout can become too busy and too jumbled when there are multiple sections, some boxed off or shaded a different color, crammed onto a page.
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