The Writer’s Harbrace Handbook (6th edition)

Editors — Cheryl Glenn & Loretta Gray

Publisher — Cengage Learning — McGraw Hill

Contact Reps

Tara Manarski tara.manarski@cengage.com

Rachel Taylor-Dixon rachel.taylor-dixon@cengage.com

Price — Approx. $99.95 print (from Cengage) + e-books and rentals available

Features

  • Addressing WPA Outcomes
    • Discusses how specific book chapters satisfy V3.0 of WPA Outcomes Statement
  • Nested Organization
    • Nine “Parts” broken in various “Chapters” broken into various subheadings
  • Interjection Redirection
    • Boxes of text inserted into the main text to provide further info, direct the reader elsewhere in the text, offer cautionary advice, etc.
    • Helps condense info when necessary / pertinent; matches “nested” arrangement
    • Writing exercises delivered both in-text and at the end of subsections
    • “Checklists”: Questions for students to ask themselves at various parts of the writing process, such as during revision
  • Multilingual Writer Cues and Helps
    • “Special Topics” version of ToC at front of book geared toward multilingual students’ particular concerns
    • Interjections specifically signaling to multilingual writers help put parts of a chapter or subsection into context for those students
  • Glossaries
    • Lists frequently used words and phrases and discusses how they are “properly” used according to a scale of conventionality (geared towards multilingual writers)
    • Lists technical terms in back of the text for easy student / instructor access
    • Provides list of commonly used revision symbols and acronyms
  • Non-textual Analysis
    • Images, graphs, etc. are used as objects of study as well as student- and professionally-generated texts

Strengths

  • Materiality: Paper is writable and none of the colors are too dark that they cannot also be written upon. Book is small enough to be portable but heavy enough not to lose easily.
  • Structure: Nested arrangement makes things very easy to find, so long as you know what you’re looking for. General move from highest- to lowest-order concerns signals to students what is most important in college writing.
  • Content: The consistent cues toward multilingual writers is a smart move; I feel that even native speakers can benefit from some of these features, especially the usage glossary. The book also includes citation guides for MLA, APA, CMS, and CSE, with examples.
  • Pedagogy: The broad range of written example texts demonstrates to students the ways in which all writers can improve their work, regardless of competency. Furthermore, the text always explains why things are done the way they are.
  • Design: This textbook is businesslike in the best way. The colorfulness exists for a reason, the interjections are to educate rather than distract, etc.

Weaknesses

  • Materiality: This is a dense book. It’s not cheap, and the pages are thin.
  • Structure: The nested design does not completely alleviate the sheer volume of content to sift through in this text, nor the fact that an incoming freshman may be easily overwhelmed by the density of content. Similarly, it is rare to find an entire page in this text that does not have an interjection box or a figure.
  • Content: The “jack of all trades, master of none” saying is quite apparent with this text. Everything regarding writing is touched upon, so none of it is gone into in much detail.
  • Pedagogy: I’m unsure how an instructor could bend this text to fit their own pedagogy without leading the students to wonder why so much of the book has been skipped.
  • Design: Aside from standard pitfalls of “textbookness” and density of content, the order of the nine parts isn’t always inherently clear.
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