Title: What does the title say about the author�s approach to the subject? If you were wandering through the parenting section of your local bookstore, a quick scan of the titles can give you insight into the approaches taken to parenting. The Strong-Willed Child may suggest a more combative approach to childrearing than Raising Your Spirited Child. If you have a gentler parenting philosophy, you�re more likely to be drawn to Unconditional Parenting than to Laying Down the Law.
Author: What else has this person written? What are his credentials in the field? These answers to these questions and many more can be found by plugging the author�s name into Google. These days, when many authors maintain personal web sites as marketing tools, you�re likely to find out a great deal about an author from the Internet.
Cover blurbs: Who is endorsing this book? Have you heard of them before? Do you know their reputation? If we move back to the parenting section example, if names like James Dobson or Dr. William Sears appear on the dustjacket, you�ve found an important clue about the author�s parenting philosophy. In the Catholicism section of the store, an endorsement of a book by Fr. Richard McBrien will suggest one thing, while an endorsement by George Weigel will suggest something else….
This post is worth keeping in the filing cabinet. I have tried and tried to drum some of these lessons into my students in my composition classes, but I really like the way she presents this overview, especially the catchy title which challenges the tired adage. Of course, if I were to use this for a class I’d have to adapt it a bit for the audience. Her examples are tailored toward judging Catholic books and I’m sure my students wouldn’t get the references.