Book Assigned for Review
Baylis, D. (2013). The Traveller: Notes from an Imperfect Journey Around the World. Sparks Publishing.
Task: In this assignment, you are to write a review of a chapter of the assigned non-academic book (except for January, New Orleans, USA, p. 9-40). Your review must also incorporate the Prologue and Epilogue sections of the book. The assignment is designed to meet the following objectives:
· It is timed so that you get some early feedback.
· The topic requires you to do some vicarious travel and thus get you in the ‘mood’ for the study of travel and tourism.
· This assignment requires that you read critically, and so serves the objective of encouraging that habit in all of your reading.
· In writing this review, you will learn to use academic tourism literature (some of it in the Reader) to ‘make sense of’ a non-academic book.
· You will learn a little geography – don’t forget to “read” that map you include.
You should read a selection of academic book reviews (found at the back of journals) for some examples and also check through book review magazines and newspapers to see how travel books are reviewed professionally. Note that there are a range of readings on the My Unit Readings (Talis) site that will help you learn about travel writing (e.g. Blanton(1997); Krist(1993); Murphy(1992)). However, you should also refer to commercial book review sources such as The Australian Book Review (ABR) for ideas on how books are reviewed, what sorts of things you should look for as you read. You will need to combine the two styles to make this an academic book review of a non-academic book. The notes in Appendix A are edited from the premier academic tourism journal, Annals of Tourism Research, and should give you some ideas about how academics do this task. Some things to include in your assignment:
· You should only use about one-third of the word limit for the critical summary of the book’s content.
· You will need to do some research on (at least some aspect of) the site/destination/etc. of the book in order to comment on the author’s veracity.
· As part of this review, you are to include or attach a map that shows the geography of the journey of which the author writes. This map could be of the entire trip or of the principle location where most of the travel occurs.
· Some commentary is needed on the physical presence of the book: is it hard cover or soft? Bound or glued? How is the paper quality? These are just a few of the elements that go into the “making” of a book.
· You should endeavour to find out something about the author as a travel writer, and/or as a person.
· Include the full publications details. Use a book review in an academic journal (e.g. Current Issues or Annals) for a model of what to include.
Think about how these authors go about preparing for their travelling and how they relate to the ‘world’ through which they are travelling. What do they say about it? What do they omit? What judgements do they make? Have they a right to judge? What motivates their travel?
In a biography, you’d have both the author and the traveller to consider in this regard (some travel books are biography, not autobiography). Remember, quotes by a biographer from the journals of a traveller are themselves selective. That is, remember that the traveller is selective (subjective) in what they originally recorded (or published) and then the biographer is also selective from sources available, including the traveller’s journals.
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