Rebekka Steg's Reviews > Reading, Writing And Reasoning: A Guide For Students

Reading, Writing And Reasoning by Gavin Fairbairn
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May 03, 12

bookshelves: 2008
Read in October, 2008

Reading, Writing and Reasoning: A Guide for Students by Gavin J. Fairbairn and Christopher Winch is highly outdated and I am entirely unable to see the relevance to students today. We were assigned to read parts of this book, for a communication class, but even though we had the second edition (which is the latest edition), the book is still from 1996. It is more than ten years old! In this book computers and text programs like Microsoft Word are not the norm, and I feel thoroughly unable to relate to problem areas in the book, having always been accustomed to working with computers and writing pretty much all assignments and papers on computers. The book might very well have been useful at the time it was published, but even the standard theory on how to put papers and arguments together seemed outdated and useless to me as a student.
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message 1: by Gavin (new)

Gavin Fairbairn It's a little difficult to write a comment about a dreadful review of a book you have written, but that is what I intend to do, avoiding so far as possible the temptation to be as rude as Rebekka Steg, who fails to offer cogent arguments in favour of her views.

I think Rebekka is mistaken in her view of the relevance of the second edition of Reading, Writing and Reasoning. Since it would have been astonishing if a book written when writing on computers was a relatively new thing,turned out to be 'up to date' on the use of computers, I am not surprised to discover that she found that 'computers and text programs like Microsoft Word are not the norm' in this book. However, I was surprised to find that she could not relate to what she calls 'the problem areas in the book', by which I think she means the problems in writing that we address, because writing coherent, well founded and well argued text is just as difficult with a computer as it is without one.

Computers can help us to bypass some problems to some extent, and can help us to work more quickly, but the same issues arise in relation to the use of language to offer arguments that arise when we write in other ways, whether that be pencil, quill pen, stylus on a clay tablet.

It is astonishing to me that Rebekka thought that the discussion in Reading, Writing and Reasoning, of how to put together papers and arguments seemed 'outdated and useless'. I conclude, therefore, that she didn't actually read the book, but merely used her undoubted skill in offloading her anger at the teacher who required her and her classmates to read sections of the book, to write her review almost as if it was the book she was angry at.

On a more positive note, may I suggest that anyone wishing to find help with their academic writing
should have a look at the third edition of Reading, Writing and Reasoning, which to my mind - and I say this as someone with significant experience of teaching children; undergraduate and postgraduate students and professional academics to write, and not just as the book's author - is the most engaging, most helpful and most complete guide to academic writing available n the English language. If you disagree I'd be really glad to hear from you, but please give a more reasoned point of view than Ms Stegg.


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