Reading Literary Science Writing


I’ve selected one or two articles for each student to read. Please come to class prepared to discuss your reading and read your favorite paragraph aloud. You can write up your response as your journal entry for the week. In your journal and your presentation, think about how the story is different from what you’ve been reading in your news outlet. Questions to consider include:

Where and when was the story published?

Who wrote the story?

Does the author have a science background?

How does the story begin?

What is the point of view? (first person “I”, “We”; second person “You”; third person)

Do you like the story? Why or why not?

Here are the articles:

Annie Dillard. “Spring” from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, 1988.

Elizabeth Kolbert. “Stung” from The New Yorker, 2007.

Lisa Couturier. “A Banishment of Crows” from The Hopes of Snakes, 2005.

Rebecca Skloot. Excerpt from The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, 2010.

Rachel Carson. “Undersea” from Atlantic Monthly, 1937.

David Gessner. “Learning to Surf” from Orion, 2006.

John McPhee. Excerpt from Basin & Range, 1982.

Hank Steuver. “What Exit? Fifty Years Later, the New Jersey Turnpike Finds a Little Respect,” 2001; David Remnick, “The New Jersey Turnpike: A Love Story,” 1984, both from The Washington Post.

Jon Franklin. “Mrs. Kelly’s Monster,” from The Evening Sun, 1978.

Jennifer Lunden. “The Butterfly Effect: Finding Sanctuary in Butterfly Town, USA,” Creative Nonfiction, 2010.

Robin Cody. “Miss Ivory Broom,” University of Portland Maagazine, 2003.

Alan Weisman. “Earth without People,” Discover, 2005.

Michael Pollan. “Dream Pond: Just add water,” in The New York Times, 1998; “Natural Narratives,” Nieman Narrative Digest, 2007.

Barry Lopez. “A Presentation of Whales,” Crossing Open Ground, 1985.

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