Students in Lance Mannion’s Spring 2014 honors seminar, Media Criticism for a Wired Audience, discuss the day’s class.
Decided on the reading list for the course I’m teaching in the spring, Media Criticism for a Wired Audience. High-fallutiin’ name for a class on how to write movie and book reviews like Lance Mannion only shorter, pithier, and with less pedantry. Students are going to read six books, watch seven movies, and write a lot of different things including some reviews but not just reviews.
So here’s the required reading and viewing, not necessarily in the order in which they’ll appear on the syllabus.
The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed.
Stormy Weather by Carl Hiaasen.
Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks by Juliet Eilperin.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling.
The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend by Glenn Frankel.
We’re going to be busy.
I included a mix of genres, not just for variety’s sake, although I wanted there to be a little something for everyone, but to give the students different issues and questions to write about. Pairing up the movie and the book Silver Linings Playbook lets them tackle the problems of adaptation. Pairing up Frankel’s book about The Searchers with John Ford’s masterpiece lets them look into the history and the personalities behind a movie. Zero Dark Thirty opens up questions about the lines between journalism and fiction, history and dramatic license, politics and art. You get the idea. I think it’ll go over like gangbusters but who knows. Maybe it’ll go over like Gangster Squad. Maybe I should include Gangster Squad just so they can write about one real stinker of a film.
What do you think? The books have been ordered, but I can still change the movie list. I may have to drop one of them for the sake of time. Any suggestions? Would you sign up?