This post builds on the last two posts and offers a list of themes by which you can classify and discuss books. This includes a detailed discussion of books and particularly of some quality trilogies and series that have been popular in recent years. The post includes suggestions for mixing it up by developing a thematic comparison of fiction and nonfiction. Links to outside reading and examples are included.
I will assume that you have read my last two posts. If not, start here: How to Write About Books Part I. In this post I will summarize the process I outlined in the previous two posts and offer a bit more commentary. While some university supplements do not ask specifically about books, this discussion, and the two posts preceding this, may be useful in giving you a focus for a discussion of your intellectual development, or you might find useful information here if you wish to write an essay in which you discuss some aspect of life outside of books and relate it to what you have found in books. When you have one or more essays ready for feedback, send them to me at email@example.com as Word attachments for a free editing sample and job quote–in return for seeing what I can do for you risk-free, I ask for only serious inquiries. Thank you.
If you are like most readers of Non Required Books, you have picked up either a variety of books with no clear plan involved in your reading or you have read with a very narrow focus. The result is probably a pile of unrelated tomes or something like a stack of George R. R. Martin novels. One heap will seem aimless, the other obsessive, neither of which are impressions you really want to make in your college application essays. The challenge for the obsessive is to add something to the mix; for the aimless, to find common ground in the material.
Here’s the system I outlined in the last two posts, simplified:
1. Find the similarities in the books.
This post continues by explaining and elaborating on this system for writing about books. This is an approach, not a formula, and yields individualized essays, not essays based on an outline. The post goes on to discuss different thematic approaches, with high-quality and popular examples from both fiction and nonfiction, including links.
To get full access to this and all other posts by WordGuild related to college essays and application writing , write “subscription please” in an e-mail, along with your first and last name, and we will send you an invoice from Google Checkout/Wallet. Send the e-mail to:
The fifteen-dollar subscription fee gives you access to all existing and future posts through January of 2013. This includes 2-4 new posts per month and will include detailed analysis on all new prompts for the Common Application in 2012-2013 as well as numerous Ivy League and other application prompts, including Stanford and other “elite” schools for the 2012-13 application period. I do write posts addressing specific prompts when multiple clients/subscribers express interest; feel free to contact me with your requests after subscribing.