How to Review a Book

When looking for a strong way to expand your professional network and get the most visibility from your prospective publishers, a book review is an excellent solution. By reviewing a recently published work in your field, you:

  • Pair your name with the names of other academics who you want to be associated with. Meaning, people will begin mentally categorizing you as part of the same field as the person whose work you are reviewing…not to mention the author of the book will likely read it.
  • Snatch a quick line for the non-peer reviewed publications section of your CV.
  • Get the attention of the review editor of a scholarly journal that aligns with your interests.

So, you’re asking, “well what’s a good way to go about that, anyway?” Continue reading

How to Spend the Summer Before Your TT Appointment Begins

It’s August 1stand the summer is basically over. As summers tend to, it flew by. That being said, I was able to make the most of it and I believe I’m in a good position to start the school year. I really struggled to know how to use my time the last few months and thought you might benefit from a few amateur dos and don’ts.

Before launching into my ideas, let me establish some ground rules:

  • I don’t mean to sound like your committee chair, but it should go without saying that if you got a tenure track job as an ABD candidate and you have not yet finished your dissertation, THAT’S WHAT YOU SHOULD DO OVER THE SUMMER.
  • Another important consideration is rest. Only you can decide what that looks like for you. For me it was fleeing the country for a few weeks and finding a place where I had no responsibilities to anyone but myself.
  • There are also financial considerations. My PhD-granting institution funded my summer even though I was no longer enrolled or planning to enroll ever again. That’s not a reality for everyone, so some of you might need to teach or seek some kind of employment over the summer.

If you’re in a position where you can afford (both literally and metaphorically) to do something else between school years, I would highly-recommend what my partner recently referred to as academic cross-training. In other words, you no longer need to prep for the job market, and you have time to take a break from your primary scholarly goals and find complementary ones. I advocate for this plan for two primary reasons: 1. it got me excited about my work again because it stimulated my curiosity, and 2. it has allowed me to look back over my summer and feel a sense of pride that I did something (at least semi-) productive with it. Continue reading