The Blair Reader: Exploring Issues and Ideas, 10th edition

  • Laurie G. Kirszner
  • Stephen R. Mandell

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ISBN-13:  9780135285589

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For courses in first-year Composition.

Promotes students’ active and critical reading skills to encourage effective writing

Known for its curated selection of readings, the Blair Reader introduces the enduring issues students confront as citizens in the twenty-first century. Students are encouraged to contribute to these conversations in the wider world by responding to the ideas of others. 


Classic and contemporary selections stimulate discussion, encouraging them to discover new ideas and to view familiar ideas in new ways. The readings represent diverse ideas and genres; students read essays, speeches, and short stories. Every selection is followed by questions to promote critical thinking and response about the reading and the theme, both to complement the readings and to support instruction. Thoughtfully revised, the 10th Edition includes new readings, new study questions and writing and research prompts, and new full-color visuals with an engaging design.

Revel™ is Pearson’s newest way of delivering our respected content. Fully digital and highly engaging, Revel replaces the textbook and gives students everything they need for the course. Informed by extensive research on how people read, think, and learn, Revel is an interactive learning environment that enables students to read, practice, and study in one continuous experience – for less than the cost of a traditional textbook.

NOTE: Revel is a fully digital delivery of Pearson content. This ISBN is for Revel instant access. In addition to this access code, you will need a course invite link, provided by your instructor, to register for and use Revel.


Table of contents

Topical Clusters

Rhetorical Table of Contents



1. Becoming a Critical Reader 

Reading and Meaning 

Reading Critically 

Recording Your Reactions 

Reacting to Visual Texts 

2. Writing about Reading

Understanding Your Assignment

Understanding Your Purpose

Understanding Your Audience

Writing a Response

Collecting Ideas

Developing a Thesis

Arranging Supporting Material

Drafting Your Essay

Revising Your Essay

3. Family and Memory

Poetry: Teresa J. Scollon, “Family Music”


John Mauk, “The Blessed”
E. B. White, “Once More to the Lake”Kristin Ohlson, “The Great Forgetting”
Anne-Marie Oomen, “Decent Clothes, 1959”
Jerry Dennis, “Lake Squall, 1967: When Salmon Anglers Encountered the Power of Lake Michigan”

Tao Lin, “When I Moved Online. . .”

Focus: What Is a Family?

John Culhane, “For Gay Parents, Deciding between Adoption and Surrogacy Raises Tough Moral Questions”

Laila Lalami, “My Fictional Grandparents”

Sonia Sodha, “If You Have No Children, Who Will Care for You When You’re Old?”

4. Issues in Education

Lynda Barry, “The Sanctuary of School”

John Holt, “School Is Bad for Children”

Wendy Berliner, “Why There’s No Such Thing as a Gifted Child”

Johann N. Neem, “Online Higher Education’s Individualist Fallacy”

Christina Hoff Sommers, “For More Balance on Campuses”

Jill Filipovic, “We’ve Gone Too Far with ‘Trigger Warnings’”

Poetry: Howard Nemerov, “To David, About His Education”

Focus: Should a College Education Be Free?

Anya Kamenetz, “Is Free College Really Free?”

Matthew Yglesias, “Walmart’s Too-Good-to-Be-True ‘$1 a day’ College Tuition Plan, Explained”

Liz Dwyer, “Is College Worth the Money? Answers from Six New Graduates”

5. The Politics of Language

Radley Balko, “The Curious Grammar of Police Shootings”

Infographic: Jennifer Beese “Emoji Marketing: Are We Speaking the Same Language?”

Dallas Spires, “Will Text Messaging Destroy the English Language?”

Gary Marcus, “How Birds and Babies Learn to Talk”

Frederick Douglass, “Learning to Read and Write”

Alleen Pace Nilsen, “Sexism in English: Embodiment and Language”

Poetry: Charles Jensen, “Poem in Which Words Have Been Left Out”

Focus: How Free Should Free Speech Be?

Jonathan Rauch, “Kindly Inquisitors, Revisited”

Thane Rosenbaum, “Should Neo-Nazis be Allowed Free Speech?”

David Palumbo-Liu, “I’m a Stanford Professor Accused of Being a Terrorist. McCarthyism Is Back.”

6. Media and Society

Clay Shirky, “Last Call: The End of the Printed Newspaper”

Nicholas Carr, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”

Patton Oswalt, “Wake Up, Geek Culture. Time to Die.”

Quinn Norton, “The New York Times Fired My Doppelgänger”

David Zweig, “Escaping Twitter’s Self-Consciousness Machine”

Fiction: Sarah Chevallier, “If Literature’s ‘Complicated Men’ Were on Tinder”

Focus: What Is Fake News, and Why Does It Matter?

Eric Weiskott, “Before ‘Fake News’ Came False Prophecy”

Judith Donath, “Why Fake News Stories Thrive Online”

Anonymous, “I Write Fake News”

7. Gender and Identity

Judy Hall, “Mommy, I’m Just Not That Kind of Girl”

Fleda Brown, “Unruffled”

Judy Brady, “Why I Want a Wife”

Warren Farrell and John Gray, “The Crisis of Our Sons’ Education”

Deborah Tannen, “Marked Women”

Fiction: Kate Chopin, “The Story of an Hour”

Focus: How Do We Talk about Sexual Harassment?

Moira Donegan, “I Started the Media Men List: My Name Is Moira Donegan”

Katie Roiphe, “The Other Whisper Network”

John Kirbow, “To Clarify: An Open Letter to the Men’s Rights Movement, on the #MeToo Hashtag”

8. Culture and Identity

Poetry: Brenda Cárdenas, “Lecciones de lengua”

Reza Aslan, “Praying for Common Ground at the Christmas-Dinner Table”

Priscilla Frank, “Dismantling Stereotypes about Asian-American Identity through Art”

Jelani Cobb, “Black Panther and the Invention of ‘Africa’”

Jeffery Sheler and Michael Betzold, “Muslim in America”

Brett Krutzsch, “The Gayest One”

Melanie Scheller, “On the Meaning of Plumbing and Poverty”

Drama: Steven Korbar, “What Are You Going to Be?”

Focus: Do Racial Distinctions Still Matter?

Victoria M. Massie, “Latino and Hispanic Identities Aren’t the Same. They’re Also Not Racial Groups.”

Brent Staples, “Why Race Isn’t as ‘Black’ and ‘White’ as We Think”

John H. McWhorter, “Why I’m Black, Not African American”

9. The American Dream

Jon Meacham, “To Hope Rather than to Fear”

Jonathan Rieder, “Dr. King’s Righteous Fury”

Thomas Jefferson, “The Declaration of Independence”

Abraham Lincoln, “The Gettysburg Address”

Jose Antonio Vargas, “Outlaw: My Life in America as an Undocumented Immigrant”

Poetry: Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus”

Focus: Is the American Dream Still Attainable?

Joe Kennedy III, “Democratic Response to the State of the Union”

Neal Gabler, “The New American Dream”

10. Why We Work

Andrew Curry, “Why We Work”

Debora L. Spar, “Crashing into Ceilings: A Report from the Nine-to-Five Shift”

Ben Mauk, “When Work Is a Game, Who Wins?”

Rand Fishkin, “The Truth Shall Set You Free (from a Lot of $#*% Storms)”

K. C. Williams, “Teaching While Black”

Claire Cain Miller, “How a Common Interview Question Fuels the Gender Pay Gap (and How to Stop It)”

Poetry: Walt Whitman, “I Hear America Singing”

Focus: Is Every Worker Entitled to a Living Wage?

Will Perkins, “Millennial Thoughts: Minimum Wage and My Take”

The Daily Take Team, the Thom Hartmann Program, “If a Business Won’t Pay a Living Wage, It Shouldn’t Exist”

James Dorn, “The Minimum Wage Delusion, and the Death of Common Sense”

Carol Graham, “Is the American Dream Really Dead?”

11. Making Ethical Choices

Poetry: Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”

Poetry: Ella Higginson, “Four-Leaf Clover”

Creative Nonfiction: Lynette D’Amico, “The Unsaved”

Jonathan Safran Foer, “How Not to Be Alone”

Barbara Hurd, “Fracking: A Fable”

Richard A. Posner, “The Truth about Plagiarism”

Focus: What Choices Do We Have with Our Technologies?

Paul Lewis, “‘Our Minds Can Be Hijacked’: The Tech Insiders Who Fear a Smartphone Dystopia”

Francine Berman and Vinton G. Cerf, “Social and Ethical Behavior in the Internet of Things”

Valery Vavilov, “The Identity Solution”

12. Facing the Future

Poetry: Benjamin Busch, “New World”

John F. Kennedy, “Inaugural Address”

Jon Lovett, “Lower the Voting Age to Sixteen”

Joel Kotkin, “The Changing Demographics of America”

Alexis C. Madrigal, “Future Historians Probably Won’t Understand Our Internet, and That’s Okay”

Alex Wagner, from “Futureface: A Family Mystery, an Epic Quest, and the Secret to Belonging”

Neal Stephenson, “Innovation Starvation”

Focus: What’s Next for the Planet (and Beyond)?

Bill McKibben, “A Moral Atmosphere”

Ruth Khasaya Oniang’o, “Why What We Eat Is Crucial to the Climate Change Question”

Michio Kaku, from “The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality, and Our Destiny beyond Earth”

Appendix: MLA Documentation

In-Text Citations

Works Cited


Index of Authors and Titles

Published by Pearson (March 1st 2019) - Copyright © 2020