Higher Education

Interactions: A Thematic Reader, 8th Edition

  • Ann Moseley Texas A&M University, Commerce
  • Jeanette Harris Texas Christian University, Retired
  • ISBN-10: 0495908290  |  ISBN-13: 9780495908296
  • 560 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2009, 2006, 2003
  • © 2012 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $89.25
  • Newer Edition Available
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INTERACTIONS: A THEMATIC READER is designed to help students discover meaning in what they read and to convey meaning in what they write. The text’s readings and accompanying apparatus--which have been class tested and proven effective through seven previous editions--guide students from a consideration of self to an awareness of how the self interacts with other people and phenomena. The book explains to students the process and interdependence of reading and writing, stressing the connections students can make between their own experiences and what they read. It also introduces them to prewriting techniques such as freewriting, brainstorming, mapping, clustering, and journals. Reading selections are organized into thematic units that guide students from a consideration of self to an examination of close human relationships and finally to more abstract topics such as work and society. The selections represent a wide range of voices, topics, and sources, including a balance of male and female authors and significant contributions by culturally diverse writers. This diversity allows students both to encounter new voices and to identify with familiar ones. The readings also provide students with effective models and styles of writing.

Features and Benefits

  • Thematic focus on the self throughout the text.
  • Paired or grouped readings in each unit.
  • Student essay in each unit.
  • Emphasis on both critical thinking and collaborative learning.
  • Group discussion activities at the end of each unit.
  • Internet activities that connect to the unit topic at the end of each unit.
  • Writing assignments at the beginning and end of each reading selection and at the end of each unit.
  • Reading/writing lessons in each unit that provide students with detailed instruction and models on the following topics: annotating a text, writing a personal essay, writing a summary, responding to a text, analyzing a text, writing a persuasive essay, writing a report, and writing a movie review.

Table of Contents

Rhetorical Table of Contents.
Unhappy with her Spanish name, a young girl selects a new name for herself.
“The Name Is Mine,” ANNA QUINDLAN.
Quindlen reflects on her decision to keep her own name when she married.
“Born Black, White, and Jewish,” REBECCA WALKER (NEW).
The daughter of a famous African American novelist and a Jewish civil rights lawyer describes her birth and her struggle to find her identity as a person of mixed race.
Alphonse explores society’s reaction to people who do not fit neatly into a single category.
“Between Two Worlds,” DIANA ABU-JABER (NEW).
The daughter of a Jordanian father and an American mother, Abu-Jaber emphasizes the importance of finding self-respect and personal identity.
“Living in Two Worlds,” MARCUS MABRY.
A student at Stanford University tells of a trip home to New Jersey.
“The Jacket,” GARY SOTO.
Soto tells the story of how an ugly green jacket affected his life.
Focus: Narration.
“On Being 17, Bright, and Unable to Read,” DAVID RAYMOND (NEW).
A student describes what it is like to have the learning disability, dyslexia.
“Need for Achievement,” DOUGLAS A. BERNSTEIN (NEW).
In this textbook selection a psychology professor identifies some distinguishing characteristics of people who have high and low achievement motivation.
A college freshman learns from the mistakes that resulted in a “zero” grade point average during his first semester and becomes a successful student.
“You’ve Got to Find What You Love,” STEVE JOBS (NEW).
A famous entrepreneur supports his belief that “you’ve got to find what you love” with three stories about his life.
Annotating a Text.
Example: “Growing Up Asian,” by Kesaya E. Noda.
Exploring Ideas Together.
Exploring the Internet.
Writing Essays.
“What Is This Thing Called Family?” LEE HERRICK (NEW).
Herrick describes not only the difficulties of being a Korean adoptee in a Caucasian community but also the love and valuable traits he gained in his Caucasian adoptive family.
The authors of this sociology textbook selection provide both formal and informal definitions of the modern family.
“Mother and Freedom,” MAYA ANGELOU.
Liberated by her mother when she was seventeen, Angelou cares for her cancer-stricken mother and prays for the strength to let go when the time comes.
“The Old Man,” LARRY KING.
King recalls conflicts he had with his father when he was a teenager.
“Only Daughter,” SANDRA CISNEROS.
Cisneros receives affirmation from her father when he praises one of her stories.
“A Daughter’s Journey,” SHARON LIAO.
On a trip to China, Liao learns more about her parents and their culture--and therefore more about herself.
“A Parent’s Journey Out of the Closet,” AGNES G. HERMAN.
A mother describes her long, difficult struggle in learning to accept her son’s homosexuality.
“Sibling Imprints,” FRANCINE KLAGSBRUN.
Klagsbrun argues that sibling rivalry has long-lasting effects on an individual’s personality and development.
“Brothers,” BRET LOTT.
Lott describes the relationship between himself and his brother and how it evolved as they grew older and then connects this relationship to that of his own two sons.
Focus: Description
“No Snapshots in the Attic: A Granddaughter’s Search for her Cherokee Past,” CONNIE MAY FOWLER.
Fowler’s search for her Native American heritage leads her to the ancient oral art of storytelling.
“Hold the Mayonnaise,” JULIA ALVAREZ (NEW).
Alvarez describes the process of adjustment she underwent as a Latina stepmother to two blond, Anglo stepdaughters.
“The Family That Stretches Together,” ELLEN GOODMAN.
Goodman asserts that the concept of family must stretch to include many different types of families.
Writing a Personal Essay.
Example: “Who Am I? Reflections of My Parents.”
Roderick Hartsfield, student.
Exploring Ideas Together.
Exploring the Internet.
Writing Essays.
“College Friends,” JENNIFER CRICHTON (NEW).
The writer describes her need for friendship during her first semester at college and what her college friends have meant to her since then.
“The Difference Between Male and Female Friendships,” ELLEN GOODMAN AND PATRICIA O’BRIEN.
The authors discuss the different roles communication plays in male and female friendships.
“A Small Act,” JIMMY CARTER.
Carter remembers how a small act changed his relationship with friends when he was a child.
“A Boyhood Friendship in a Divided Valley,” BEN KAMIN.
This essay tells of an unlikely friendship between an Israeli and a Palestinian.
“Vinnie’s Jacket,” ANNA NUSSBAUM.
Nussbaum describes a friend who died but is remembered.
“Facebook in a Crowd,” HAL NIEDZVIECKI (NEW).
Although he had 700 Facebook “friends,” the author found himself almost alone when he decided to invite his online friends to a party.
“What Are Friends For,” MARION WINIK.
The author categorizes different kinds of friendships she has experienced.
Focus: Classification
“Great Expectations,” STEPHANIE COONTZ (NEW).
Coontz argues that people today expect more out of marriage than ever before.
“My Home, My World,” ARCHENA BHALLA.
In this student essay, Bhalla compares the Indian custom of arranged marriages to more informal American courtship customs.
“Marriage and Divorce American Style,” E. MAVIS HETHERINGTON.
Hetherington identifies different types of marriages and argues that there are both good and bad divorces just as there are good and bad marriages.
“Gay Marriage Looms as ‘Battle of Our Times,’” JANE LAMPMAN.
Lampman predicts that the issue of gay marriage will become increasingly divisive in the future.
“Why Isn’t a Nice Person Like You Married?” ELSIE BLISS (NEW).
The author argues that remaining single is a choice that should be respected.
Writing a Summary.
Example: Summary of “The Difference Between Male and Female Friendships.”
Exploring Ideas Together.
Exploring the Internet.
Writing Essays.
Unit IV: WORK.
“Work, the Mind, and Identity,” MIKE ROSE (NEW).
Rose argues that it takes thought and intelligence to do physical work.
“What You Do Is What You Are,” NICKI MCWHIRTER.
McWhirter argues that “Americans . . . tend to define and judge everybody in terms of the work they do, especially work performed for pay.”
“Girl in an Oven,” SARAH JEANETTE SMITH.
A female student tells of her struggle “to act like a girl while working like a man” during the summer she spent fighting wildfires in New Mexico.
“One Man’s Kids,” DANIEL MEIER.
This writer describes his experience as a first-grade teacher in an urban classroom.
“The Psychic Satisfactions of Manual Work,” MATTHEW B. CRAWFORD (NEW).
Crawford describes the pleasure and satisfaction that can result from physical work.
This student writer gives a vivid example of the hard and distasteful physical labor his father expected of him on the family’s farm in Iowa.
“Big Russ and Me,” TIM RUSSERT.
Tim Russert, the late moderator of Meet the Press, remembers how hard his father worked and is grateful for the work ethic he learned from “Big Russ.”
“Regular Work for an Irregular Economy,” CARMEN MARTINO AND DAVID BENSMAN (NEW).
The authors describe the unrewarding and even demeaning process of finding work through a temporary work agency.
Focus: Process.
“Easy Job, Good Wages,” JESUS COLON.
A Puerto Rican writer recalls an important lesson he learned when he first looked for a job as a young immigrant.
“Salvaging an Interview,” TAMEKIA REECE (NEW).
Reece identifies four unexpected problems that can occur in an interview and makes recommendations for solving them.
“The Way We Worked,” TOM BROKAW.
Brokaw argues that a defining characteristic of the World War II generation was their great capacity for work.
“The Future of Work,” ROBERT B. REICH.
A former secretary of labor predicts which careers will need workers in the future.
Responding to a Text.
Example: “The McDonald Image.”
(Response to “What You Do Is What You Are,” by Nicki McWhirter).
Exploring Ideas Together.
Exploring the Internet.
Writing Essays.
“A Passion for Diversity,” ANN POMEROY (NEW).
Pomeroy tells how--even though she has a serious disability herself, Deborah Dagit has fought not only for disability rights but also for diversity in all areas.
“Age Diversity: Longevity and Livability,” ARGUS J. TRESIDDER (NEW).
A nonagerarian argues for tolerance and respect for the aged and their contributions to society.
“Getting to Know about You and Me,” CHANA SCHOENBERGER.
This student writer describes how it feels to be the victim of religious stereotyping.
Focus: Cause and Effect
“Mother Tongue,” AMY TAN (NEW).
Tan describes the different “Englishes” she speaks and the effects these different forms of English have had on her life and writing.
Focus: Cause and Effect.
“Black Men and Public Space,” BRENT STAPLES (NEW).
A black journalist describes the fear that some people have shown when they encounter him in a public place.
“Indian Education,” SHERMAN ALEXIE.
This Native American author gives a year-by-year account of his experiences during twelve years of schooling.
“People Like Us,” DAVID BROOKS.
Brooks suggests that “we all pay lip service to the melting pot, but we really prefer the congealing pot.”
“Mongrel America,” GREGORY RODRIGUEZ.
Rodriguez points out that intermarriage may ultimately erase America’s racial divisions.
“Two Ways to Belong in America,” BHARATI MUKHERJEE (NEW).
One of two Indian sisters who came to the United States for an education, Mukherjee contrasts her own decision to become a citizen with her sister’s decision to remain an expatriate.
“Anonymous Victims of Dreams and a River,” VICTOR LANDA.
Landa remembers immigrants who died trying to cross the Rio Grande.
The famous civil rights leader dreams that African Americans will eventually enjoy the rights promised by the constitution to all Americans.
“The Audacity of Hope,” BARACK OBAMA (NEW).
Obama emphasizes that we are all Americans and admits that great strides have been made in civil rights but declares that “Better isn’t good enough.”
Analyzing a Text.
Example: An Analysis of Audience in.
Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” Speech.
Exploring Ideas Together.
Exploring the Internet.
Writing Essays.
“A Sense of Place,” GEORGE J. DEMKO.
A geographer emphasizes the importance of a personal “sense of place” even though places change.
“Weather Reports,” KATHLEEN NORRIS.
The author gives poetic examples of “weather reports” for the year she spent on the border between North and South Dakota.
Focus: Example.
“Storm Country,” PAUL CRENSHAW.
Remembering nights in his family’s Midwestern storm cellar, Crenshaw describes the formation, destructiveness, and “terrible beauty” of a tornado.
“Dispatch from the Edge: Katrina,” ANDERSON COOPER.
Reporting from Baton Rouge on the night Katrina hit, Cooper concludes that the aftermath of a storm can be more difficult than the storm itself.
“Rescuing Oiled Birds,” THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (NEW).
This essay first describes the efforts to rescue birds soaked with oil from the Gulf spill and then discusses the pros and cons of these efforts.
“ANWR: The Great Divide,” SCOTT WALLACE (NEW).
Wallace contrasts the lifestyle of the traditional Gwich’in Indians in the southern part of ANWR who depend on the caribou for subsistence with that of the Inupiat Eskimos on the northern edge who have used oil money to bring modern improvements to their village.
“Seven Myths about Alternative Energy,” MICHAEL GRUNWALD (NEW).
Grunwald argues that, although alternative energy sources will eventually contribute to an energy solution, we must look to more immediate solutions, such as efficiency and conservation.
Focus: Example.
“The True Cost of Carbon,” AL GORE (NEW).
Gore argues that global warming will destroy “the habitability of the planet” and proposes a price on carbon as a solution to the problem.
“Is Humanity Losing the Global Warming Debate?” S. FRED SINGER AND DENNIS T. AVERY (NEW).
The authors argue that, although moderate global warming exists, it is part of a “natural 1,500-year-climate cycle (plus or minus 500 years).”
“Water Worries,” SARA AASE (NEW).
The author emphasizes the importance of conservation and of a global approach to water rights and usage.
Berry describes the contamination of our countryside and explores the relationship between this waste and the decline in human potential and achievement.
“It’s Inconvenient Being Green,” LISA TAKEUCHI CULLEN (NEW).
In this humorous essay Cullen explores her own “eco-anxiety” but draws the line at giving up her toilet paper.
Writing a Persuasive Essay.
Example: Dice or Doves?
Cindy Camburn, student.
Exploring Ideas Together.
Exploring the Internet.
Writing Essays.
“Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?” MOTOKO RICH (NEW).
Rich compares and contrasts literacy development through books and the Internet.
Focus: Comparison and Contrast.
“Games and Literacy,” LIZ DANFORTH (NEW).
Danforth argues that games and literacy “go hand in hand.”
“Fraternities of Netheads: Internet Addiction on Campus,” KIMBERLY S. YOUNG.
A psychologist identifies factors that contribute to Internet overuse on campus and warns of the negative effects of Internet addiction on students.
“We ALL Pay for Internet Plagiarism,” ELLEN LAIRD.
A college English professor describes an instance of Internet plagiarism and discusses the negative societal effects of such plagiarism.
“A Dad’s Encounter with the Vortex of Facebook,” MICHAEL DUFFY (NEW).
A journalist father analyzes the social networking site Facebook, discussing its history, its features, and its “darker” side.
“Bad Connections,” CHRISTINE ROSEN.
Analyzing the negative effects of cellphones and digital video recorders, Rosen argues that we should sometimes just “turn our machines off.”
The authors tell the story of a young man who killed a pedestrian while driving and texting and of the effects this tragedy had on him and others.
“The Real Digital Divide,” SHARI CAUDRON.
Caudron contrasts two different types of computer users.
Focus: Comparison and Contrast.
“The Distorting Mirror of Reality TV,” SARAH COLEMAN.
Coleman defines, analyzes, and critiques reality television.
“YouTube: The People’s Network,” LEV GROSSMAN.
A reporter analyzes reasons for the phenomenal success of YouTube.
“The Blogs Must Be Crazy,” PEGGY NOONAN.
Noonan defends bloggers, analyzing the reasons for their power and predicting their future.
“In iPad We Trust,” DANIEL LYONS (NEW).
A journalist analyzes the high expectations we have for technology today, even suggesting that technology has become a kind of religion to some people.
“Could You Live with Less?” STEPHANIE MILLS (NEW).
Distinguishing between needs and wants, Mills concludes that she can live a happier, more ecological, life with less technology.
Writing a Report.
Example: Technology and the Hearing Impaired.
Tammy Holm, student.
Exploring Ideas Together.
Exploring the Internet.
Writing Essays.
“Larger Than Life,” PHILIP TOSHIO SUDO.
Sudo defines the word hero and comments on its meaning in societies of the past and present.
Focus: Definition.
“Risking Your Life for Another,” JOHN QUIÑONES (NEW).
The author tells the story of 20-year-old Jeremy Hernandez, who risked his life to save the other adults and fifty-two children on a bus hanging over a collapsed bridge on the Mississippi River.
A reporter tells the story of losing his hand in a grenade explosion in Baghdad and his realization that this loss saved his life and the life of his three companions.
The author remembers Ferguson, a replacement he knew for only a minute in Viet Nam before he was killed.
“September 11, 2001: Answering the Call,” BILL MOON.
A student expresses his admiration for the heroic response of the New York firefighters and police officers and the passengers of Flight 93 to the September 2001 terrorist attacks.
“Hero Inflation,” NICHOLAS THOMPSON.
Thompson asks whether the word hero has been used too frequently and too loosely since September 11, 2001.
“Giving Students the Heroes They Need,” PETER H. GIBBON.
Gibbons argues not only that young people today still need heroes but also that a hero can be imperfect and still be great.
“Rosa Parks Through a New Lens,” PAUL ROGAT LOEB.
Loeb argues that understanding the larger context of Parks’s actions increases her heroism.
“More Than “Ms.” Chief,” RICHARD GONZALES.
Gonzales traces the rise of Wilma Mankiller from timidity to leadership as the chief of the Cherokee tribe.
“The New Heroes and Role Models,” TYLER COWAN.
Cowen explores the distinction between heroes and role models as well as the changing nature of fame and celebrity.
“I Am Not a Role Model,” CHARLES BARKLEY.
Barkley argues that family members, not celebrities, are the best role models for young people.
“True Grit,” BARRY TARGAN.
In this autobiographical essay Targan describes the quiet heroism of his father, a hard-working grocer who truly devoted his life to his family.
Writing a Movie Review.
Example: Review of Hero.
Exploring Ideas Together.
Exploring the Internet.
Writing Essays.
Text Credits.

What's New

  • Forty percent of the readings in this edition are new.
  • Discussion questions now accompany the photographs at the beginning of each unit.
  • At least one reading in each unit focuses on a particular method of development: narration, description, classification, process, example, cause and effect, comparison and contrast, and definition (additional instruction and student models of these methods of development are provided on the INTERACTION, Eighth Edition, student website).
  • The eighth edition features an increased emphasis on vocabulary in all units.

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Ann Moseley

Ann Moseley (Ph.D., University of Oklahoma) is Associate Professor and Director of the Communications Skills Center at East Texas State University.

Jeanette Harris

Jeanette Harris (Ph.D., East Texas State University) was Director of the William L. Adams Writing Center at Texas Christian University.