NonFiction Text Paper – Outline

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Really though. Because in 3 to 4 short pages someone’s gonna learn something that I just learned myself. It’s also my 5:42AM-Tropical-Redbull-induced-self-hatred-of-pure-death-writing-nightmare. BITCHES! LET’S GOOOO!


Still Life: Adventures in Taxidermy:

1 summary of the plot; brief situation “what is the book about?”

  • Start with a book review; The New Yorker
    • Milgrom’s engrossing study of taxidermy is both a general history … and an introduction to figures in its contemporary subculture. -The New Yorker

That is what The New Yorker says about Melissa Milgrom’s book Still Life: Adventures in Taxidermy.

  • Talk about the book and who she followed; the person the book was based on
    • David Schwendeman a retired taxidermist
  • What she did; Mention quote from Lisa V, who wrote a book review on the Library thing
    • Oh, this was fun! Yep, a book about taxidermy was fun. Milgrom delves into the history of taxidermy, and takes us on a fascinating natural history adventure in the process. She also, at the end, mounts her own squirrel. There are journeys into reconstruction of extinct animals as well as forays into fine art. It’s a delightful book, if you like that sort of thing. The writing is workmanlike, the storyline linear and clear. Nicely done. –Lisa V. (satyridae)
  • What she talked about and how she did it; talked about the present and dipped into the history but then brought us back to the present
  • Conclude with A.J. Jacobs quote
    • “Who knew a book about dead animals could be so lively? This is a wonderful look at a quirky, passionate, sometimes fanatical subculture. – A.J. Jacobs, Author of The Know-It-All and The Guinea Pig Diaries
  • Transition with who the author is


2 Who is the author briefly;

  • author of Still Life, a chronicle of her adventures among taxidermists
  • She holds a master’s degree in American Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. She’s a visiting professor at the Pratt Institute and lives in New York City.

Expertiseà What have they done?

  • She has written for The New York Times, The Daily Beast, The Wall Street Journal, Salon, Marvels & Wonders, Travel and Leisure, and Metropolis, among other publications.
  • Since the book, she has spoken about taxidermy and other topics at Yale, Harvard, The American Museum of Natural History, The Museum of Arts and Design, the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, and at literary events, conferences, and book festivals

credibility of writing the book à background

  • I’m an author and journalist with wide-ranging experience as a public speaker.
  • My interdisciplinary approach to culture has led me to write in-depth profiles of artists, artisans, inventors, and others whose work and passions speak to society at large.

Where the story has also appeared

  • Melissa’s first book, it was selected as an Amazon Best Book of the Month and received praise from The New Yorker, The New York Times, People, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, and Publisher’s Weekly, among others.

Style – investigative and to find out what about and tries it out

  • Milgrom’s writing about popular culture, subcultures, and people with eccentric areas of expertise has appeared


3 Authors purpose to write this. Why did she write this book? What did she hope to accomplish?

  • Yknow I wish I knew why she wanted to write this book, but I looked at her linkedin, her website, and facebook. But she doesn’t have anything written down as to why she wanted to write this book or what she hopes to accomplish.
  • My idea is that she wanted to write this book to give people a different perspective on taxidermy without putting her own opinion into this piece. She never said ‘I dislike…’ or ‘I like…’ or ‘I think…’, she just gave the facts and wrote what she saw.


4 Explain how they did the book

  • What methods; reporting, interviewing, observation, research, and participation
    • all of the above:
      • Reporting=telling the reader
      • Interviewing=asking questions and learning stories
      • Observation=watching people at the hotel and explaining things
      • Research=goes into depth on why taxidermy is a thing
      • Participation=stuffing her own squirrel
    • What was the most important accomplishing what they wanted to do?
      • Taxidermy isn’t stuffing an animal, they aren’t making stuffed animals they are making art.
    • Consider author’s perspective: are they objective or depend on opinion or subjective observations?
      • Subjective observation; isn’t everything subjective.


5 Is the author emotionally involved with the story or is it just another news story?

  • Emotionally involved because she created connections with these people.


6 Your reactions

Taxidermy is weird; I still really don’t get it, but maybe that’s because I don’t hunt. But I do have a better understanding of why people do it now because I’ve read this book.


Want cohesive paragraphs? Don’t want bullet points? Want complete thoughts?

I want sleep and my body not to hate me. I’m a wreck and this is not as good as it could be, but something better is gonna happen!


  1. It’s a bit unusual for students to provide stream of consciousness notes.
    What have I been missing all these years?!

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