I love books about books and reading. I couldn’t resist checking out How to Read Novels Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster when I saw it at the library Monday. It has the added bonus of being highly recommended by my mom, who enjoyed his other book (How to Read Literature Like a Professor) as well.
I’m only 86 pages in so far, but I love it. It’s very readable, it doesn’t feel stuffy or textbook-ish. It covers the basics of literary analysis, but explores each aspect in a fun way, with many examples. It’s a refresher in what to look for while you’re reading to help understand all aspects of how the author is telling the story. It’s already given me a deeper understanding of why I like my favorite novels and what factors contributed to my dislike of others.
One thing that reading books about books/reading inevitably does for me is add numerous other books to my To Be Read list, which I never object to but really isn’t necessary, since it’s already miles long. Still, I can never resist, and I’ve found wonderful books this way. It’s sort of incestuous, really.
So far I’ve already felt the desire to read The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles, the poem “A Martian Sends a Postcard Home” by Craig Raine (which I have since read, online), The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, and something (probably Portrait of a Lady?) by Henry James.
Here are some of my favorite Books about Books/Reading:
Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman
Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose
The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby (probably added the most of any of these to my TBR list)
So Many Books, So Little Time by Sara Nelson
Some Books about Books/Reading that are on my TBR list:
How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster (I can already tell I’m going to need to read the other one, too)
Shelf Life by Suzanne Strempek Shea
A Gental Madness by Nicholas A. Basbanes
How Beautiful it is and How Easily It Can Be Broken by Daniel Mendelsohn (not entirely about books, but many of the essays are)
I’m always taking recommendations for more books about books/reading, so if you know of a good one, please let me know. :)
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