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so ask already!!! > Books about analyzing books




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message 20: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1263 comments Mod
did any of these end up working out for you?


Kaethe | 28 comments Two to consider, that are focused on what an individual derives from her own reading plan:
The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life
How to Live on 24 Hours a Day


Larry Bassett David wrote: "I liked both James Wood's and and Francine Prose's books. I loved Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel, but it is long, as Elizabeth mentioned.

Let me put in a plug for GR bookswap. I just got a copy of Thirteen Ways in great condition using bookswap.


Jasmine | 455 comments Melissa wrote: "This one's a bit less "teach-y" but I like the tone: Beowulf on the Beach: What to Love and What to Skip in Literature's 50 Greatest Hits. I really liked the argument for "great lit..."

I love this book.


message 16: by Jennifer (aka EM) (last edited Mar 31, 2011 03:01PM) (new)

Jennifer (aka EM) | 72 comments Stephen King's On Writing is short and, perhaps surprisingly, very good. Even if (or especially if) you're not a King fan, don't let that deter you.


Melissa (balletbookworm) | 20 comments This one's a bit less "teach-y" but I like the tone: Beowulf on the Beach: What to Love and What to Skip in Literature's 50 Greatest Hits. I really liked the argument for "great literature" as beach-reads (and Murnighan isn't shy about why books are sexy).


Eric | 25 comments Has anybody read any books in the "Art of ..." series put out by Graywolf Press? The ones that intrigue me the most are The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot by Charles Baxter and The Art of Time in Fiction: As Long as It Takes by Joan Silber. There are other books in the series that deal more with poetry and nonfiction that look interesting as well. They are all only about 120 pages or so.


Sara (sarapyle) I second both the Prose and How to Read X Like a Professor novels. Prose's is definitely a little more mechanical: sentences, paragraph breaks, etc., where the How to Read X are more "literary" i.e. symbolism. How to Read X has chapters like (paraphrased) "If someone gets wet, it's a baptism" and "Food is never just food," where the Prose book has chapters about construction and grammar. Both very entertaining and useful, just with slightly different focus.

As for the How to Read X books, Literature is more classics/great works and Novels is, well, the sort of books I've read (still more classics than your standard genre novel, but not necessarily the Great Books).


Melissa (balletbookworm) | 20 comments I have to second Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them - good building blocks and TONS of examples from books to swell your TBR pile.


Kathrina | 49 comments OMG, the perfect opportunity to sing praises at How to Write a Sentence! This book brought me back to recognizing the sensual pleasure of reading and recognizing great writing. I LOVED it.


David (David_Giltinan) | 9 comments I liked both James Wood's and and Francine Prose's books. I loved Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel, but it is long, as Elizabeth mentioned.

David Lodge's The Art of Fiction: Illustrated from Classic and Modern Texts is also well worth checking out.


Eric | 25 comments Karen, yeah, the Wood book is kind of set up like the Foster books, with chapters on different elements of fiction, but it's less lit-classy ... and I think Wood takes things apart more on the micro level. Lots of close reading moments, less talk of big themes.

He mostly focuses on novels, 19th century-now.


message 8: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1263 comments Mod
is the wood set up differently that the fosters?? i have never looked at it - what's the scope of it??


Eric | 25 comments I really liked How Fiction Works by James Wood. Pretty enlightening, really. And it's slim. Those "How to Read Like A Professor" books (mentioned above) are good too, info-packed but also fun (and they read quickly!).


Greg | 116 comments Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose could be another book you might want to look at. Each chapter of the book looks at different parts that make up writing, starting with words and moving up through sentences, paragraphs, etc., to show how different writers make the best possible use of the different parts of a work of fiction.


Pulkit (pulkitavadakedavra) Well, not exactly, but I have to reach my goal of 75 books and I get only about an hour and a half to read each day. So I'm mostly aiming to read books with 200 - 450 pages.
Thanks for your recommendation. This is a great group, by the way, Karen.


message 4: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1263 comments Mod
oh, is there a time frame on this??


Pulkit (pulkitavadakedavra) Elizabeth and Karen, yeah, those are exactly the kind of books I was talking about. And about the longer book, I'll see if I can get enough time to read it.


message 2: by karen, future RA queen (new)

karen (karenbrissette) | 1263 comments Mod
these two are the most basic and user-friendly that i know of; they go into both narrative structure and symbolism - i believe historical significance of the works is also discussed. they are both about three hundred pages. is this sort of what you are talking about??

How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines

How to Read Novels Like a Professor: A Jaunty Exploration of the World's Favorite Literary Form


Pulkit (pulkitavadakedavra) I want to read any books (non-fiction, obviously) that teach about analyzing fiction and finding any negative and positive parts of a book and all that stuff. Shouldn't be too long or too short is the only condition.


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