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How to Read Literature Like a Professor
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Archive: Other Books > How To Read Literature Like A Professor--5 stars

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Lisa (spirolim) | 178 comments Synopsis:
While many books can be enjoyed for their basic stories, there are often deeper literary meanings interwoven in these texts. How to Read Literature Like a Professor helps us to discover those hidden truths by looking at literature with the eyes—and the literary codes—of the ultimate professional reader: the college professor.

What does it mean when a literary hero travels along a dusty road? When he hands a drink to his companion? When he's drenched in a sudden rain shower? Ranging from major themes to literary models, narrative devices, and form, Thomas C. Foster provides us with a broad overview of literature—a world where a road leads to a quest, a shared meal may signify a communion, and rain, whether cleansing or destructive, is never just a shower—and shows us how to make our reading experience more enriching, satisfying, and fun.


My Thoughts:
Phew! Finally finished this one!

This book has been on my TBR for about a decade now. I've always wanted to read it, ever since my high school friends read it during their AP English class. It just seemed like such a useful book.

Turns it out it was pretty useful. As well as interesting. And funny. And well-written.

I like Foster's style. His writing strongly reminds of some of the professors I learned from back in college. You know the type I'm talking about; the memorable ones that made learning fun and fascinating. Foster's quirky and amusing, and granted he seems to be targeting students, but I found it equally refreshing as an adult.

I'm not good at reading non-fiction (it's my own fault that it took two months to finish), but I did really enjoy this book. I feel like I can look deeper into literature now. In fact, it's already helped me notice subtle details in a BOTM book that I wouldn't have noticed before.

So thanks Foster! Thanks for giving us a book that will help us understand the finer points of good literature.


Joy D | 4184 comments Nice review! I have this on my TBR. I may have to bump it up the list.


Cheryl struggles to catch up (cherylllr) Is this the one where the author tells us that it's pretty easy to spot a Jesus allusion/ metaphor in a carpenter or fisherman? I can't remember if I read it or not....


message 4: by Karin (new) - added it

Karin | 7301 comments This is on my tbr as well, although I hesitate at times because often I just want to read a novel for the story and forget about all the deeper meanings (just like when I was in high school).


message 5: by Idit (new)

Idit | 1028 comments I read it few years ago and enjoyed it very much.

It’s a very smooth read and the novels that he mentions make for a very good TBR in their own.
If you’ve studied literature in high school or later, there are no earth-shattering revelations, but it refreshed my memory and helped me notice things that I might have stopped noticing.
I felt it was a perfect balance between enriching my reading experience of literature but not making it too demanding.


message 6: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason Oliver | 2088 comments Adding to TBR. Thank-you


message 7: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6169 comments Some years back I attended an author event with an author who had a previously published book chosen for Oprah's Book Club. The author told us how a phone call a few weeks before the scheduled taping of the Oprah show went:

Oprah: So, what was the significance of the white cat?
Author: There was a cat in my book?

Sometimes a cigar (white cat or carpenter) is just a cigar (white cat or carpenter).


Cheryl struggles to catch up (cherylllr) Ah, but in college we're taught not to trust author's interpretations of their own work. Something to do with the forces that shape the character of the author making their way sub- or un- consciously into the book.


message 9: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason Oliver | 2088 comments Stephen King says he finds his themes after writing, during the revision process most of the time and then adds things to make those themes stronger.


message 10: by Barbara M (new) - added it

Barbara M (barbara-m) | 2281 comments This has been on my TBR for quite a while too. After your review, I will keep trying to get to it!


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