Thursday, October 30, 2008

Reading

Posted by Lynne Griffin

Put the words literature and professor together, and do you get a case of the hives? Maybe visions of long papers and red pen come to mind? Don't let that turn you off to the book called, How to Read Literature Like a Professor, by Thomas C. Foster.

This book is filled with insight into great works of fiction that draw on Greek myths, Shakespeare, and the bible. You may have known that West Side Story was a contemporary Romeo and Juliet, but did you know that the scene in Toni Morrison's Beloved when Sethe is protecting her children as four white men come after her is based on the book of Revelation's four horsemen of the apocalypse?

The book's subtitle is--A lively and entertaining guide to reading between the lines, and let me tell you, it's as much a book for writers as readers. If you're going to put your characters at a table to enjoy a meal, you better know why writers do that. And if you're interested in planting symbols or burying meaning read the chapters called, Is that a symbol? and What does that mean?

This is a terrific book to add to your library, and though I haven't read Foster's next, How to Read Novels Like a Professor, I imagine that's a keeper too. So if you're interested in learning more about craft in a new way, pick up a copy and be prepared to be entertained. And think of the trivia you'll have for your next get together with writers or avid readers.

5 comments:

Mary said...

Sounds like a great book! Francine Prose's Reading Like a Writer is fantastic too.

The Writers' Group said...

Yes, Mary. Reading like a Writer is great. And check out Prose's new novel, Goldengrove. Reviews are good.

Lynne

lisaalber said...

I was going to recommend Francine Prose's book also, but someone beat me to it!

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