It’s CBR10, YAY!
At work, we often have informal lunchtime book exchanges. What a lucky guy I am to work where I work! Knowing my bookworm status, one of my friends handed off How to Read Literature Like a Professor to me, telling me it would change the way I read. She was right, in a very good way! While I have been a lifelong reader and writer, most of what I know about literature comes via osmosis. Besides some very basic freshman-level courses, I don’t have much formal training in understanding how literature works. This book, written by University of Michigan English professor Tom Foster, is an entertaining and useful guide to reading on a deeper level. It might be a good start to your CBR10 if you’re looking to tackle fancier books in 2018.
Foster is a fun professor – his self-effacing style compliments the admittedly (self-)serious work of literary analysis and criticism. He makes sure that the reader feels comfortable and excited stepping into deeper waters as symbolism, myth, memories, and patterns are explored. He uses a combination of classics from ancient times up until around the 1980s to illustrate his points. His most frequently-referenced creators are probably James Joyce and Toni Morrison, although he name drops short stories, poems, and novels with gusto on every page, so I filled up my Goodreads queue. As he says, though, reading should be fun. He suggests reading things you like. “Read ‘Great Literature’, by all means, but read good writing.”
I should note that I’ve linked the revised edition of this book – I read the version published in 2003 so there could be newer references or updated in the linked version.