This is a collection of eight lectured that EM Forster delivered in 1925 or so about the different elements of the novel. I think it mostly still holds up, so long as your aim is not grad or professional literary criticism (and probably still plenty if it is). The book is divided into the different “aspects” like story, plot, people, style and rhythm, etc. The primary distinction that I think makes this collection interesting is between story and plot. And this is something that I really try to emphasize with students. The story is what happens or what the book aims to tell. This feels like a summary, or an overview, but I think the more important way to look at it is as the essence of the book. The essence of the book is what it hopes to capture. The plot then, are the details and moments that get us to that story. I think the book is positioned in an interesting moment too. EM Forster was close to 50 when he wrote this, and have already published all his fiction. And this list includes A Room with a View, Howard’s End, and A Passage to India, all of which are serious and challenging novels. Challenging here in terms of providing complex understandings on ideas about the world and doing so beautifully. And he mention Ulysses, and clearly has already begun to reckon with it. But there’s so much more modernism on its way. Anyway, he also lived for another 30 years. So even though he was done writing fiction, his criticism still remained.