Customer Reviews for

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

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2008

    Don't let the title fool you! It's a fun book to read.

    I am thoroughly enjoying this book. I have not read most of the books he refers to but I am still gleaming a great deal from it. This would also be great for aspiring writers. The author is funny, and unlike a lot of lit professors, he is not a lit-snob. He does not speak down to the reader and helps the reader to see things a little differently. I can not wait until I am finished so that I can reread A Tree Grows in Brooklyn- not one of my favorites, but maybe it will inspire a different view.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2008

    Informative and funny.

    I'm really enjoying reading this book. He explores the different types of narrators and I can't wait to explore this enjoyable aspect. He says the first page tells you whats-what, I never knew! I want to read some of the novels wth different narrators that he enjoys.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 30, 2014

    There are piles and piles of books about being a writer. It's re

    There are piles and piles of books about being a writer. It's refreshing to find one about being a reader.
    Thomas C. Foster, a literature professor, employs a fun, breezy style to teach people how to get the
    most out of their reading. Chapter by chapter he takes readers through the major aspects that
    comprise "the novel"--quite a trick considering what a slippery creature it has shown itself since its
    debut back in the 1700s.

    Here's a quick sample of some chapter headings. They give a good sense of the Foster's friendly,
    approachable style.

    --Pick Up Lines and Open(ing) Seductions or Why Novels Have First Pages.
    --Never Trust a Narrator with a Speaking Part.
    --When Very Bad People Happen to Good Novels
    --Everywhere is Just One Place
    --Who Broke My Novel?
    --Untidy Endings

    Within each chapter, Forster uses pointed examples from both classic and contemporary fiction. I'm
    glad I have a habit of reading with a pen in hand, because I ended up with quite a reading list by the
    time I finished this book. The basic "lesson" of each chapter is summed up by a general (and pretty
    tongue-in-cheek) rule. Below is a sample of Foster's useful little nuggets. 

    --The Law of Getting Started: The opening is the first lesson in how to read a book. 
    --The Law of Narrative Unreliability: Stop believing the narrator when you see the word "I."
    --The Law of People and Things: Characters are revealed not only by their actions and their words, but also by the items that surround them.
    --The Law of Crowded Desks: When a novelist sits down to begin a novel, there are a thousand other writers in the room. Minimum.

    If you are a writer, this book is doubly useful. It's chapters provide a neat checklist of thing to look for in
    your own work. Foster manages to provide lots of good direction without hampering individual style. His
     whole philosophy is based on the flexibility of the novel as a literary form. One that can accommodate
    sensibilities as wide ranging as stalwart Victorian Charles Dickens, noir writer Raymond Chandler,
    and contemporary novelists like Barbara Kingsolver.

    Foster emphasizes that, in all literature, there is only ONE story. And yet it's also true that we can't read
    the same book twice. We've changed and therefore so has the book. It's his treatment of books as living,
    evolving entities that makes it likely his own HOW TO READ NOVELS LIKE A PROFESSOR will stand
    up to multiple readings.The discussions and theories he presents seemed designed to support a
    literary taste that grows and changes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2012

    Looking forward to reading this!

    I just discovered this book. And will purchase it. I did read the first one, which is really insightful if one wants to read for further meaning and depth. I have had professor Foster for a couple of classes at University of Michigan at Flint. I can say, first hand, this man knows his stuff. The funny thing, his first book was already published and sitting on the shelf at B&N when I had him as a professor, and I never knew he wrote it until I brought it up during a class discussion. He then told us about the book. I bought a copy and had him sign it. He's a very fine man and terrific professor. Looking forward to reading this. I'm sure it's going to be quite insightful. Glad he's helping people to hsve a higher level of awareness while reading.

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  • Posted October 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful reading.

    Wonderful reading.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted August 25, 2011

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