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Publishers WeeklyAuthor and literature professor Sutherland collects a sundry list of literary fact and trivia into a chaotic assortment of narratives. Organized under a stream-of-consciousness list of themes ("Literary Baked Meats," "Better Than Sex, Some Say," "Mammon and the Book Trade"), Sutherland has set few boundaries for himself regarding subject matter: irritable bowel syndrome, the wedding night, and Rose of Sharon's absurdly generous gift in the conclusion of The Grapes of Wrath all come into play. Though he might be self-indulgent, Sutherland delves into the minutiae with grace and good British wit, bringing humor and appeal to even the most (seemingly) dull subjects. Average readers don't need to worry about comparative illiteracy; Sutherland is so thorough that prior knowledge isn't necessary. A lively read for anyone who wants to learn more about their favorite classics, and a lively cheat sheet for those who want to impress their friends in the lit crowd.
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