How to Read a Novel: A User's Guide
  • How to Read a Novel: A User's Guide
  • How to Read a Novel: A User's Guide

How to Read a Novel: A User's Guide

by John Sutherland
     
 

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"Do we still know how to read a novel?" John Sutherland, Chairman of the 2005 Booker Prize Committee, asks. His answer is an unequivocal, "No." But Sutherland has not given up hope. With acerbic wit and intellect, he traces the history of what it used to mean to be well-read and tells readers what it still means today while reminding readers how the delicate charms

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Overview

"Do we still know how to read a novel?" John Sutherland, Chairman of the 2005 Booker Prize Committee, asks. His answer is an unequivocal, "No." But Sutherland has not given up hope. With acerbic wit and intellect, he traces the history of what it used to mean to be well-read and tells readers what it still means today while reminding readers how the delicate charms of fiction can be at once wonderful and inspired and infuriating. On one level this is a book about novels but at a deeper level, this is a book in which one of the most intimate tête-à-têtes is described—one in which a reader meets a novel. However, in order for the relationship to take its proper course, a reader must know how to read it! Sutherland helps readers:
--Pick the right book for them among the cattle call of pre-packaged blurbs and enticing cover art
--Recognize a misleading title at first glance
--Look beyond the politics of book reviewers
--Learn to read the extras—epigraphs, forewords, afterwords—to understand themes only hinted at in the main text
--Find real aspects of the author cleverly hidden in the narrative structure
--And much more
In a book that is as wry and humorous as it is learned and opinionated, John Sutherland tells you everything you always wanted to know about how to read fiction better than you do now (but, were afraid to ask).

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

How to Read a Novel is a lighthearted, often funny book. And oddly calming. There may not be time to read everything, but at least there is some hope of doing it well.” —The Los Angeles Times

“A quick and lively view of the novel that mixes practical wisdom and theory...highly recommended.” —Library Journal

“Informed, wise, witty, urbane, sententious by turns…a relaxing but stimulating read.” —Public Library Journal (UK)

Library Journal
Sutherland (modern English literature, emeritus, University Coll., London; Stephen Spender: The Authorized Biography), a columnist for the London Guardian, has written a quick and lively view of the novel that mixes practical wisdom and theory. He gives a "four-minute" history of fiction using exemplary texts; provides their titles, publication dates, author photographs, fonts, and epigraphs; and discusses first sentences, style, and truth vs. fiction. In fact, he gives you everything you need to know to become a successful and happy novel reader. Sutherland has the ability to lightly discuss both classic and modern novelists (e.g., D.H. Lawrence, Zadie Smith) and can also do a fast deep reading quite an achievement! He explains the importance of the novel in exploring forbidden themes; the nature of prizes, reviews, and best sellers; and the practical side of publication. His brief mention of the nature and influences of different types of libraries is illuminating. The major piece of wisdom to be gained? It's probably that you can get what you need for yourself, your life, and your happiness from the novel, what D.H. Lawrence called the "one bright book of life." Highly recommended for literature collections. Gene Shaw, NYPL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312359898
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
09/18/2007
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
1,413,205
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.61(d)

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Meet the Author

JOHN SUTHERLAND is a professor at University College London who has published and edited numerous books. He writes for The Guardian, The New York Times Book Review, and London Review of Books. He was the 2005 Man Book Prize committee chairman. He lives in London, England.

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