This book introduces the three principal types or genres of literature: fiction, poetry, and drama. When we learn to read literature, we acquire a pleasure and a resource we never lose. Although literary study is impractical in one sense--few people make their living reading books--in another sense it is almost as practical as breathing. Literature records and embodies centuries of human experience, preserving for us the minds of people who lived before us, who were like us and unlike us, against whom we can measure our common humanity and our historical difference. And, when we read the stories, poems and plays of our contemporaries, they illuminate the world we inhabit together.