Category Archives: Books About Books

Anne Fadiman, Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader

Anne Fadiman’s Ex Libris is another Book About Books for my ongoing reading project–the longest-running one on this blog. As I’ve noted before, I began reading this kind of book as a deliberate exploration of the genre (what do people say?) and now … Continue reading

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Lynne Sharon Schwartz, Ruined by Reading: A Life in Books

In the early days of Novel Readings, one of the things I was trying to figure out was how non-academics wrote about books, or (a slight variation) how academics wrote about books for non-academic audiences. So I read a lot … Continue reading

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Best of ‘Novel Readings’: James Wood, How Fiction Works

This review first went up in March 2008. My brooding over deep vs. broad reading has had me thinking again about Wood’s criticism, which I wrote admiringly about when I first discovered him in 2007. (This remarkably belated discovery speaks … Continue reading

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Jane Smiley, 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel

From the Novel Readings Archive One of the reasons I began blogging in the first place was to experiment with writing about books in a non-academic way. One of the first blogging projects I took up, therefore (because research is … Continue reading

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Posner on the “Decline of Literary Criticism”

In the most recent issue of Philosophy and Literature, Richard Posner reviews Ronan McDonald’s The Death of the Critic (discussed previously here): The problem with “criticism conceived as magistrate”—the problem that McDonald not only does not solve, but does not … Continue reading

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Recent Reading

As the new term gets underway, I feel my opportunities for “leisure” (a.k.a. “not required”) reading slipping away–not that I’m sorry, of course, to have an excuse to read Bleak House again, or The Remains of the Day (too late … Continue reading

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James Wood, How Fiction Works

(Cross-posted to The Valve. Thank you to the regular Valve folks for the invitation to do some guest posting!) The dust jacket describes How Fiction Works as Wood’s “first full-length book of criticism.” Anyone led by this blurb to expect … Continue reading

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