Tag Archives: books about books

“Middlemarch in Six!” Nick Hornby’s The Polysyllabic Spree

This is the first in what I plan as a regular series of re-posts from my archives. It seems appropriate to lead off with a review that was not only one of my earliest posts (it first went up on … Continue reading

Posted in Hornby, Nick, Literary criticism | Tagged , | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Books About Books | Tagged , | 6 Comments

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

Posted in Books About Books, Schwartz, Lynne Sharon | Tagged , | 7 Comments

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

Posted in Books About Books, Smiley, Jane | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

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

Posted in Books About Books, Literary criticism, Wood, James | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Francine Prose, Reading Like a Writer

This book has a simple premise–that the best way for aspiring writers to learn their craft is to read (closely, attentively, alertly, appreciatively) the work of other novelists. Prose proceeds to elaborate on what she sees as the pedagogical benefit … Continue reading

Posted in Books About Books, Writing for readers | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Denis Donoghue, The Practice of Reading

The Practice of Reading lies somewhere in between standard academic literary criticism and the more populist ‘books about books’ that I’ve been reading for my ‘writing for readers’ project. I suppose its main audience is an academic one, but its … Continue reading

Posted in Books About Books, Literary criticism | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment