This week’s favorite

I have a new favorite book group tool: How to Read Novels Like a Professor.

I enjoyed Thomas C. Foster‘s delightfully informative first “how to,” How to Read Literature Like a Professor, but I think this latest entry tops the first. I actually laughed while reading this book and wished I’d had Dr. Foster in college. How to Read Novels Like a Professor

For any book group member who has despaired that he or she doesn’t “read like the rest of the group” and wonders “where are they finding all that stuff” in the text, this is the literary guide book you’re looking for.

So far my favorite chapter is Chapter 15, “Fiction About Fiction” or, to my mind, “what is this meta-fiction term all the cool kids keep bandying about?” Dr. Foster explains it all for you and he goes back much further than the McSweeney’s crowd. He takes us back to Homer, Virgil, Boccaccio, and Chaucer, pointing out where all the current writer-hipsters have picked up their influences.

Second most useful portion of the book is the list of eighteen things you can learn about a book just by reading the first page. Look for it in Chapter One, “Pick Up Lines and Open(ing) Seductions.”

Lest you think the good literate doctor is getting too literary, I should point out that he states, unequivocally, that Chuck Jones, of Warner Bros., animating fame is the “first postmodern genius.”

See? We needed Dr. Foster in our undergrad days. He references Bugs Bunny and makes it relevant to reading.

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About the Author:

Kaite Mediatore Stover refuses to give up her day job as director of readers' services for The Kansas City Public Library to read tarot cards professionally or be the merch girl/roadie for her husband's numerous bands. Follow her on Twitter at @MarianLiberryan.

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