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Book Title: How to Read a Novel|
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Reader ratings: 5.6
The author of the book: John Sutherland
Edition: St. Martin's Press
Date of issue: October 31st 2006
ISBN 13: 9780312359881
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 3.48 MB
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"Do we still know how to read a novel?" John Sutherland, Chairman of the 2005 Booker Prize Committee, asks. His disheartened 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. Using this delightful book as a means to an end, he reminds 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: how they work, what they're about, what makes them good or bad, and how to talk about them. 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. Will a great love affair begin? Will the rendezvous end in disappointment? Who can say? In order for the relationship to take its appropriate course all the details must be clearly acknowledged and understood for their complexities: plot, point of view, character, style, pace, first and last sentences, and even beauty.
Still, Sutherland knows a true understanding of fiction is more than a flirtation with text and style--it is a business. Taking his readers on a trip to the bookshop, he helps them judge a book by its cover based on design and color, wondering aloud what genre might be best, even going so far as to analyze one of the latest American bestsellers to further help the buying reader choose the novel that is right for him or her.
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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Read information about the authorJohn Andrew Sutherland is an English lecturer, emeritus professor, newspaper columnist and author.
Now Emeritus Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London, John Sutherland began his academic career after graduating from the University of Leicester as an assistant lecturer in Edinburgh in 1964. He specialises in Victorian fiction, 20th century literature, and the history of publishing.
Apart from writing a regular column in the The Guardian newspaper, Sutherland has published seventeen (as of 2004) books and is editing the forthcoming Oxford Companion to Popular Fiction. The series of books which starts with Was Heathcliff a Murderer? has brought him a wide readership. The books in the series are collections of essays. Each essay takes a piece of classic fiction, almost always from the Victorian period. Carefully going over every word of the text, Sutherland highlights apparent inconsistencies, anachronisms and oversights, and explains references which the modern reader is likely to overlook. In some cases he demonstrates the likelihood that the author simply forgot a minor detail. In others, apparent slips on the part of the author are presented as evidence that something is going on beyond the surface of the book which is not explicitly described (such as his explanation for why Sherlock Holmes should mis-address Miss Stoner as Miss Roylott in "The Adventure of the Speckled Band").
In 2001, he published Last Drink to LA, a moving chronicle of his alcoholism and his return to sobriety.
In 2005, he was involved in Dot Mobile's project to translate summaries and quotes of classic literature into text messaging shorthand. In the same year he was also Chair of Judges for the Booker Prize.
In June 2007 he published an autobiography: The Boy Who Loved Books: A Memoir. On 18 December 2007 his annotated edition of Robert Louis Stevenson's The Black Arrow was released by Penguin Books.
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