Thomas C. Foster: How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines (New York: Harper Collins, 2014)
Ever wonder why so many famous literary characters – Oedipus and Milkman Dead, for instance – literally limp through their stories? Or why so many stumble about blind, impotent, or scarred? With his engaging book, How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Thomas C. Foster helps readers become more adept at decoding “the grammar of literary language.”
Targeting foremost the uninitiated reader, be that college freshmen or middle-aged members of book clubs, Foster provides “a broad introduction to the codes and patterns that inform our readings.” Yet, even for the literary scholar, Foster’s book offers fun and intellectually satisfying romps through chapters such as “If She Comes Up, It’s Baptism” or “It’s My Symbol and I’ll Cry If I Want To.” References to many canonized literary texts and tell-tale snippets from pop culture favorites dovetail nicely with aspects from our own department’s Intro and Survey literature courses.
Reading Foster’s book will help you master lit/cult’s “analytical apparatus” and in an entertaining way increase your understanding of Richard III’s twisted back, Oedipus’s sore feet, Jake Barnes’s wounded weenie, and, yes, even Harry Potter’s lightning-bolt scar.
– recommended by Andrea Krause