Thomas Foster

How to Read Literature Like a Professor a gripping guidance throw the complex world of literature. As the subtitle of the book suggests, Foster writes 'a lively and entertaining guide to reading between lines'.

The whole books is divided in to 27 chapters, each one with an original title like 'Nice to Eat You: Acts of Vampires' or 'It's My Symbol and I'll Cry If I Want To'. Every chapter has its own topic, starting with the theme of a quest, followed by the meaning of meal in books or a relevance of weather. Importantly, Thomas Foster explains all 27 themes of the book not only in general; which could be confusing for some of his readers; but also on specific scenes from classic books written by big names such as Geoffrey Chaucer, Ernest Hemingway, Franz Kafka, D. H. Lawrence or Mary Shelley. Foster is able to talk about Henry James and, maybe surprisingly for someone, about Stephenie Meyer on the same page. He comes up with generic examples from everyday life as well as from Shakespeare's sonnets. Therefore, the book can serve as a studying tool to everyone, no matter his age or educational history. Foster playfully draws attention to essential themes, types of characters, symbols, geography and politics, elements which are part of every book. Furthermore, he vividly communicates with the reader by directly asking him questions like "But do you know what really kills her?" or "You say this time the hero gets bumped off?", which only increases the reader's engagement with the book.

Yet, this very communication with readers happens to be the shortcoming of the book. As for someone the author's interaction with the reader might be alluring, it can also easily put the other off. The wannabe jovial tone of the first-person narrator follows the reader through out the entire book and as it brings up a sense of connection between the writer and the reader, towards the end of the book it slowly becomes more and more irritating. However, it is worth of getting over this only one, slightly annoying flaw of the book as it has so much to offer.

How to Read Literature Like a Professor offers to its reader an easy-to-read guide to the meaning between the lines of every book. It is not groundbreaking insight in to the world of literature, but moreover it is not complicated or over-helming as most of theories books about literature are. Which is the reason why Thomas. C. Foster's book is worth of reading for every book lover.