At first glance when I saw this book, I thought (a) this book was going to be extremely pretentious and (b) it was going to be boring. On this instance, I was far from the truth. I found “How to Read Literature like a Professor” insightful, expanding my thinking process. It makes the reader dig deeper into a literary work to discover any hiding meanings the writer wants us to find.
Often times in English class I would feel lost when the teacher would explain a composition (story, poem, etc). I wondered whether we were reading the same work. They are able to find hidden meanings, meanings that to any teenager may not seem clean cut (especially in works of Old English). I could imagine that many of my classmates also struggled with this. Being an author, I did have an advantage to finding the meaning of these symbols and figurative language, but many times I looked at my teacher with a perplexed look. Sometimes I even thought it was a bunch of bologna, not everything is a symbol. (Foster later states in “How to..” that they’re not always symbols, but there are many of them). Many times, she [my teacher] would even accuse us of not doing our homework because we would not volunteer our insights. It was not a failure on our part. We just did not know how to read a story the same way she did. This book will teach you all the useful tips needed to read a text in depth.
For all the avid readers: “How to…” will definitely transform the way you read. Besides it being insightful, I did not find it a least bit dull. I’m not usually a fan of nonfiction books because many have the habit of not being concise enough or stimulating. “How to…” gets to the point yet after the three hundred pages I thought there was still more to be discussed. That is how a book should leave you fiction or not, to wish that there was more. Although it may not seem stimulating in the sense stories with action make one feel, it is stimulating in the intellectual sense.
I know many people may not have enjoyed “How to Read Literature like a Professor” as their summer reading. But hey, it wasn’t written for students anyway. It was written for readers and any reader should find this book useful.