Book Review: How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster

Published by Harper Collins, Paperback 2003, 336 pages
Non-fiction/Reading Literature

Link for book @ Publisher:

Link for the book @ Amazon:
Paperback $7.69
Kindle $9.99

Link for the book @ Borders:
Paperback $7.69
ebook $9.99

I purchased this book for reading/reviewing.

With light-heartedness and approachable teaching, Thomas C. Foster teaches how to decipher the "real" literary meanings behind fictional novels. I think back to when I was in College taking English literature that we could never just read a novel or short story, we had to pick it apart in order to find the hidden morsels of information that author was trying to commend to its readers. At times in exasperation I wanted to yell out, "lets just read the (expletive) story! But alas, years later in visiting a Borders book store I would dare to pick up and purchase and buy.... gasp! a book on this same subject. I hope this does not mean that I'm getting old!
From ghost and vampire stories to seasons to Shakespeare---Thomas Foster writes short explanatory chapters on the real meanings behind these subjects in a story. He also writes that there is "no such thing a wholly original work of literature." All stories are evolved from another poem or story.
I read this book in 1 day. It is easy to read, non-threatening. I found it to be interesting and informative.

Blissful Reading!


  1. Annette, you are the lucky winner of the Naxos Audiobook North and South giveaway for the Elizabeth Gaskell Blog Tour. You left a comment on Siletto Storytime on Sept 29th to qualify. Please visit this link to read the instruction to claim your prize. Thanks, Laurel Ann, Austenprose

  2. I think Foster's book is a little too heavy for people who are just beginning their foray into literature. There is a very basic literature guide 'How to read literature' available for these readers. It is available at

  3. Thank you Anonymous...whoever you are?
    Foster's book went over what I learned back in English literature in college. I bought the book in order to add it to my collection of reference books on reading/writing.
    Thanks for the new link.


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