What to Read and Why: Book summary and reviews of What to Read and Why by Francine Prose

What to Read and Why

by Francine Prose

What to Read and Why by Francine Prose X
What to Read and Why by Francine Prose
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2018
    336 pages
    Genre: Advice

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Book Summary

Written with her sharp critical analysis, wit, and enthusiasm, What to Read and Why is a celebration of literature that will give readers a new appreciation for the power and beauty of the written word.

In this brilliant collection, the follow-up to her New York Times bestseller Reading Like a Writer, the distinguished novelist, literary critic, and essayist celebrates the pleasures of reading and pays homage to the works and writers she admires above all others, from Jane Austen and Charles Dickens to Jennifer Egan and Roberto Bolaño.

In an age defined by hyper-connectivity and constant stimulation, Francine Prose makes a compelling case for the solitary act of reading and the great enjoyment it brings. Inspiring and illuminating, What to Read and Why includes selections culled from Prose's previous essays, reviews, and introductions, combined with new, never-before-published pieces that focus on her favorite works of fiction and nonfiction, on works by masters of the short story, and even on books by photographers like Diane Arbus.

Prose considers why the works of literary masters such as Mary Shelley, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Jane Austen have endured, and shares intriguing insights about modern authors whose words stimulate our minds and enlarge our lives, including Roberto Bolaño, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Jennifer Egan, and Mohsin Hamid. Prose implores us to read Mavis Gallant for her marvelously rich and compact sentences, and her meticulously rendered characters who reveal our flawed and complex human nature; Edward St. Aubyn for his elegance and sophisticated humor; and Mark Strand for his gift for depicting unlikely transformations. Here, too, are original pieces in which Prose explores the craft of writing: "On Clarity" and "What Makes a Short Story."

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Prose's stimulating collection of essays will move readers to pick up, for the first or the 15th time, the books she so enthusiastically recommends." - Publishers Weekly

"A fluent and exacting critic, Prose conducts incisive, stirring readings of works spanning centuries, from George Eliot's Middlemarch to Jennifer Egan's Manhattan Beach…all the while urging readers to enter their own book bubbles and nurture body and soul." - Booklist

"As Prose implores: Drop everything. Start reading. Now." - Kirkus

This information about What to Read and Why shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Francine Prose Author Biography

© Marion Ettinger

Francine Prose is the author of several novels, non-fiction books, and short story collections. She is a Visiting Professor of Literature at Bard College, and was formerly president of PEN American Center, a New York City-based literary society of writers, editors and translators that works to advance literature, defend free expression, and foster international literary fellowship.

She received the PEN Translation Prize in 1988 and received a Guggenheim fellowship in 1991. Prose's novel The Glorious Ones has been adapted into a musical with the same title. Her more recent works include My New American Life (2011), The Turning (2012) and Lovers at the Chameleon Club (2014).

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