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13 Ways of Looking at the Novel by Jane…

13 Ways of Looking at the Novel (edition 2006)

by Jane Smiley (Author)

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7552117,582 (3.65)48
Title:13 Ways of Looking at the Novel
Authors:Jane Smiley (Author)
Info:Anchor (2006), Edition: Reprint, 608 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Tags:non-fiction, books about books, criticism, essays, writing, tbr, signed by author

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Thirteen ways of looking at the novel by Jane Smiley



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Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Quite disappointing. ( )
  Tatoosh | Apr 6, 2017 |
I read the introduction and thoroughly skimmed the 101 snapshots. ?I have no idea why one would care about Smiley's musings on either novels in general, or on the 100 novels she read, unless one were a huge fan of the author and wanted to read everything she wrote. ?áOtherwise this seems like self-absorbed claptrap, as the saying goes. ?áI have not managed to read anything by Smiley, even though I have tried a couple of times. ?áI've also read, erm, maybe 4 of the books in that 101 list... and her notes did not encourage me to read any others. ?áMy one-word reaction: :gag:"

ymmv" ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 5, 2016 |
It's not easy reading but is useful for English majors who want a refresher so they don't forget everything they learned. It was long and her review of essential novels starts at the half way mark of the book. The novels she chose are straight from my undergrad syllabus. It was nice to get another take on their significance and to hear her intelligent analysis. ( )
  Atsa | May 31, 2013 |
The first 7 or 8 chapters were good or great, so I was willing to continue reading through the strange mix of book report and diary that the final "ways of looking at a novel" encompassed. By the 13th, though, I really didn't care about and in some ways actively disliked the author's point of view. I didn't venture into the summaries of 100 novels that followed. ( )
  breakerfallen | Apr 4, 2013 |
I think I may have to buy this book.

I didn't *love* it, but it's an academic book, and dense, and there's a lot I want to review.

However long it's been on my "currently reading" list, it didn't actually take me 7 months to read. But the library kept taking it back, and it wasn't something meant to read in one sitting.

Smiley is insightful and intelligently articulates what she thinks the novel is, which I must admit I don't fully agree with. Nevertheless, she argues well for her position, and though she seems to want to orient novels in more political landscape than I think is always necessary, she is consistent in discussing the novel in her terms, and it doesn't get confusing. I may not always agree, especailly when she discusses her political position, but it never overwhelms the thesis of the book.

However, because she talks politics, when she uses the terms 'liberal' and 'conservative' as literary poles, I don't know what she meant. It unnecessarily confused the issue.

At the very least, I added some 90 books of her list of 101 to my TBR list (just what it needed). And I could use this book on my shelf...it's useful enough to come to again and again. ( )
  MarieAlt | Mar 31, 2013 |
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We are not told of things that happened to specific people exactly as they happened; but the beginning is when there are good things and bad things, things that happen in this life which one never tires of seeing and hearing about, things which one cannot bear not to tell of and must pass on for all generations. If the storyteller wishes to speak well, then he chooses the good things; and if he wishes to hold the reader's attention he chooses bad things, extraordinarily bad things. Good things and bad things alike, they are the things of this world and no other. -- Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
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The end of September is a great time to have a birthday if you want to be a writer.
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"Jane Smiley explores - as no novelist has before - the unparalleled intimacy of reading, why a novel succeeds (or doesn't), and how the novel has changed over time. She describes a novelist as "right on the cusp between someone who knows everything and someone who knows nothing," yet whose "job and ambition is to develop a theory of how it feels to be alive."" "Smiley invites us behind the scenes of novel-writing, sharing her own habits and spilling the secrets of her craft. She walks us step-by-step through the publication of her most recent novel, Good Faith, and, in two chapters on how to write "a novel of your own," offers advice to aspiring writers.""And in the conclusion, Smiley considers individually the one hundred books she read, from Don Quixote to Lolita to Atonement, presenting her own insights and often controversial opinions. Thirteen Ways is essential reading for anyone who has ever escaped into the pages of a novel or, for that matter, wanted to write one."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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