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812243,712 (4.14)2
"These lectures demonstrate how to read fiction carefully for full enjoyment. The lectures begin with basic concepts from simpler stories before progressing into books famous for their complexity. The lectures explain literary devices such as irony and foreshadowing and show how skilled authors have used such devices to great effect in classic works of literature." -- P. [4] of guidebook cover.… (more)



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The Art of Reading is a lectures series from Great Courses. The author is an English professor at Lawrence University.

The series discusses how to get more out of a book. It is divided into two parts, the first half examines different aspects of literature and compares works with different styles. The second half looks at works of literature using the techniques from the first half to offer more insight into the works.

The author discusses styles of narration, descriptions, and the use of plot devices to develop the story. He provides clues to recognize different styles and compares works using these styles. He does the same for plot and characters. He discusses the role of the author and his relationship to the narrator and how to "preread" a book to prepare for the reading.

Most of the second half of the book discusses specific works of fiction and how to analyze them using the provided tools. He also discusses related items such as how a book is translated into a movie and why they differ so much, as well as dialog, the use of irony, and rhythm.

I found the series enjoyable and enlightening. Maybe I can get a little more out of reading in the future. ( )
1 vote Nodosaurus | Aug 26, 2012 |
Face it. We are here on Goodreads because we love to read. Given that I spend much of my free time (as well as much of my not so free time) reading or listening to books, I selected this lecture series from The Teaching Company hoping to pick up some tips on how to better understand stories. This course amazed me. In 24 lectures, Professor Timothy Spurgin presents different tools on how to read more deeply and analyze stories. From setting, characters, plot, chapter organization, conclusions and more, this book provides insight on how books are written and can be better analyzed and appreciated. Although, this might sound a bit dry, Professor Spurgin is energetic and inserts humor and excitement into his lectures. He provides many different examples of short stories and novel excerpts and discusses them with such enthusiasm that I felt like reading all of them. If he ever tires of being an inspiring teacher, he should consider a job in a book store - he could sell any title. I found that the few examples he selected that I really disliked (Coetzee's novel Disgrace is one) were described in such a compelling manner that I want to reread them, using my newly discovered tool set and see if my opinion changes. If you love to read, or want to read more deeply, or even want to write, you will learn something from this course. Highly recommended!! ( )
1 vote jmoncton | May 23, 2012 |
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24 Lectures in 2 parts
1Artful Reading and Everyday Reading
2Authors, Real and Implied
3Narrators—Their Voices and Their Visions
4Characters—Beyond Round and Flat
5Descriptions—People, Places, and Things
6Minimalists to Maximalists to Lyricists
7Explosive Devices—Irony and Ambiguity
8Reading for the Plot—Five Simple Words
9Master Plots—The Stranger and the Journey
10The Game Is Afoot—Sherlock Holmes
11The Plot Thickens—Scott and Brontë
12The Plot Vanishes—Faulkner and Woolf
13Chapters, Patterns, and Rhythms
14Scene and Summary, Showing and Telling
15Subtexts, Motives, and Secrets
16Dialogue—The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
17Metafiction—Fiction about Fiction
18Adaptation—From Fiction to Film
19Realism Times Four
20Thumbs Up?—Interpretation and Evaluation
21A Long Short Story—"Runaway"
22A Classic Novel—The Age of Innocence
23A Baggy Monster—War and Peace
24Picking Up the Tools
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