Rating: 3/5 stars.
I love reading books about books. How to Read Novels Like a Professor has excited me and made me more enthusiastic to start my next novel. For those who do not have much experience in learning about what constitutes a novel – for example, I’m only a high school student – Foster’s book would be a great place to begin. He provides a fantastic list of rules (which you can find in this review) and uses a wide array of examples from novels published decades apart.
However, because I have already read his book How to Read Literature Like a Professor, I felt that I already knew and was rereading some of the sections in this book. It makes sense because literature and novels are bound to share some qualities, but the idea of intertextuality as well as there being only “one story” did not impress me. Intellectually they do, but I would have enjoyed reading about them more if I hadn’t already done so in one of Foster’s other works.
Overall, this is a well-written guide that many will find useful. Perhaps I’ll reference it sometime later on in my senior year or while I’m in college. Foster’s engaged tone and occasional humorous remark makes the information he’s relaying easy to digest, and much better than reading a textbook on the same subjects.