Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Book Review -- How Literature Works by John Sutherland


50 key concepts for writing fiction

John Sutherland is a literary critic and columnist for the Guardian. The sub-title of his book is "50 Key Concepts" and it's organized into 50 4-page chapters. Fancy that. I read a couple books a year on writing and occasionally read books on literary criticism. Literary criticism tomes tend to be esoteric and assume the reader already has broad knowledge about the subject. Sutherland's book is concise and written in clear English any layman can understand. I read these books to improve my writing and most of the time I need to wade through lengthy jargon-laced verbiage to find nuggets that are helpful. Sutherland's clarity, short chapters, and headings make this task relatively easy. I find what I'm looking for or move on to the next chapter.

If you're a writer, reader, or like to study literary criticism, How Literature Works is a fun find. Besides, most academic books on the subject require a new mortgage while Sutherland's perfect-bound paperback is only $11 on Amazon. The Kindle version is $9.50.

If you're interested in writing, be sure to check out my Writers and Writing pages on this blog.

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