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What to Read and Why
What to Read and Why | Francine Prose
14 posts | 4 read | 10 to read
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 Bolao. 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 Proses 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 Bolao, 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." 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.
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awishman
What to Read and Why | Francine Prose

Do you plan what you read ahead of time? How? I'm interested in people's processes.

hes7 Library due dates generally help me figure out what to read next. 😂 2mo
Jaimelire I am mostly a “mood” reader. Some weeks I feel like a cozy mystery, sometime some sci-fi and once in a while I need a good historical fiction novel. Kind of like food binges, but with books! 2mo
LaurenELovesToRead I have a pile of to be reads organised into the order I‘m going to read them usually in order of when I brought them so if I‘ve bought it last I‘ll read it last. Although there are some points where a really good book comes out and I put it on the top of the pile instead of at the bottom because I‘m just too excited and can‘t wait! 2mo
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sprainedbrain Yes and no... I like to do a few reading challenges every year, and I plan the books for them using my ridiculous tbr. Near the end of each month, I pick a bunch from that last and from other newer books that have struck my fancy and make a list of what to read the following month. Then I just pick what to read based on how I feel and library holds. 😊 2mo
awishman @hes7And then the pressure when ALL the holds come in at once! 2mo
awishman @Jaimelire That makes sense. I've always had a system, but lately I've been following my bliss. 2mo
awishman @LaurenELovesToRead That makes sense. I tried to read a lot of books I'd bought this year with mixed results. 2mo
awishman @sprainedbrain That is kind of similar to what I've done before, especially if I'm doing reading challenges. 2mo
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vivastory
What to Read and Why | Francine Prose
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kathedron Are gym and library memberships mutually exclusive, then? I must have missed that memo. I have a gym membership AND a library card and get good use out of both! Just saying. 😉 6mo
55 likes1 comment
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SharonGoforth
What to Read and Why | Francine Prose
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Vacation day - sitting in the cafe at Barnes & Noble enjoying a treat and the Winter 2019 issue of Lapham‘s Quarterly. Tagged book is by Francine Prose, one of the contributors in this issue. 📚☕️

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staci.reads
What to Read and Why | Francine Prose
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School is cancelled today and tomorrow for the ridiculous wind chills, so I'm probably not moving from this spot for the next 48 hours 🔥. I'll be finishing up The Heart's Invisible Furies soon, but I'm having trouble choosing where to go next. What advice can you give, Littens? #isthisthenorthpole?

Lcsmcat You can‘t go wrong with 10mo
Mitch This might make you feel warm...... 10mo
Marilyncjackson We still have to work 😐 we have people that have to work outside and they say you can get frostbite in 5mins. This book always makes me feel warm and stuffy —> 10mo
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TheWordJar Behold the Dreamers! ❤️ 10mo
BarbaraBB I loved The Crawdads but maybe in between two of those great books, The Dry will fit in nicely! 10mo
Librarybelle So many good options! I‘d recommend The Dry. 10mo
LapReader As an Aussie I recommend The Dry. It‘s a quick read. 10mo
gradcat I quite liked The Dry...but I don‘t think it was a quick read for me. Maybe I‘m just really slow...😌 10mo
melsimpson Where the Crawdads Sing is one of my all time favourite books. It's beautiful and heart-shattering. I love it ❤📚 10mo
69 likes9 comments
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BookishGirl06
What to Read and Why | Francine Prose
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So I recently read Shadow of the Fox recently, and I loved it. It‘s also the only book by Julie Kagawa I‘ve actually read. I was thinking about starting Talon or the iron fey series while I wait for the sequel to SOTF. Any recommendations as to which one?

UnabridgedPod I enjoyed The Iron Fey series but haven‘t read the others, so no fair comparison here! 12mo
BookishGirl06 @Unabridged no problem. I have a feeling it‘ll be iron fey but we‘ll see lol. I‘m definitely going to read both of them (edited) 12mo
VeganCleopatra I enjoyed the Iron Fey series, haven't read the other. (edited) 12mo
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Christinak The iron fey series was a favorite if my daughters! I enjoyed the immortal rules. I am sure anything by her will be goods 12mo
booksandsympathy I loved the Iron Fey series, but haven't read her others. 12mo
kezzlou85 I enjoyed the talon series though haven't read the last one yet as it wasn't out when I read the others. 12mo
75 likes6 comments
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IndyHannaJones
What to Read and Why | Francine Prose

Alright gang...what am I reading next? I just finished a fairy tale with Jewish and Russian roots.

Jen2 The Library Boo by Susan Orlean! 12mo
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Vik
What to Read and Why | Francine Prose

Hello Litsy, I still don't know you very well, but I was wondering if you could help me out and suggest some books. Books you loved, books you got lost in. I have been stuck in a rut for way too long and I'm trying to give this app a proper go now!

glitterkitty459 Hi! What kind of books do you usually like? I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy, also lately trying to catch up on some classics. I'm reading Gone with the Wind right now 😁 1y
Shemac77 I really enjoyed Prodigal Summer. Karin Slaughter is always a page turner (for me). 1y
Vik I read a lot of 'literary fiction' and I'm usually looking for humour, strong female characters and poetic language. I also love reading detective and crime fiction, and I devour non-fiction about psychology or politics. I want to get out of my comfort zone and read more sci-fi and fantasy, though (hi @glitterkitty459 😊)! 1y
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glitterkitty459 My recommendation for a good fantasy would be The Queen of the Tearling (there's three books in that series) and then the Red Rising series by Pierce Brown for sci-fi 😊 Also do you have any nonfiction you'd recommend? I don't read a lot of nonfiction but I'd like to! 😁 1y
scripturient If you want a cool fantasy/fairy tale story, maybe you can try: 1y
scripturient Another book I recently loved reading was Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. That‘s not fantasy though. ;) How about some Gaiman?? 1y
Vik @glitterkitty459 I just read the summary of Queen of the Tearling and it sounds like a story I want to read right now -- princess turning into queen! The last book of non-fiction I really enjoyed was The Antidote by Oliver Burkeman. He has some interesting things to say about happiness and how (not) to achieve it 1y
Vik @scripturient That all looks pretty spot on, fantasy or not! I trust your recommendations cause all the books in your 'Intro to British lit' (oh god, was that the name of the course? @Heideschrampf ) were really good! I kept all the copies 1y
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Jen2
What to Read and Why | Francine Prose
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Pickpick

Books about books are the best books!

Megara Yes! I love books about books! 1y
LittlePixels I love this! 1y
cherinium This is a favorite quote of mine. Tyrion, right? 1y
121 likes3 comments
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DreeMorris
What to Read and Why | Francine Prose
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I loved all of these books! And I am itching to read a big book. Something current (but it doesn‘t have to be a new release). Help a girl out—what big book do you recommend? As is fairly obvious based on the above, I tend to like historical fiction/family sagas. But Capital is not historical, but does have lots of characters with various stories. Suggest me a book, and why you think I might like it! Pretty please 📖📖👍🏼👍🏼

BarbaraBB Based on The Night Ocean and The Luminaries (which I both loved too), the tagged one comes to mind! 1y
Tamra Lonesome Dove - a saga with memorable characters to fall in love with. 1y
Tamra @BarbaraBB great suggestion! 1y
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arubabookwoman #TheOverstory by Richard Powers-it‘s on the Booker Long List too. 1y
batsy I'm reading tagged book right now. It's about 400 pages and requires some effort at first for those of us who are not familiar with Filipino culture, but it's a sprawling book with a big heart, if that makes sense :) 1y
Lcsmcat The tagged book is sold as two volumes in print but one (very) long eBook. Over 1000 pages, but otherwise what I would consider a “fast” read. It‘s got humor as well as deep moments. 1y
DreeMorris @BarbaraBB I have read The Woman in White! And I did like it. I went on a big Collins binge many years ago because I liked his books so much! 1y
DreeMorris @Tamra I have not read Lonesome Dove, but it‘s on my tbr. Excellent suggestion, it feels like a hole in my reading! 1y
DreeMorris @arubabookwoman I just reserved several books from the long list at my library! That wasn‘t one, I only made it halfway through the list. I will have to add myself to the queue for that one too. It sounds interesting! 1y
DreeMorris @batsy that one is on my Goodreads tbr, I‘ll watch for your review! 1y
DreeMorris @Lcsmcat you named one I have never heard of! And it sounds great. I‘ll be checking my library system for it. 1y
DreeMorris Suggestions are still welcome! 1y
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Worldforreading
What to Read and Why | Francine Prose
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Success! #24in48

Whimsical.Curiosity Congrats! 🎉🎉 1y
Reviewsbylola Damn, you went hard! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 1y
BarbaraTheBibliophage Great job!! 🎉👏🏻🎉👏🏻🎉👏🏻 1y
Linsy Love your profile pic! 14mo
32 likes4 comments
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Lissa00
What to Read and Why | Francine Prose
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Pickpick

No one conveys the passion for books and reading quite like Francine Prose. This should be read slowly but I truly loved every word.

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Lissa00
What to Read and Why | Francine Prose
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I forgot to share this last week but I received this early copy last week and have never been so excited about a book (released 7/3)! As you can tell by the background books, I have a nerdy obsession with books about books and reading📚🤓. I plan on starting this tonight.

Thanks so much @HarperCollins

Craftylikefox I am curious what you think of it! It sounds interesting! 1y
Lissa00 @Craftylikefox I‘ll make sure to post my thoughts on it! 1y
Lissa00 @batsy I like the one too, which is why I‘m excited about this one:) 1y
107 likes3 stack adds4 comments
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balletbookworm
What to Read and Why | Francine Prose
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I ❤️❤️❤️ Prose's Reading Like a Writer but What to Read and Why is like its pale third cousin. It feels like a random collection of essays, which aren't particularly compelling or intersectional, and the "why" part is pretty vague. Two chapters are good - "On Clarity" and "What Makes a Short Story?" - but these come at the end of the book. Too little, too late. Skip this, unless you die hard on the hill of "Books about Books" then borrow.

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balletbookworm
What to Read and Why | Francine Prose
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Possibly...but this also discounts the flip side that e-reading has no covers advertising what you are reading. So you can escape the judgy-pants on the bus while reading your erotica.