How To Read Literature Like A Professor – Thomas C. Foster: Book Review

Summary:

What does it mean when a fictional hero takes a journey? Shares a meal? Gets drenched in a sudden rain shower? Often, there is much more going on in a novel or poem than is readily visible on the surface — a symbol, maybe, that remains elusive, or an unexpected twist on a character — and there’s that sneaking suspicion that the deeper meaning of a literary text keeps escaping you.

In this practical and amusing guide to literature, Thomas C. Foster shows how easy and gratifying it is to unlock those hidden truths, and to discover a world where a road leads to a quest; a shared meal may signify a communion; and rain, whether cleansing or destructive, is never just rain. Ranging from major themes to literary models, narrative devices, and form, How to Read Literature Like a Professor is the perfect companion for making your reading experience more enriching, satisfying, and fun.

Review:

Rating: 5/5 stars

Thomas C. Foster is your friend and favorite professor rolled into one. How To Read Literature Like A Professor solved a lot of my problems, and I can assure you, it will do the same for you, provided you are reading it for the right reasons.

Firstly, I’d like to mention that this book is used in a lot of colleges/high schools as a legit recommended reading. (LUCKY YOU). In my opinion, every English class in high school or an undergraduate year should use this book to make lives easier. I am not even exaggerating.

I am an English major in my 2nd year of college as an undergraduate, and this book helped A LOT (understatement). But that shouldn’t be a surprise, the book seems to have been written exclusively for English majors. Right? Wrong.

How To Read Literature Like A Professor isn’t only for us poor fellows doomed with a lifetime of overanalyzing. We learn all this in class anyway, albeit not in such a clear and fun way. This book is for anyone who reads. Any bibliophile who would like to really understand a book. You don’t need to be studying Literature to know a book, to read a book properly. This guide book of sorts gives you a completely new and enriched insight to literature.

If you are a student of literature, doing your masters or PhD, this might not be very useful to you. Foster mainly explains key concepts and tricks that help you read literature, and fill in the gaps your high school English teacher or college professor should have filled (They never do. They’ll expect you to know all this magically).

Foster uses a lot of examples in this book, but it shouldn’t be a problem, because (a) the examples are from pretty common books and (b) whenever he mentions a book, he explains the plot and other details so that you can understand the context.

Conclusion:

I highly recommend this book to all book lovers who need a little help to get to know books better. Not only is Foster’s writing witty and fresh, it also motivates you to go and read some books and really understand them.

Happy Reading!

~Sreepurna πŸ’–

Not If I See You First ~ Eric Lindstrom : Book Review

Summary:Β 

Parker Grant doesn’t need perfect vision to see right through you. That’s why she created the Rules: Don’t treat her any differently just because she’s blind and never take advantage. There will be no second chances.Β 

When Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart, suddenly reappears at school, Parker knows there’s only one way to react – shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough to deal with already, like trying out for the track team, handing out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn’t cried since her dad’s death. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible and the more Parker learns about what really happened – both with Scott and her dad – the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem.Β 

Review:Β 

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Things I liked about this book:

● The unique quality : There aren’t many books from the POV of a physically challenged teenager, and this was obviously interesting to read. The writing style was cliche but I like this kind of writing, it was quite captivating.

● The side characters: Gold. Somehow I could relate to a lot of side characters here. Weird.

● Certain parts were very realistic. I like how Parker isn’t really a likable character at first. Even as a whole most characters were very real, people you’d actually meet in your own high school.

● I love that this book focuses on Parker’s entire life rather than her love life specifically. The theme of friendship as depicted in this story is definitely worth reading too.

● The advice-giving sessions conducted by Parker. #RealityCheck πŸ˜‚

Things I didn’t like:

● The ending??! Like what is it with YA contemporary novels and weird endings?

● Scott. I am not sure if I liked him much at all.

Overall:

Comparatively unique YA novel with a well-constructed storyline. I didn’t love the ending, but if you like loose endings where the author leaves things to your own interpretation, this one is for you. Even otherwise, Not If I See You First is worth a read because of its fresh concepts, steady pace and a wonderfully diverse group of characters.

~ Sreepurna

πŸ’œ

After The Fire ~ Will Hill : Book Review // A must-read

I finished reading this book ages back, but couldn’t review it because of exams 😦 Anywho..

Summary:

Father John controls everything inside The Fence. And Father John likes rules. Especially about never talking to Outsiders. Because Father John knows the truth. He knows what is right, and what is wrong. He knows what is coming.

Β 

Moonbeam is starting to doubt, though. She’s starting to see the lies behind Father John’s words. She wants him to be found out.


What if the only way out of the darkness is to light a fire?

Review:
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

The things I have seen. They’re burned into me, like scars that refuse to fade.”

This book gave me major goosebumps.

When I first started reading this, I had NO idea what it was about. But the writing style was engrossing, so I was hooked. By the time I finished it though, I realised it is SO much more than what I initially imagined it to be.

After The Fire has been published as a YA novel, but I feel like that’s a misleading term, to a point. The main character, Moonbeam, is an young adult, but the themes in this books are something that adult audiences shouldn’t miss either.

The storyline, first of all, is very unique, atleast to me. There are of course many novels about cults, but I haven’t read many, and I am sure not many of them are for such a wide range of readers. I am not going to go into the details of the story, which I know is unhelpful, but I don’t want to give anything away.

I loved Moonbeam’s point of view, and the Before- After chapter style. The story was thoroughly chilling, at times horrifying, and throughout intriguing. I had a lot of questions while reading it, but everything was answered in the end, zero loopholes.

The story also involves psychological treatment of a girl who hasn’t known “normal” in a long long time. I am no psychology student, but I think all the processes and results shown in the book were pretty realistic and genuine.Β 

As for the other characters, again I can’t go much into details without giving spoilers, so I suggest you should just read the book. πŸ˜‚Β 

There were definitely negative things about this book. Mainly, it was silghtly repetitive at parts. But my counter argument is that the repetitiveness was required for full effect, all the detailed descriptions of the horrific crimes going on inside the cult were necessary, to prove the point of the story.

However, I would like to mention, this book doesn’t condemn or criticise any religious practices. It talks about an extremist cult, it ultimately boils down to power and corruption and not religious beliefs. It teaches you how powerful and convincing some people can be and also is a story of survival and recovery.

Overall, this book is highly recommended to readers of any genre. It’s dark and moving and entirely captivating. Thanks to the publishers for sending in an ARC, because I would have missed reading this wonderful book otherwise.

~ Sreepurna

πŸ’ž

Perfect (Flawed #2) ~ Cecelia Ahern: Book Review // The year-long wait was worth it!

Summary:

Celestine North is Flawed.

Ever since Judge Crevan declared her the number one threat to the public, she has been a ghost, on the run with Carrick, the only person she can trust.Β 

But Celestine has a secretβ€”one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground. A secret that has already caused countless people to go missing.Β 

Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, Celestine must make a choice: save just herself or risk her life to save all Flawed people.

Review:
Rating – ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2 (4.5/5 stars)

This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017!

The moment I started this book, I got hit by the familiarity of Ahern’s writing style. Flawed was very well-written, but I feel like the writing style was more experimental. However,Perfect started off in a way that’s so typically Cecelia Ahern, it warmed my heart to the very core. Need I gush more about how much I love her writing?

Let’s start with the characters. I adore Celestine and Carrick, but I think this series has really interesting side characters, even the antagonists. I love how, keeping with the spirit of the story, none of the characters are made to seem perfect, or wholly flawed (maybe Judge Crevan though? I HATE HIM). I don’t want to give much away, but there is a character in this book called Lennox, and he is bae. I love what Ahern did with his storyline in the end.Even the really gray and shady characters were interesting to read about, because they had such gripping backstories.

Can we talk about the romance in this book? It satisfied my romancy-hungry heart; BUT I can say for sure that those who don’t like cheesiness will appreciate the story too. There is a love triangle, and though I hate those, it was very very well executed here. I love how Celestine does not merely lose all her feelings for one boy when she falls in love with another. She is conflicted but not in that horrible stringing-you-along way.

This second installment of the duology was perhaps even faster paced than the first. Some parts were horribly shocking, and very emotional. There were chapters which totally changed the whole track unexpectedly, and those were the best.

There were a few tiny details that bugged me though. For example, the plotline was very dependent on the existence of nice people in the world, and Celestine was helped by wayyyyy too many people. There was also this sort of unnecessary stress on symbolism, which gave a nice effect and shine to the story, but was unnecessary all the same.

Overall I thought this series was a really good YA debut. Although the dystopian world is a little overused nowadays, Ahern’s superb storytelling style is unique and worth the read. The series and this book in particular is not only thrilling, it also makes you stop and think about the present world and our obsession with striving to be flawless.

~ Sreepurna

πŸ’œΒ 

The List // Beauty and the Beast Retellings : Readalongs and Reviews (#BATBretellingthoughts)

QOTD: Do you know of any Beauty and The Beast Retellings? Are any of the books I have listed in your TBR?


As promised, here’s the list of Beauty and The Beast retellings that I know of, that I have read or intend to read in the near future.

(Read)

1. Beastly – Alex Flinn: Review coming soon. Also, I intend to watch the movie soon. Because Alex Pettyfer.

2. Lord Of Scoundrels (Scoundrels #3) : Loretta James : Review coming soon. Can be read as a standalone.

3. When Beauty Tamed The Beast (Fairy Tales #2) – Eloisa James : Can be read as a standalone. Review coming soon.

4. A Court Of Thorns And Roses (A Court Of Thorns And Roses #1) – Sarah J. Maas : Who hasn’t read this? I won’t do a normal review, but I might tell you about how this book was a perfect retelling of Beauty and The Beast.

(TBR)

5. Cruel Beauty – Rosamund Hudge : Heard great things. And the cover? Dayum ❀

6. Uprooted – Naomi Novik : Fantasy. And as far I have heard, it has a “whimsical” writing style. Which kinda intimidates me so Idk what to do about this book πŸ˜‚

7. A Rose In Winter – Kathleen E. Woodiwiss : Historical romance I am guessing? I have read Woodiwiss’ novels before. They are entertaining enough but a bit dragging.

8. Beauty – Robin McKinley : Well, now that’s a direct reference to BATB. We’ll see how the story goes πŸ™‚

9. Hunted – Meagan Spooner : This fantasy (?) novel recently came under the spotlight so I am intrigued.

10. Seven Nights In A Rogue’s Bed (Sons of Sin #1) – Anna Campbell : Obviously this is only for readers like me who don’t mind the (more than) occassional trashy romance. Hey, they are delicious okay? No judging.

So let’s go over the rules again:

If you want to join,

1. Review any of these books / Take a picture of it and post it on Instagram if it’s on your TBR

2. Basically let’s just discuss and fangirl and debate.

3. Tag me in the blogpost or the Insta post.

4. If it’s an Insta post, add #BATBretellingthoughts

OR

You can just read the reviews that’ll be coming soon and comment your thoughts and just like the post πŸ˜‚ I don’t ask for much πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Let me know your spoiler free thoughts about any of these books.

~ Sreepurna.

Welcome, welcome // Beauty and the Beast Retellings: Readalong and Reviews (#BATBretellingthoughts)


I have always, always loved the story of this bookish and peculiar yet pretty girl who is imprisoned by the “beast”, a brute with a seemingly cold heart and how these creatures you assume are beasts are not really the beastly ones.

So when the live-action movie came out, I obviously watched it.

And fell in love with the story all over again.

I did some research and came up with a list of Beauty and The Beast retellings that I wanted to read over this month, and perhaps even over this year. So this series will have reviews of retellings of Beauty and The Beast, one book per post, or more if I decide to do shorter reviews.

There will be books from multiple genres and subgenres, such as high fantasy, historical romance, urban fantasy, etc.

I’ll be really happy if any of you want to join me in reading these. You can read the ones I have on my list, or find some other books like these. OR you can post reviews and/or photos of retellings you have already read before. All you have to do is either post about it on Instagram with the hashtag #BATBretellingthoughts OR make a blog post about it where you add a link to this page so that more people know about this.

I’ll be posting a list of books I plan to read if any of you are interested in this whole thing. I hope you are!

I have already read some retellings, I’ll put up reviews of them pretty soon. And if you know of any such books, please let me know in the comments below!

❀

{Follow me on Instagram: @afterthoughts_ }

(Photo credit: Pinterest)

Fragmented Bliss ~ B.J. Rosalind: Book Review // A poetic journey through love, life and healing.

Summary:

A collection of honest musings on the misadventures of life and love, “Fragmented Bliss” embarks readers on a journey to collapse in laughter and tears because that is how galaxies of memories are formed.

Review:

Rating : 4 stars

“People forget that people who can swim drown too”

I generally don’t read poetry collections as a whole, but I am glad I read this one. I was madly in love with B.J. Rosalind’s words from the very first page. Poems can be lyrical, extravagant, full of poetic devices like metaphors and paradoxes, but what struck me about these poems was the sheer honesty in them. It felt like each and every one of them came from the very soul.

None of the writings are very difficult to understand, they are straightforward and impactful, just how I prefer poems to be. I am of course not any expert in poetry, but I believe art is something you need to feel to understand, and I can’t tell you about the technicalities of the poems but I can tell you they made me feel.

My favorite part about the book was the uniqueness of each poem. Even though they are written by one person, the voices and stories felt different and you can see a lot of perspectives, so it is easier to relate to atleast one of them. A lot of the poems are also open-ended, you can interpret them in your own way.

Some of my favorite poems in the collection were Tangled, Elementary School, The Perfect Student, Inevitable, 6 reasons I hate attachments, Four Phases, To Young Girls, etc…… you get the picture? The whole book was pretty amazing, I think I bookmarked most of the pages.

Overall this is a very beautiful debut, and if you are interested in reading poetry or like reading the fantastic ones we see one Tumblr, you should surely give this book a go. I am looking forward to see more of this young author’s work in future.

“Now, go be your own hero.”

Buy this book from AmazonΒ here

~ Sreepurna.