The Art of X-Ray Reading: How the Secrets of 25 Great Works of Literature Will Improve Your Writing

Roy Peter Clark. Little, Brown, $25 (336p) ISBN 978-0-316-28217-8
In this collection of literary case studies, Clark (How to Write Short) dispenses warm and witty advice on how to uncover hidden layers of meaning in classic and contemporary literature. Clark moves through his close readings expertly and rapidly, often beginning with his personal history; for instance, he admits that The Great Gatsby was lost on him at first, though it won him over on successive readings. Clark’s enthusiasm and expertise could seduce any reader to read (or reread) a text. Clark has assembled a diverse canon, including works as ancient as The Canterbury Tales and as recent as Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad. At the conclusion, he gives readers the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned to a series of standalone excerpts from the books he’s mentioned, giving his own interpretations on the back of the page. This is an infectiously enthusiastic guide to becoming an active reader, an homage to the wealth of meaning in great literature, and a striking demonstration of how that meaning can be transmitted from author to reader across centuries and oceans. Agent: Jane Dystel, Dystel & Goderich. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/05/2015
Release date: 01/26/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-316-28216-1
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-316-28214-7
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