What to Read and Why by Francine Prose

What to Read and Why

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 Bolaño.In an age defined by hyper-connectivity and constant stimulation, Francine Prose makes a compelling case for th...

Details What to Read and Why

TitleWhat to Read and Why
Release DateJul 3rd, 2018
GenreWriting, Books About Books, Nonfiction, Language, Essays, Criticism, Literary Criticism

Reviews What to Read and Why

  • Diane Barnes
    Essays about books, reading, and authors. Some I have read, some I haven't but choose not to, and others were added to my tbr. Which is the whole point of reading books like this. I did appreciate the background information on the authors.
  • Melissa
    For comparison, I LOVE 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 capture the feel of Reading Like a Writer - "On Clarity" and "What Makes a Short Story?" - but these come at the end of the book, so too little, too late. Skip this one, unless you die hard ...
  • Lissa
    I have discovered that no other writer displays an inextinguishable passion for reading and books like Francine Prose.  The level of close reading she undertakes in order to really absorb a work of literature is inspiring and a joy itself to read.  As she explains in her introduction, this collection is a mix of book reviews, introductions to classics and various relevant essays.  Many authors were familiar but many more were added to my eve...
  • Kirsti
    I should have paid attention to the Goodreads reviews. I found this well-written but dreary. It didn't inspire me to read any of the authors mentioned. For books about reading, I will stick with Anne Fadiman from now on.
  • Dave
    I think I like Prose' fiction better, but this is another gem like Reading Like A Writer. My favorite chapters were on Complimentary Toilet Paper, Lolita, and Mavis Gallant. I am reading all those authors now. I like when she was able to related her own works like Blue Angel and A Changed Man to the other works and the writing process.
  • Aryssa
    Has some really good essays but a lot of ones that don’t resonate at all if you haven’t read the book or even heard of it. The Nabokov essay is fascinating
    As far as I am concerned, very few thing are better than books about books, mostly because if you know th title you are going to learn something more about it, if you don't, you have a new book for your to read list. In this case there are many authors I didn't know and the other were mostly the one I like already so it was a real pleasure.Per quanto mi riguarda, poche cose sono belle come i libri che parlano di libri, sia perché se giá li cons...
  • Peg Schoenfelder
    I confess I haven't finished this yet but was so entranced with the paper book I ordered it as an audiobook. She provides such interesting insight into many classic authors that it makes you want to read every one of them.
  • Liz
    This is a random collection of essays on writers, books and various aspects of literature that lacks structure and cohesiveness. Prose offers no rationale for her selections and very little explanation as to why we should read them. I was very inspired by her previous book, Reading Like a Writer, but sadly this one was a letdown.
  • Steven
    This book was not what I expected and was a hard read for me. I kept putting the book down, but I hung in there. By persevering through the prose I came across some glittering ideas. I am glad I hung in there.
  • Denise
    The concept is very promising, so I was excited about the book. To me it read like required reading in school though.
  • Jenny Baker
    I was so excited when I heard Francine Prose had a new book releasing this year. I loved her book Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them so much that I bought a copy for my home library. This wasn't quite as good, but I enjoyed her insight on some of the authors. My favorite chapters were the ones on Charles Dickens and Jane Austen, and I took a lot of notes from those chapters. Aspiring writ...
  • Lisa
    I will fully admit to skipping around this book and not finishing all of the essays. What to Read and Why is a collection of literary criticism essays so I chose to read only the ones about books I had read or were interested in reading. The ones I read were fantastic though! Francine Prose writes with accessible style and I wish I had more of these when writing English essays. I added quite a bit to my reading list and learned a lot about some o...
  • Ruth
    We have different taste in books.
  • Julie
    A perfect book to read on National Book Lover's Day. Prose delves deeply into a number of books of literature, many which I have read, but many more to add to my to be read list.