I got James Wood, “How Fiction Works” on the way from my public library, because of this article.
10 great books for literature-lovers, from surveys of English literature to treasure-troves of trivia
Christopher Booker, The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories. A monumental, weighty tome that shows how all fictional narratives from folk tales to novels and films follow essentially seven basic plot forms, such as ‘overcoming the monster’ (Beowulf, Jaws). Riddled with typos, but if you can put up with them, this book is illuminating and entertaining.
Gary Dexter, Title Deeds: The Hidden Stories behind 50 Books. An engaging book full of fascinating information about some of the world’s classic books, and the stories behind how they came to be called what they’re called.
Gary Dexter, Why Not Catch-21? This is an earlier book on the same theme as Title Deeds and just as much fun.
B. Ifor Evans, A Short History of English Literature. Now sadly out of print, this delightful little Pelican paperback…
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