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13 Ways of Looking at the Novel - Jane Smiley
13 Ways of Looking at the Novel
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4.00 55
Over an extraordinary twenty-year career, Jane Smiley has written all kinds of novels: mystery, comedy, historical fiction, epic. “Is there anything Jane Smiley cannot do?” raves Time magazine. But in the wake of 9/11, Smiley faltered in her hitherto unflagging impulse to write and decided to... show more
Over an extraordinary twenty-year career, Jane Smiley has written all kinds of novels: mystery, comedy, historical fiction, epic. “Is there anything Jane Smiley cannot do?” raves Time magazine. But in the wake of 9/11, Smiley faltered in her hitherto unflagging impulse to write and decided to approach novels from a different angle: she read one hundred of them, from classics such as the thousand-year-old Tale of Genji to recent fiction by Zadie Smith, Nicholson Baker, and Alice Munro.Smiley explores–as no novelist has before her–the unparalleled intimacy of reading, why a novel succeeds (or doesn’t), and how the novel has changed over time. She describes a novelist as “right on the cusp between someone who knows everything and someone who knows nothing,” yet whose “job and ambition is to develop a theory of how it feels to be alive.” In her inimitable style–exuberant, candid, opinionated–Smiley invites us behind the scenes of novel-writing, sharing her own habits and spilling the secrets of her craft. She walks us step-by-step through the publication of her most recent novel, Good Faith, and, in two vital chapters on how to write “a novel of your own,” offers priceless advice to aspiring authors.  Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel may amount to a peculiar form of autobiography. We see Smiley reading in bed with a chocolate bar; mulling over plot twists while cooking dinner for her family; even, at the age of twelve, devouring Sherlock Holmes mysteries, which she later realized were among her earliest literary models for plot and character.And in an exhilarating conclusion, Smiley considers individually the one hundred books she read, from Don Quixote to Lolita to Atonement, presenting her own insights and often controversial opinions. In its scope and gleeful eclecticism, her reading list is one of the most compelling–and surprising–ever assembled. Engaging, wise, sometimes irreverent, Thirteen Ways is essential reading for anyone who has ever escaped into the pages of a novel or, for that matter, wanted to write one. In Smiley’s own words, ones she found herself turning to over the course of her journey: “Read this. I bet you’ll like it.”
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Format: hardcover
ISBN: 9781400040599 (1400040590)
ASIN: 1400040590
Publisher: Knopf
Pages no: 608
Edition language: English
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Community Reviews
UNICORN PORN FOR ALL
UNICORN PORN FOR ALL rated it
5.0
How funny, I haven't added this book. I've been reading it for like three years now. It's terrific. Smiley's take on the 100 novels she reads don't always agree with mine, but they often do - and they're always clear-eyed, unsentimental and very smart. It's pretty fun to finish a classic, think "Man...
Mining the Depths
Mining the Depths rated it
4.0
I think I may have to buy this book.I didn't *love* it, but it's an academic book, and dense, and there's a lot I want to review. However long it's been on my "currently reading" list, it didn't actually take me 7 months to read. But the library kept taking it back, and it wasn't something meant to ...
Amadan na Briona
Amadan na Briona rated it
5.0 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel
Books about books can be interesting or deadly dull, and books with one author's arbitrary list of "100 books I think you should read" can likewise be great when they convince you to add a few to your TBR shelf, or annoying when you find yourself saying "Come on — a list full of obscure 19th century...
immediacy
immediacy rated it
4.0 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel
One of the ways to consider this unusual book by Pulitzer-prize winning author Smiley is as an instruction book. I purchased this because it came up as a featured selection of the Writer's Digest Book Club, and its as good a book regarding the process of writing a novel as any I've read, and better ...
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