Prose’s love of classical literature is clear throughout the pages of this well-written and informative guide; as the front cover blurb from USA Today
put it, this book is a “love letter to the pleasures of reading.”
However, it’s also elitist and takes several superior swipes at genre fiction. In her exhortations to readers who want to be writers, Prose does make a compelling case for learning to write by reading classical literature … and reading it slowly, word by word. Her list of “books to be read immediately” combined with the excerpts she included as her examples has added a considerable number of “must-reads” to my already teetering “to –read” pile.
While reading Prose’s well-written guide to writers, I was struck with a sense of someone yearning for a bygone era – an era in which life was slower and more easy-paced, and readers had the leisure time to sit and read 1000- page tomes slowly. For that reason, I found much of the admittedly good advice contained in this book could not apply to me as either a reader or a writer.