Review Detail

Young Adult Nonfiction 1293
A Literary Guide
Overall rating 
 
3.5
Writing Style 
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
4.0
Pace yourself! Reading this primer is a bit like taking a college-level literature class. Or perhaps an entire semester worth of literature classes…

Acknowledging that storytelling is as old as humanity itself, The Literature Book takes on the daunting challenge of giving readers a historical and functional overview of literary works and their progression through the ages. The book starts with 4,600-year-old Sumerian texts and carries all the way up to select contemporary works as recent as 2013—encompassing novels, plays, and poetry. Its presentation style is sometimes dry, but orderly in format and highly informative.

--------
What I Liked:

There was a solid effort made to present a diverse array of works outside of the classical European variety—inclusive of cultural sub-genres such as Sanskrit Epics, Imperial Chinese Poetry, Early Arabic Lit, Slave Narratives, Inianismo, Baihua Lit, The Harlem Renaissance, The Latin American Boom, Caribbean, and Indian English.

Personal Note: Page 93 conveyed an excellent, concise explanation of early Japanese theater forms. This reader didn't previously grasp the difference between Kabuki(theatrical song/dance/mime) and Bunraku(musical puppet theater) until it was so clearly laid out in this book.

The Literature Book claims it “cuts through the literary jargon” and is “packed with witty illustrations.” I don’t know about cutting through, but it does explain literary terms with textbook thoroughness. And although there is certainly an abundance of illustrations to break up the sometimes dense visual field, I wouldn’t personally refer to said imagery as “witty.” The diagrams, visual-aid images, excised quotes, and timelines are simplistic—mono and duo-chromatic. Effectively breaking up dense swaths of text and enhancing to the overall comprehension potential without becoming a distraction. Full-color pictures and artwork appear more sporadically and offer a stronger sense of place and/or ambiance to the subjects they pertain to.

What Didn’t Work For Me:

Chosen works may receive only a sentence of passing mention, or as much as 6 analytical pages (i.e. Moby-Dick). The authors receive anything from cursory reference, to a mini-bio, to a full biography including a picture. How it was decided which authors, genres, and works were worthy of how much recognition remains a point of confusion for this reader. Sci-fi and Fantasy seemed to receive disproportionately minimal attention, and the Romance genre—along with its representative authors—received no address at all.

Unfortunately, a number of prolific and influential authors were all but passed over. I was personally disappointed the book didn't offer a bio for either C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien. Their works seemed mentioned only in passing when the fantasy genre is touched on. Lewis is only referred to once very briefly, and there's no allusion to his sci-fi works at all. Jules Verne receives the most mention of any sci-fi author (page 184), but no bio. And H.G. Wells is allotted only a single sentence—though he could arguably be considered one of the pioneering fathers of science fiction.

Conversely, TWO of the three Bronte sisters (Emily and Charlotte) have full bios with pictures included, though Emily wrote just one novel. That’s not to say I don’t approve of their inclusion and highlighted significance—only to point out the disparity in emphasis.
-----

While I wouldn’t call this book an exhaustive authority, it certainly has the potential to be a valuable and semi-encyclopedic tool in the pursuit of a more advanced literary education. Studious readers are likely to come away with both factual knowledge, as well as a fresh list of works they may be interested in experiencing at length.

College-bound Young Adults perusing a major in literature might consider this book a preparatory framework for their degree, and perhaps a leg-up on their future.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

Latest Book Listings Added

Jackaby
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in...
Gutter Girl (Twin River High, #1)
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Star football player Jace Rovers has a secret. And not...
The Last Fallen Star (Gifted Clans, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Riley Oh can't wait to see her sister get initiated...
Take Me Home: Forests of the World
 
5.0
 
5.0 (1)
Bite-sized facts about forests from around the globe, pointing out...
Hurricane Summer
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
In this sweeping debut, Asha Bromfield takes readers to the...
All Kinds of Other
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
In this tender, nuanced coming-of-age love story, two boys—one who...
Reign of Secrets
 
3.8
 
0.0 (0)
At the Midnight Ball, leave your inhibitions at the...
The Forest of Stolen Girls
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
1426, Joseon (Korea). Hwani's family has never been the...
Go the Distance
 
4.5 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
What if Meg had to become a god? After...
In Deeper Waters
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
A young prince must rely on a mysterious stranger...
These Feathered Flames (These Feathered Flames, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
When twin heirs are born in Tourin, their fates...
Take Me Home: Waters of the World
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Bite-sized facts about bodies of water from around the globe,...
This Is My America
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Hate U Give meets Just Mercy in this unflinching...
Colors in Nature
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Magnificent, hand-painted illustrations by a rising star of Czech watercolor...
Welcome to Arizona
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Welcome to Arizona! We're glad you're here! Introducing a new...
I Don't Want to Go to School
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
It's Mouse's first day of school. It's Dinosaur's first day...

Latest Member Reviews

Fate Calling
 
5.0
"Fate Calling by Lindsay Grace is a beautifully written fae fantasy about a young human girl named Aislinn and a..."
Reign of Secrets
 
3.8
"What worked: The magical aspect of this book had me turning pages quickly. It was easy to read and..."
The Lightbringer: Through the Elder Stone
 
5.0
"The Lightbringer plays on that classic trope of light vs dark, but in a fresh way with unheard of magical..."
Fate Calling
 
5.0
"When Aislinn and Catriona are taken into the fae realm, their fate falls into the hands of a broody prince/rightful..."
With Shield and Ink and Bone
 
4.8
"The story: A Viking, Liv has earned her shield and is set to take her place as a shield..."
With Shield and Ink and Bone
 
4.5
"For those who can't get enough of Vikings, Norse Mythology, and kick-butt female leads, this one is for you. ..."
The First Holidays
 
5.0
"This short story is perfect for people who loved The Last Summer and for those excited for The Final Chance...."
My Best Friend Prince Charming
 
4.5
"‘My Best Friend Prince Charming’ by Cindy Ray Hale tells the story of Ryker and Shannon, two best friends who..."
The Fire in the Glass
 
4.7
"Lily can see the future and when she sees her friend killed, she tries to save her. Lily is an..."
Anchored
 
5.0
"Unlike anything I've read before. The Story: Alora is of two worlds. During her..."
The Curse of Jenny Greene
 
5.0
"I should start by saying The Curse of Jenny Greene is far from my normal genre preferences. I’m not usually..."
Emmie and the Tudor Queen
 
4.5
"This sequel resolved a lot of questions I had that weren’t answered in the first book like where did the..."
The Reclaimed Kingdom (The Syphon Series, Book 1)
 
5.0
"I’m a new fan of Dana Claire as I recently read “The Connection” and loved it. While I eagerly..."
Sleeping Beauty's Spindle
 
4.0
"Briar Rose hasn't had any easy life. After losing her parents, she's struggling to keep her siblings together as a..."
The First Holidays
 
5.0
"A sweet and perfect novella to go with this series. The Story: Four best..."
The Connection
 
4.8
"I’ll cut to the chase before I delve into a more detailed review; I loved this book! I binge-read The..."
The Parkour Club
 
5.0
" The Parkour Club is a rollicking good read! Bronte’s journey to find her place in the world..."
The Forgotten World (The World Apart Series Book 3)
 
5.0
"I don't know how this series keeps getting better, but it does. This third book is just... so much happens..."
The Tempest Sea
 
5.0
"This book... oof. It hurt. But if you know me at all, you know my favorite books are the kind..."
The Fractured Empire
 
5.0
"This book grabbed me from the very beginning, throwing me into this beautifully-crafted, intriguing new world. The plot is fast-paced..."