What to Read and Why

by Francine Prose

On Sale: 18/06/2018


About the Book

In this brilliant collection, the follow-up to her New York Times bestseller Reading Like a Writer, the distinguished novelist, literary critic, and essayist Francine Prose celebrates the pleasures of reading and pays homage to the works and writers she admires.

In an age defined by hyperconnectivity and constant stimulation, here is a compelling case for the solitary act of reading and the great enjoyment it brings. Inspiring and illuminating, What to Read and Why includes selections culled from Prose's previous essays, reviews, and introductions, combined with new, never-before-published pieces that focus on her favorite works of fiction and nonfiction, on works by masters of the short story, and even on books by photographers such as Diane Arbus.

Prose considers why the works of literary masters such as Mary Shelley, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Jane Austen have endured, and shares intriguing insights about modern authors whose words stimulate our minds and enlarge our lives, including Roberto Bolaño, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Jennifer Egan, and Mohsin Hamid. Prose implores us to read Mavis Gallant for her marvelously rich and compact sentences and her meticulously rendered characters who reveal our flawed and complex human nature; Edward St. Aubyn for his elegance and sophisticated humor; and Mark Strand for his gift for depicting unlikely transformations. Here, too, are original pieces in which Prose explores the craft of writing: “On Clarity” and “10 Things Art Can Do.”

Written with sharp critical analysis, wit, and enthusiasm, What to Read and Why is a celebration of literature that will give readers a new appreciation for the power and beauty of the written word.

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062397867
  • ISBN 10: 0062397869
  • Imprint: HarperCollins - US
  • On Sale: 18/06/2018
  • Pages: 336
  • List Price: 39.99 AUD
  • BISAC1: Literature & literary studies / Literature: history & criticism


Francine Prose is the author of twenty-one works of fiction including, most recently, the highly acclaimed novel, MISTER MONKEY, and the New York Times bestselling novel, LOVERS AT THE CHAMELEON CLUB, PARIS 1932. Her novel A CHANGED MAN won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and BLUE ANGEL was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her works of nonfiction include the highly praised ANNE FRANK: THE BOOK, THE LIFE, THE AFTERLIFE, and the New York Times bestseller READING LIKE A WRITER, which has become a classic. The recipient of numerous grants and honors, including a Guggenheim and a Fulbright, a Director's Fellow at the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, Francine Prose is a former president of PEN American Center, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She lives in New York City.

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