Here are our top ten recommendations if you are looking for the best books to read in Literary Criticism. We have made sure our list is diverse to cater to the interests of different types of readers.
1. The Kitchen God's Wife: A Novel
With the same narrative skills and evocative powers that made her first novel, The Joy Luck Club, a national bestseller, Tan now tells the story of Winnie Louie, an aging Chinese woman unfolding a life's worth of secrets to her suspicious, Americanized daughter.
- Author: Amy Tan
- Publisher: Penguin Books (September 21, 2006)
- Genre: Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction
2. How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines, Revised Edition
A thoroughly revised and updated edition of Thomas C. Foster’s classic guide—a lively and entertaining introduction to literature and literary basics, including symbols, themes and contexts, that shows you how to make your everyday reading experience more rewarding and enjoyable. While many books can be enjoyed for their basic stories, there are often deeper literary meanings interwoven in these texts. How to Read Literature Like a Professor helps us to discover those hidden truths by looking at literature with the eyes—and the literary codes-of the ultimate professional reader, the college professor. What does it mean when a literary hero is traveling along a dusty road? When he hands a drink to his companion? When he’s drenched in a sudden rain shower? Ranging from major themes to literary models, narrative devices and form, Thomas C. Foster provides us with a broad overview of literature—a world where a road leads to a quest, a shared meal may signify a communion, and rain, whether cleansing or destructive, is never just a shower-and shows us how to make our reading experience more enriching, satisfying, and fun. This revised edition includes new chapters, a new preface and epilogue, and incorporates updated teaching points that Foster has developed over the past decade.
- Author: Thomas C Foster
- Publisher: Harper Perennial; 2nd edition (February 25, 2014)
- Genre: Literature & Fiction, History & Criticism
- Dimensions: 1 x 5.2 x 7.9 inches
3. The Great Gatsby: The Original 1925 Edition (A F. Scott Fitzgerald Classic Novel)
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. Set in the Jazz Age on Long Island, the novel depicts narrator Nick Carraway's interactions with mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and Gatsby's obsession to reunite with his former lover, Daisy Buchanan. A youthful romance Fitzgerald had with socialite Ginevra King, and the riotous parties he attended on Long Island's North Shore in 1922 inspired the novel. Following a move to the French Riviera, he completed a rough draft in 1924. He submitted the draft to editor Maxwell Perkins, who persuaded Fitzgerald to revise the work over the following winter. After his revisions, Fitzgerald was satisfied with the text, but remained ambivalent about the book's title and considered several alternatives. The final title he desired was Under the Red, White, and Blue. Painter Francis Cugat's final cover design impressed Fitzgerald who incorporated a visual element from the art into the novel. Gatsby continues to attract popular and scholarly attention. The novel was most recently adapted to film in 2013 by director Baz Luhrmann, while contemporary scholars emphasize the novel's treatment of social class, inherited wealth compared to those who are self-made, race, environmentalism, and its cynical attitude towards the American dream. The Great Gatsby is widely considered to be a literary masterpiece and a contender for the title of the Great American Novel. A True Classic that Belongs on Every Bookshelf!
- Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Publisher: Independently published (April 27, 2021)
- Genre: Literature & Fiction, United States
- ISBN: 979-8745274824
- Dimensions: 6 x 0.25 x 9 inches
4. Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Book club pick for Emma Watson’s Our Shared Shelf • “A deeply spiritual book that honors what is tough, smart and untamed in women.”— The Washington Post Book World Within every woman there lives a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing. She is the Wild Woman, who represents the instinctual nature of women. But she is an endangered species. For though the gifts of wildish nature belong to us at birth, society’s attempt to “civilize” us into rigid roles has muffled the deep, life-giving messages of our own souls. In Women Who Run with the Wolves , Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés unfolds rich intercultural myths, fairy tales, folk tales, and stories, many from her own traditions, in order to help women reconnect with the fierce, healthy, visionary attributes of this instinctual nature. Through the stories and commentaries in this remarkable book, we retrieve, examine, love, and understand the Wild Woman, and hold her against our deep psyches as one who is both magic and medicine. Dr. Estés has created a new lexicon for describing the female psyche. Fertile and life-giving, it is a psychology of women in the truest sense, a knowing of the soul.
- Author: Clarissa Pinkola Estés
- Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reissue edition (November 27, 1996)
- Genre: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Psychology & Counseling
- ISBN: 978-0345409874
- Dimensions: 4.14 x 1 x 6.83 inches
5. The Handmaid's Tale
Now a Hulu Original Series The Handmaid's Tale is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States and is now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men in its population. The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order. In condensed but eloquent prose, by turns cool-eyed, tender, despairing, passionate, and wry, she reveals to us the dark corners behind the establishment’s calm facade, as certain tendencies now in existence are carried to their logical conclusions. The Handmaid's Tale is funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing. It is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and a tour de force. It is Margaret Atwood at her best.
- Author: Margaret Atwood
- Publisher: Mariner Books (February 17, 1986)
- Genre: Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction
6. The Best Part of Me: Children Talk About their Bodies in Pictures and Words
An award-winning photographer asked several children "What is the best part of you?", and presents their answers in this sometimes funny, sometimes moving, deeply personal book that includes striking black-and-white photographs taken by the author. Ideal for parents and teacher to use to discuss body image, self-esteem, and diversity with children.
- Author: Wendy Ewald
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (January 1, 2002)
- Genre: Children's Books, Growing Up & Facts of Life
- ISBN: 978-0316703062
- Dimensions: 10.5 x 0.5 x 10.5 inches
7. Troy: The Greek Myths Reimagined
In this brilliant conclusion to his best-selling Mythos trilogy, legendary author and actor Stephen Fry retells the tale of the Trojan War. Full of tragic heroes, intoxicating love stories, and the unstoppable force of fate, there is no conflict more iconic than the Trojan War. Troy is the story of the epic battle retold by Fry with drama, humor, and vivid emotion. Achilles, Hector, Odysseus, Helen, their lovers, and their mortal enemies all burn bright in Fry's compelling prose. This volume invites you to explore a captivating world with a brilliant storyteller as your guide. Beloved author: Stephen Fry is an icon whose signature wit and mellifluous style makes this retelling utterly unique. Fans will love hearing his interpretation, whether they are familiar with the original Greek myths or not. Timeless Stories: For fans of Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology , Madeline Miller's Circe or Song of Achilles , or Pat Barker's The Silence of the Girls , this is the perfect next great book. These ancient tales never get old. Stunning Series Conclusion: Mythos and Heroes , the first two installments in the trilogy, were international best sellers. Now fans can listen to the thrilling third book.
- Author: Stephen Fry
- Genre: Literature & Fiction, Genre Fiction, Historical, Ancient
8. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT, PEARL, and SIR ORFEO are masterpieces of a remote and exotic age--the age of chivalry and wizards, knights and holy quests. Yet it is only in the unique artistry and imagination of J.R.R. Tolken that the language, romance, and power of these great stories comes to life for modern readers, in this masterful and compelling new translation.
- Author: Terry Jones
- Genre: Literature & Fiction, History & Criticism, Movements & Periods, Medieval
9. Everything You Need to Ace World History in One Big Fat Notebook: The Complete Middle School Study Guide (Big Fat Notebooks)
It’s the revolutionary world history study guide just for middle school students from the brains behind Brain Quest . Everything You Need to Ace World History . . . kicks off with the Paleolithic Era and transports the reader to ancient civilizations—from Africa and beyond; the middle ages across the world; the Renaissance; the age of exploration and colonialism, revolutions, and the modern world and the wars and movements that shaped it. The BIG FAT NOTEBOOK™ series is built on a simple and irresistible conceit—borrowing the notes from the smartest kid in class. There are five books in all, and each is the only one book you need for each main subject taught in middle school: Math, Science, American History, English, and World History. Inside the reader will find every subject’s key concepts, easily digested and summarized: Critical ideas highlighted in marker colors. Definitions explained. Doodles that illuminate tricky concepts. Mnemonics for a memorable shortcut. And quizzes to recap it all. The BIG FAT NOTEBOOKS meet Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and state history standards, and are vetted by National and State Teacher of the Year Award–winning teachers. They make learning fun, and are the perfect next step for every kid who grew up on Brain Quest .
- Author: Workman Publishing
- Publisher: Workman Publishing Company; Illustrated edition (August 9, 2016)
- Genre: Children's Books, Education & Reference
- ISBN: 978-0761160946
- Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 7.9 inches
10. A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the Booker Prize–winning author of Lincoln in the Bardo and Tenth of December comes a literary master class on what makes great stories work and what they can tell us about ourselves—and our world today. “One of the most accurate and beautiful depictions of what it is like to be inside the mind of a writer that I’ve ever read.”—Parul Sehgal, The New York Times For the last twenty years, George Saunders has been teaching a class on the Russian short story to his MFA students at Syracuse University. In A Swim in a Pond in the Rain , he shares a version of that class with us, offering some of what he and his students have discovered together over the years. Paired with iconic short stories by Chekhov, Turgenev, Tolstoy, and Gogol, the seven essays in this book are intended for anyone interested in how fiction works and why it’s more relevant than ever in these turbulent times. In his introduction, Saunders writes, “We’re going to enter seven fastidiously constructed scale models of the world, made for a specific purpose that our time maybe doesn’t fully endorse but that these writers accepted implicitly as the aim of art—namely, to ask the big questions, questions like, How are we supposed to be living down here? What were we put here to accomplish? What should we value? What is truth, anyway, and how might we recognize it?” He approaches the stories technically yet accessibly, and through them explains how narrative functions; why we stay immersed in a story and why we resist it; and the bedrock virtues a writer must foster. The process of writing, Saunders reminds us, is a technical craft, but also a way of training oneself to see the world with new openness and curiosity. A Swim in a Pond in the Rain is a deep exploration not just of how great writing works but of how the mind itself works while reading, and of how the reading and writing of stories make genuine connection possible.
- Author: George Saunders
- Publisher: Random House (January 12, 2021)
- Genre: Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction