Top 10 Best Books to Read in Literary Criticism & Theory - August 2021



Here are our top ten recommendations if you are looking for the best books to read in Literary Criticism & Theory. 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


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Literary Criticism & Theory - August 2021

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


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Literary Criticism & Theory - August 2021

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. Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Literary Criticism & Theory - August 2021

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

                 

4. The Handmaid's Tale


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Literary Criticism & Theory - August 2021

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

                 

5. A Radical Awakening: Turn Pain into Power, Embrace Your Truth, Live Free


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Literary Criticism & Theory - August 2021

The New York Times bestselling author and renowned clinical psychologist teaches women how to transcend their fears and illusions, break free from societal expectations, and rediscover the person they were always meant to be: fully present, conscious, and fulfilled. A Radical Awakening lays out a path for women to discover their inner truth and powers to help heal others and the planet. Dr. Shefali helps women uncover the purpose that already exists within them and harness the power of authenticity in every area of their lives. The result is an eloquent and inspiring, practical and accessible book, backed with real-life examples and personal stories, that unlocks the extraordinary power necessary to awaken the conscious self.

  • Author: Shefali Tsabary
  • Publisher: HarperOne (May 18, 2021)
  • Genre: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Psychology & Counseling
  • ISBN: 978-0062985897
  • Dimensions: 6 x 1.21 x 9 inches

                 



6. The Amateur Marriage


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Literary Criticism & Theory - August 2021

From the inimitable Anne Tyler, a rich and compelling novel about a mismatched marriage—and its consequences, spanning three generations. They seemed like the perfect couple—young, good-looking, made for each other. The moment Pauline, a stranger to the Polish Eastern Avenue neighborhood of Baltimore (though she lived only twenty minutes away), walked into his mother’s grocery store, Michael was smitten. And in the heat of World War II fervor, they are propelled into a hasty wedding. But they never should have married. Pauline, impulsive, impractical, tumbles hit-or-miss through life; Michael, plodding, cautious, judgmental, proceeds deliberately. While other young marrieds, equally ignorant at the start, seemed to grow more seasoned, Pauline and Michael remain amateurs. In time their foolish quarrels take their toll. Even when they find themselves, almost thirty years later, loving, instant parents to a little grandson named Pagan, whom they rescue from Haight-Ashbury, they still cannot bridge their deep-rooted differences. Flighty Pauline clings to the notion that the rifts can always be patched. To the unyielding Michael, they become unbearable. From the sound of the cash register in the old grocery to the counterculture jargon of the sixties, from the miniskirts to the multilayered apparel of later years, Anne Tyler captures the evocative nuances of everyday life during these decades with such telling precision that every page brings smiles of recognition. Throughout, as each of the competing voices bears witness, we are drawn ever more fully into the complex entanglements of family life in this wise, embracing, and deeply perceptive novel.

  • Author: Anne Tyler
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (January 6, 2004)
  • Genre: Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction

                 

7. The Sun and Her Flowers


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Literary Criticism & Theory - August 2021

Divided into five chapters and illustrated by kaur, the sun and her flowers is a journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming. A celebration of love in all its forms. this is the recipe of life said my mother as she held me in her arms as i wept think of those flowers you plant in the garden each year they will teach you that people too must wilt fall root rise in order to bloom

  • Author: Rupi Kaur
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing (October 3, 2017)
  • Genre: Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction

                 

8. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Literary Criticism & Theory - August 2021

Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide.   Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age—and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors (“I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare”) will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.   Poetic and powerful, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings will touch hearts and change minds for as long as people read.   “ I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings liberates the reader into life simply because Maya Angelou confronts her own life with such a moving wonder, such a luminous dignity.”—James Baldwin

  • Author: Maya Angelou
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reissue edition (April 21, 2009)
  • Genre: Literature & Fiction, Poetry
  • ISBN: 978-0345514400
  • Dimensions: 4.13 x 0.76 x 6.86 inches

                 

9. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Literary Criticism & Theory - August 2021

The classic story that inspired the film starring Dev Patel and Alicia Vikander “A medieval romance…but also an outlandish ghost story, a gripping morality tale and a weird thriller.… I couldn’t put down Simon Armitage’s compulsively readable...energetic, free-flowing, high-spirited version.” ― Edward Hirsch, New York Times Book Review One of the founding stories of English literature, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight narrates the strange tale of a green knight on a green horse who rudely interrupts Camelot’s Round Table festivities one Yuletide, casting a pall of unease over the company and challenging one of their number to a wager. The virtuous Gawain accepts and decapitates the intruder with his own axe. Gushing blood, the knight reclaims his head, orders Gawain to seek him out a year hence, and departs. The following Yuletide, Gawain dutifully sets forth. His quest for the Green Knight involves a winter journey, a seduction scene in a dreamlike castle, a dire challenge answered―and a drama of enigmatic reward disguised as psychic undoing. Preserved on a single surviving manuscript dating from around 1400, composed by an anonymous master, this Arthurian epic was rediscovered only two hundred years ago and published for the first time in 1839. Following in the tradition of Ted Hughes, Marie Borroff, and J.R.R. Tolkien, Simon Armitage―one of England’s leading poets―has produced an inventive translation that resounds with both clarity and spirit. His work, presented here with facing original text and a note by Harvard scholar James Simpson, is meticulously responsible to the sophistication of the original but succeeds equally in its ambition to be read as a totally new poem. It is as if two poets, six hundred years apart, set out on a journey through the same mesmerizing landscapes―acoustic, physical, and metaphorical―to share in and double the pleasure of this enchanting classic. 2 illustrations

  • Author: Simon Armitage
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; A New Verse Translation edition (November 17, 2008)
  • Genre: Literature & Fiction, History & Criticism
  • ISBN: 978-0393334159
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches

                 

10. The Testaments: A Novel


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Literary Criticism & Theory - August 2021

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE • A modern masterpiece that "reminds us of the power of truth in the face of evil” ( People )—and can be read on its own or as a sequel to Margaret Atwood’s classic, The Handmaid’s Tale .   “Atwood’s powers are on full display” ( Los Angeles Times) in this deeply compelling Booker Prize-winning novel, now updated with additional content that explores the historical sources, ideas, and material that inspired Atwood.    More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid's Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.   Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third: Aunt Lydia.  Her complex past and uncertain future unfold in surprising and pivotal ways.   With The Testaments, Margaret Atwood opens up the innermost workings of Gilead, as each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes.

  • Author: Margaret Atwood
  • Publisher: Anchor (September 10, 2019)
  • Genre: Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction