Publishers Weekly is running a very positive review for How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor in the March 30 edition. Unless you are in the book biz, chances are you’ve never heard of it, but it is hugely important in the industry. Best of all, the review contains the words “zippy” and “pragmatic” separated only by a comma. Never got that before. Imagine–zippy!
How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster
Foster, a University of Michigan–Flint emeritus professor of English, proposes ways for readers to read “past the surface” of nonfiction texts in this approachable guide. It expands Foster’s “how to read” series (How to Read Poetry Like a Professor, etc.), with Foster observing early on that “nonfiction has just as many, and very likely more, genres than does fiction.” Adopting a conversational tone, he succinctly tackles everything from textbooks, history books, and biographies to journalism, op-eds, and “web-specific forms” such as blogs and social media posts. From parsing the unique rules that “govern how information is offered to readers” to uncovering “where we think our bias lies,” the book grounds its approach in relevant examples, including the proliferation of “fake news” in general, and, in particular, the Russian misinformation campaign during the 2016 presidential election. Perhaps most importantly, Foster writes, readers must learn “to ask questions of the article or book and its author.” His zippy, pragmatic book will appeal to readers in search of guidance on separating fact from fiction in an age of information overload. Agent: Faith Hamlin, Sanford J. Greenburger Assoc. (May)