For readers, the pleasures of the unreliable narrator seem to lie primarily in the challenges they offer our critical and interpretive faculties. Can we figure out the narrator's trustworthiness (or lack of it) before the other characters do?
Among literature's most popular plot devices are the obstructions authors put on the road of love.
It's hard not to get engrossed when two characters are thwarted from finding happiness with each other.
Most of us have a certain routine, so it's exciting to pick up a book and end up in another time, place, and situation. To make this experience even more intense, I often try to follow a novel I just read with one that's very different.
For a book with "Solitude" in its title, it sure has lots of characters! After recently reading One Hundred Years of Solitude, I've been thinking about whether novels are better with large casts or small casts.
As I write this on Thanksgiving weekend, I give thanks to the books that turn adolescent readers into adult readers. For me, it was one 19th-century novel by a woman, and one 20th-century novel by a man.
Reading a beloved book twice, thrice, or more is a craving that can't be denied. It's pleasurable, comforting, and relaxing -- partly because you don't have to figure out what the author is doing from scratch.
They were unplanned "Five-Year Plans" for the ages: the amazing proliferation of classic novels published from 1846 to 1851 and from 1922 to 1927. And, believe it or not, one author had a book in both those periods!
There are plenty of cases where an author's masterpiece deserves the top billing it gets in the author's canon. But then there are the cases where a writer's most famous book is not the writer's best book.