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How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor: A Smart, Irreverent Guide to Biography, History, Journalism, Blogs, and Everything in Between

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The New York Times bestselling author of How to Read Literature Like a Professor uses the same skills to teach how to access accurate information in a rapidly changing 24/7 news cycle and become better readers, thinkers, and consumers of media. We live in an information age, but it is increasingly difficult to know which information to trust. Fake news is rampant in mass me The New York Times bestselling author of How to Read Literature Like a Professor uses the same skills to teach how to access accurate information in a rapidly changing 24/7 news cycle and become better readers, thinkers, and consumers of media. We live in an information age, but it is increasingly difficult to know which information to trust. Fake news is rampant in mass media, stoked by foreign powers wishing to disrupt a democratic society. We need to be more perceptive, more critical, and more judicious readers. The future of our republic may depend on it. How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor is more careful, more attentive, more aware reading. On bookstore shelves, one book looks as authoritative as the next. Online, posts and memes don’t announce their relative veracity. It is up to readers to establish how accurate, how thorough, how fair material may be. After laying out general principles of reading nonfiction, How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor offers advice for specific reading strategies in various genres from histories and biographies to science and technology to social media. Throughout, the emphasis will be on understanding writers’ biases, interrogating claims, analyzing arguments, remaining wary of broad assertions and easy answers, and thinking critically about the written and spoken materials readers encounter. We can become better citizens through better reading, and the time for that is now.


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The New York Times bestselling author of How to Read Literature Like a Professor uses the same skills to teach how to access accurate information in a rapidly changing 24/7 news cycle and become better readers, thinkers, and consumers of media. We live in an information age, but it is increasingly difficult to know which information to trust. Fake news is rampant in mass me The New York Times bestselling author of How to Read Literature Like a Professor uses the same skills to teach how to access accurate information in a rapidly changing 24/7 news cycle and become better readers, thinkers, and consumers of media. We live in an information age, but it is increasingly difficult to know which information to trust. Fake news is rampant in mass media, stoked by foreign powers wishing to disrupt a democratic society. We need to be more perceptive, more critical, and more judicious readers. The future of our republic may depend on it. How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor is more careful, more attentive, more aware reading. On bookstore shelves, one book looks as authoritative as the next. Online, posts and memes don’t announce their relative veracity. It is up to readers to establish how accurate, how thorough, how fair material may be. After laying out general principles of reading nonfiction, How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor offers advice for specific reading strategies in various genres from histories and biographies to science and technology to social media. Throughout, the emphasis will be on understanding writers’ biases, interrogating claims, analyzing arguments, remaining wary of broad assertions and easy answers, and thinking critically about the written and spoken materials readers encounter. We can become better citizens through better reading, and the time for that is now.

30 review for How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor: A Smart, Irreverent Guide to Biography, History, Journalism, Blogs, and Everything in Between

  1. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    This is a book that one needs to read more than once, a book to own. Since, a few years back, I started reading more nonfiction, I have had questions. How do we know that what we read is factual. How can biographies for the same person, have a different interpretation of the materials to be found. Why do some books have such lengthy introductions? With so many biased news mediums how do we know which ones are actually doing due diligence on their facts. These are just some of the questions that This is a book that one needs to read more than once, a book to own. Since, a few years back, I started reading more nonfiction, I have had questions. How do we know that what we read is factual. How can biographies for the same person, have a different interpretation of the materials to be found. Why do some books have such lengthy introductions? With so many biased news mediums how do we know which ones are actually doing due diligence on their facts. These are just some of the questions that were well answered in this book. The Washington Post gets a high rating for their reporting, and Fox news is likened to the National Enquirer. Do I need to say more? He covers online sources, social media, nonfiction, autobiographys and biographies, memoirs, new journalism, creative non fiction, and political and presidential treatsies. Explains how biases are hard to overcome, seems people want to believe what they want to believe. Go figure! Facts that don't fit their views are disregarded. The Advent if fake news, or alternate facts. As I said much is covered, easily explained, even some wry humor, but in the end it is up to the reader. Check sources and be open minded, not stuck in a bias. This is the onlyGareth Russell has chosen a handful of passengers on the doomed liner and by training a spotlight on every detail of their lives, he has given us a meticulous, sensitive, and at times harsh picture of the early 20th century in Britain and America. A marvelous piece of work.” —Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey A riveting account of the Titanic disaster and the unraveling of the gilded Edwardian society that had created it. way to be truly, but more accurately, informed.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨️ I yeet my books back and forth ✨️ Campbell

    I took a few classes on journalism and worked in a research lab while tutoring research methodology to my fellow undergrads, so thinking critically is something that was basically beaten into me in college. But I fully support anything that is geared towards debunking fake news and making people think critically about the news media that they consume.

  3. 4 out of 5

    chantel nouseforaname

    Well laid out as to why you should be critical of all aspects of what you're reading in these Trumpian times where lies, manipulated data and misleading information is being passed off as truth and nonfiction. Thomas C. Foster explored the historical contexts of nonfiction writing and reporting, keeping it interesting and well paced. He gets to also explaining why it's important to not ignore or throw away certain parts of texts especially when it comes to nonfiction. It's important while readin Well laid out as to why you should be critical of all aspects of what you're reading in these Trumpian times where lies, manipulated data and misleading information is being passed off as truth and nonfiction. Thomas C. Foster explored the historical contexts of nonfiction writing and reporting, keeping it interesting and well paced. He gets to also explaining why it's important to not ignore or throw away certain parts of texts especially when it comes to nonfiction. It's important while reading nonfiction, not to cut off the parts of texts we'd equate to the fat on the chicharron; parts like the prologue (my favourite part of any text), author's notes, footnotes, source texts, how data is collected, etc. All that shit is important when it comes to getting to the bottom of things; getting at the truth in nonfiction work. I really like Thomas C. Foster's writing style. Although sometimes he does come across a little self-dick-riding celebrity-professor and sometimes he comes across a little: "open your eyes children! can you believe this shit!", it still makes for an enjoyable read. And, yes! Yes we can believe this shit Mr. Foster! We're living alongside the madness with you. Other than that - it's an excellent read. I enjoyed the parts surrounding the mystique of Joan Didion and how she assisted in or directed the creation of a distinct nonfiction writing style. She's always been someone I've been curious about because I haven't read any of her work, even though I've heard her name and seen her books everywhere. My favourite take away is at 64% where Thomas C. Foster states: "Fictional truth is entirely an internal matter. But a writer of nonfiction is not a novelist. Truth is not his to decide. Rather than merely assert, he must adduce evidence to convince us of the veracity of his claims. The evidence can be physical- anything from an email to a literal smoking gun- or reliable testimony." That shit is on point.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Milan

    Thomas C. Foster begins this book with a rant and that should have been a warning enough to not proceed further. It's more of a commentary on how things are - lots of theory and few practical aspects. I don't want to know his opinion on how things are badly written with ulterior motives. He tries to cover US politics, sports, fake news, internet articles, journalism, social media, etc. He tries to cover too many things and fails in most of them. He discusses very few actual non-fiction books in Thomas C. Foster begins this book with a rant and that should have been a warning enough to not proceed further. It's more of a commentary on how things are - lots of theory and few practical aspects. I don't want to know his opinion on how things are badly written with ulterior motives. He tries to cover US politics, sports, fake news, internet articles, journalism, social media, etc. He tries to cover too many things and fails in most of them. He discusses very few actual non-fiction books in detail as examples. May be my expectations were too high from this book but this not work for me.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mezzie

    At just thirty percent into How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor, I knew I would be requesting that my school site purchase it for my AP English Language students. By the end, I had been completely blown away -- a feat not unsurprising considering my very high expectations going into this reading. I have been a fan of Foster's since I was first introduced to How to Read Literature Like a Professor many, many years ago. That book helped me organize my literature instruction into more digestibl At just thirty percent into How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor, I knew I would be requesting that my school site purchase it for my AP English Language students. By the end, I had been completely blown away -- a feat not unsurprising considering my very high expectations going into this reading. I have been a fan of Foster's since I was first introduced to How to Read Literature Like a Professor many, many years ago. That book helped me organize my literature instruction into more digestible chunks for my high school students and helped me show them what I and other readers do when we read. This book is no different; it eases the reader in, first making sure we understand the importance of this endeavor, then exploring different types of nonfiction, and then modeling his own detailed analysis of two texts on nearly the same subject and the difference in credibility of each. Considering how many subgenres "nonfiction" contains, I didn't expect such an exhaustive study. When I realized just how much breadth was going to be packed into the book, I thought maybe the depth would suffer. I was pleasantly surprised by both counts; though the book was short enough to be read in one day (one full day of being quarantined during spring break, I should add, but just one day), I was still completely satisfied by the quantity and quality of everything he explored. One of the things I love about reading Foster's books is that he is just as excited about literary analysis, poetry analysis, and, now, critical reading as I am, and it simply feels good to have that kind of company. It was rare that there was a book or essay I hadn't read or was not excited about remembering, and I appreciate that he provided a list of books mentioned in the text at the end of the book so that I can revisit the ones I love and read the ones that are new to me. Meanwhile, he writes in a manner that is entertaining and accessible for students at the upper high school and beginning college levels. Much of what he points out to do while reading nonfiction is what I already teach my students to do, but it's the organization of those practices, the wonderful examples, and the lively voice that will make this book as valuable to the veteran English teacher as it is to students. And, honestly, it's simply an important book for anyone participating in a democracy. Without critical thought and critical reading, democracy can't exist, so this book shouldn't JUST be in classrooms; it should be recommended to everyone by librarians and booksellers across the country. One tidbit that probably will be glossed over by the majority of readers is that Foster mentions being part of a discussion group about Joyce's Finnegan's Wake in the early years of the internet. Well, when I was 14, in the early years of the internet, I was part of just such a discussion group. The web was not so populated back then, and Finnegan's Wake enthusiasts make up an even smaller group, so I think it is likely that we were part of the same group. There was one member who was particularly active and whose explanations revolutionized my ability to analyze literature. I credit his contributions with my development from a student who accepted her teacher's interpretations to one who created her own. I can't help but wonder if that member whose name I have long since forgotten was this author; if so, he had a hand in me becoming an English teacher and continues to have a hand in my professional development.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Patti Peterson

    Very informative I feel like I am a better reader after reading this

  7. 5 out of 5

    Susan Walker

    If you are a book lover this is a great read. The book covers many genres of books.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Prevedel

    Not all that useful. Obvious moves about how to analyze nonfiction.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lizanne

    DNF. Unreadable. If I wanted to hear someone tell me what they think about reliable sources, I could find a colleague or a mirror. Chances are, though, those sources would not reply with a one hour lecture to a reasonable question. I tried many times to approach this manual, skipping around to see if other chapters offered insight. Nope. It’s like being in a room w that know-it-all who sucks up all the oxygen by telling you what you already know with smarter phrasing. The companion, How to Read Fi DNF. Unreadable. If I wanted to hear someone tell me what they think about reliable sources, I could find a colleague or a mirror. Chances are, though, those sources would not reply with a one hour lecture to a reasonable question. I tried many times to approach this manual, skipping around to see if other chapters offered insight. Nope. It’s like being in a room w that know-it-all who sucks up all the oxygen by telling you what you already know with smarter phrasing. The companion, How to Read Fiction Like a Professor, is worthwhile. This one is longer and not as crisp or organized. Don’t know who the audience is but I can’t imagine AP high school students gleaning much. The prose is so stodgy and slow moving, they’d be better off Googling for info.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Khan Ashraf Alif

    Theoretical stuff

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mary Tharp

    Alot of good information.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra Ferretti

    I’m a big fan of Foster’s books, and this one had lots of practical information for students. Some sections, however, were extended summaries of current events, which may limit this book’s longevity.

  13. 5 out of 5

    👑 💀

    As many other AP Lang teachers have done, I set out to read this book as a resource for my classroom. Whereas the How to Read Lit book is an incredible resource for AP Lit, the How to Read Nonfiction book does not even come close for AP Lang. I can’t see myself using more than one or two chapters from this book, and even at that, I would probably replace them with articles that cover the information more effectively. Not only is this book severely lacking in discussion of rhetorical strategies a As many other AP Lang teachers have done, I set out to read this book as a resource for my classroom. Whereas the How to Read Lit book is an incredible resource for AP Lit, the How to Read Nonfiction book does not even come close for AP Lang. I can’t see myself using more than one or two chapters from this book, and even at that, I would probably replace them with articles that cover the information more effectively. Not only is this book severely lacking in discussion of rhetorical strategies and other skills important for AP Lang, but Foster’s usual wit is nowhere to be found. I would guess he wrote this book under pressure of a contract, because other than a political rant in the introduction, it’s completely lifeless. I’m disappointed that I wasted my time on it. If you are an AP Lang teacher, look elsewhere.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Connie

    As other reviewers have mentioned, this book is written in a conversational, breezy style and introduces readers to various genres in nonfiction writing, including the news media. As such, it is a text best suited for advanced high school students or college freshman. Both the tone and the content, however, are less suitable for most upper-level university courses.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Erin Boyington

    This is a really important topic, but it deserves a better book. The book's organization (ironically, since Foster spends some time talking about chronological and other methods for making sense of a nonfiction narrative) isn't that well laid-out or easy to grasp. And his examples aren't well-chosen. They skew leftward, as does Foster's analysis of them, particularly when they talk about Trump. Foster writes, correctly, that "those biographies closest to the time their subjects lived are not top This is a really important topic, but it deserves a better book. The book's organization (ironically, since Foster spends some time talking about chronological and other methods for making sense of a nonfiction narrative) isn't that well laid-out or easy to grasp. And his examples aren't well-chosen. They skew leftward, as does Foster's analysis of them, particularly when they talk about Trump. Foster writes, correctly, that "those biographies closest to the time their subjects lived are not top choices." He adds, "The lives of those less saintly, say politicians or muckraking journalists, may suffer in the opposite condition [of hagiography], as a writer with an ax to grind vilifies the subject based more on political affiliation or current prejudices than on objective analysis." Good point, right? Except he undercuts himself by using Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff and Fear by Bob Woodward as examples - both published in 2018. I think discussing Trump is legitimate when writing about "fake news" and the politically charged ways that term is used to denounce science and journalism, but I got the sense from Foster's abundance of Trumpian examples that he just really wanted to write about lies from the Trump White House. Fine, but that's a different book than what this one purports to be. Foster ends his Wolff/Woodward chapter, which was supposedly about the structure of nonfiction as well as fake news, with a parting shot of cherry-picked findings from the Mueller report, ending "So much for 'fake news.' Now, can we for crying out loud retire the term?" Um, no, not really. Fake news is a highly politicized contemporary discussion that's nowhere near being so neatly resolved. Foster's completely noncontroversial points about the chronology of nonfiction narrative would have been better served had he remembered his own advice and chosen older examples. Finally, Foster writes glowingly about Stephen E. Ambrose's Undaunted Courage without ever mentioning the plagiarism scandal that sadly marred Ambrose's last year of life. (I did a search on my Kindle and no, Foster never gets around to talking about it.) This is a smaller quibble, but when talking about truth-telling in nonfiction, plagiarism from a well-established writer seems to be a relevant sidebar. Anyway, I'll be so glad when the black hole of Trump no longer finds its way into every discussion. I'm so, so tired of it. Let's talk about something else. In the meantime, I'll be reading something else.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Hoogerhyde

    I picked up this book because I have enjoyed Foster's books on how to read literature, novels, and 25 books that shaped America. After reading this book, I think he should stick to fiction. The book appeared to be rushed into print, probably motivated by the 2020 presidential election. The back cover of the book indicates that Foster has retired from teaching, but inside the book it indicates he is still a professor. In the back of the book, he lists the books that he discussed, and suggests the I picked up this book because I have enjoyed Foster's books on how to read literature, novels, and 25 books that shaped America. After reading this book, I think he should stick to fiction. The book appeared to be rushed into print, probably motivated by the 2020 presidential election. The back cover of the book indicates that Foster has retired from teaching, but inside the book it indicates he is still a professor. In the back of the book, he lists the books that he discussed, and suggests the reader turn to the index for other books. The book contains no index. And two of the chapters in the book didn't make it into the table of contents. Apparently critical editing isn't as important as critical reading. The advice he gives can be summed up thus: read critically, check sources, and be aware of bias on the part of the writer. That's it, in a nutshell. Of course, he takes over 300 pages to say that, which is an example of subtraction by addition. Foster's typical humor comes through, but it's not enough to carry the book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sophie

    Considering I am currently more in the mood to read non-fiction rather than any fiction (that isn’t Schitt’s Creek fanfiction) I thought it would be a good idea to read a book about non-fiction, to be on surer footing. To be honest, there wasn’t a lot in this book that I didn’t already know, but it gave me some reassurance that I don’t swallow everything I read without thinking. If you are capable of critical thinking, this book isn’t a necessary read - but I found it an enjoyable one, and I sup Considering I am currently more in the mood to read non-fiction rather than any fiction (that isn’t Schitt’s Creek fanfiction) I thought it would be a good idea to read a book about non-fiction, to be on surer footing. To be honest, there wasn’t a lot in this book that I didn’t already know, but it gave me some reassurance that I don’t swallow everything I read without thinking. If you are capable of critical thinking, this book isn’t a necessary read - but I found it an enjoyable one, and I suppose it never hurts to hone that skill. The focus on US American writing is a bit much at times, but you can tell the author is passionate about writing, and he has a knack of making me want to read most of the books he writes about.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Geri chesner

    Learning more about how to read "like a professor" makes me wish I would have been an English major instead of elementary educator. I really enjoy "deep reading" and now have more background to help me read nonfiction, a genre I appreciate and read a lot of. I am now ready to tackle Henry David Thoreau: A Life, by Laura Dassow Walls (which was highly recommended to me). At almost 400 pages, I am sure this will be a whole winter of reading for me. Learning more about how to read "like a professor" makes me wish I would have been an English major instead of elementary educator. I really enjoy "deep reading" and now have more background to help me read nonfiction, a genre I appreciate and read a lot of. I am now ready to tackle Henry David Thoreau: A Life, by Laura Dassow Walls (which was highly recommended to me). At almost 400 pages, I am sure this will be a whole winter of reading for me.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Subjuntivo Subjuntivo

    This is an insult to your intellect if you are over, say, twelve. Ok, maybe 16.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Great for a 101 course as a freshman in college. Felt very basic for me, but I did find some new ways to interrogate nonfiction books!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bobbie

    I'm not sure what I was expecting in this book. In spite of the title, I thought it could be a very boring book, but I was wrong. I like how it began with the analogy of going to get your medications in the pharmacy and all the medicines were what they should be but two of the bottles in the store contained poison. Would you still take the risk and get your medicines there? Foster says that is how it is with a lot of the non-fiction articles you can find. Some of them may be credible and fine re I'm not sure what I was expecting in this book. In spite of the title, I thought it could be a very boring book, but I was wrong. I like how it began with the analogy of going to get your medications in the pharmacy and all the medicines were what they should be but two of the bottles in the store contained poison. Would you still take the risk and get your medicines there? Foster says that is how it is with a lot of the non-fiction articles you can find. Some of them may be credible and fine resources, and others disinformation and totally unreliable. I really like his approach to this topic. The only part I did not like was that some of his examples seemed like nothing more than summary, and I would have wanted more than that. Still, I think it is a good resource for teaching students in this age of accurate and credible information versus disinformation and deliberate false news. As a writing teacher, I recommend it and will use it with my students.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Adil Khan

    For a book titled "How To Read Nonfiction Like A Professor", this one has very few "How To" and "Like A Professor" elements to it. Foster refuses to move very far from his one central argument: that not all nonfiction is true, and that a reader must actively judge what he/she reads. As someone who has had the fortune of being trained by excellent professors, I can hardly believe that that is all there is to the topic. And even on that central idea, there was very little that I did not already kn For a book titled "How To Read Nonfiction Like A Professor", this one has very few "How To" and "Like A Professor" elements to it. Foster refuses to move very far from his one central argument: that not all nonfiction is true, and that a reader must actively judge what he/she reads. As someone who has had the fortune of being trained by excellent professors, I can hardly believe that that is all there is to the topic. And even on that central idea, there was very little that I did not already know. I also found Foster's writing unengaging, and could skip large portions of text without the remorse I usually feel on doing this. With all that being said, it introduced me to certain works which I have added to my Goodreads To-Read list. 1.5 stars for the book. +0.05 stars for every book it introduced. -0.25 stars for the disappointment it caused.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Chandler

    Too many other interesting books on my shelf to finish reading this one. I'm not even sure why I picked it up. Foster's previous book, "How to Read Literature Like a Professor" was a disappointment, nothing like the classic "How to Read a Book" by Mortimer Adler. This book was no different. Foster's quip a page writing style is annoying and his method of categorizing nonfiction (like type of nonfiction writing in a newspaper, or type of biographies, or the difference between a forward and prefac Too many other interesting books on my shelf to finish reading this one. I'm not even sure why I picked it up. Foster's previous book, "How to Read Literature Like a Professor" was a disappointment, nothing like the classic "How to Read a Book" by Mortimer Adler. This book was no different. Foster's quip a page writing style is annoying and his method of categorizing nonfiction (like type of nonfiction writing in a newspaper, or type of biographies, or the difference between a forward and preface) seems remedial. No insights into how to read nonfiction and judge whether the "facts" are trustworthy, as done in Evans' "In Defense of History." No guidance such as journalist Tamar Haspels test that if a person or group arguing a side on a debate does not admit both pros and cons or risks and benefits to a stance, they cannot be trusted (because most things still debated have reasonable arguments for both sides). Just bad jokes and simple classification. What's more, this book doesn't seem written for success. Many of its topics that it covers (Watergate, Trump) are already well-known to most readers. And though I'm reluctant to agree with claims that the book has a political slant, most good non-political books I've read try to go 50/50 on the "crazy republican story/crazy democrat story" ratio, when they have to bring up politics. This book doesn't take that strategy, and its off-putting for those just wanting to educate/entertain themselves without having to choose political sides. I will have to give credit to the book for introducing me to creative nonfiction writer John McPhee. Will defintely check some of his books out. But seriously, is that what I'm to expect from a "Professor?"

  24. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

    I was hoping to get some ideas for teaching my AP English Language and Composition class, but the concepts covered were not so much about rhetoric technique or analysts as the were about the types of nonfiction.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    This is the first book by Foster that I've read and I had hoped to use it to in AP Language to help my students study argument. I won't be able to use this text for that, at least in whole. For me, Foster rambles and only briefly discusses explicit techniques when reading. When I started reading the book, I thought, "How old is this guy?" I'm 40 and I can't say that's a question that comes to mind often when reading a book. While reading the chapter about science reading, I thought he was finall This is the first book by Foster that I've read and I had hoped to use it to in AP Language to help my students study argument. I won't be able to use this text for that, at least in whole. For me, Foster rambles and only briefly discusses explicit techniques when reading. When I started reading the book, I thought, "How old is this guy?" I'm 40 and I can't say that's a question that comes to mind often when reading a book. While reading the chapter about science reading, I thought he was finally picking up and I might be able to give him 3 stars. That was followed by chapters focusing on the internet and I was back to feeling like he's just a grumpy old man complaining about the next generation and a new technology that ruined the good old days. Are there problems with online sources? Of course, if you don't know how to vet sources. Plus, society is still adjusting to this "new" tool. In fact, after reading about science writing and ways to cite sources, I thought he went against everything he just said to do when he wrote the internet chapters -- few sources or evidence to back up claims. The earlier parts included hyperbole about how fast online writing went downhill with phrases like it only took five minutes for porn and Nigerian prince emails to take off. I get he's going for humor, but by not grounding it in evidence, it just comes across as ranting. I wish Malcolm Gladwell had written this book. Foster did recommend Draft No. 4 by McPhee, which I hope to read soon. I also have Jay Heinrichs' Thank You for Arguing, which I hope will be more helpful in teaching argument.

  26. 5 out of 5

    David M.

    Found this browsing the shelves at Barnes & Noble. I wanted to take a break from Frank Herbert's Dune series (which I have throughly enjoyed so far); I wanted something different. Thomas C. Foster's How to Read Literature Like a Professor is one of the most influential books I've ever read, so when I found that he had written this one (just last year) about how to read nonfiction like a professor, I walked straight to the cash register. Foster is so easy to read. Not just easy - enjoyable. He's Found this browsing the shelves at Barnes & Noble. I wanted to take a break from Frank Herbert's Dune series (which I have throughly enjoyed so far); I wanted something different. Thomas C. Foster's How to Read Literature Like a Professor is one of the most influential books I've ever read, so when I found that he had written this one (just last year) about how to read nonfiction like a professor, I walked straight to the cash register. Foster is so easy to read. Not just easy - enjoyable. He's witty. I ate up the first part of this book, taking longer to finish. I was tempted to skip the chapter on science and tech writing, and the last part of the last chapter on false data. Foster would probably not blame me if I actually had. I'm not much of a nonfiction reader, so buying and reading this book was in part a challenge. A challenge to heretofore read more nonfiction, and read it well. I was surprised - pleasantly surprised - to find that I knew most of the information Foster presents in this book. Thank you Mom, North Carolina public schools (?), and - most definitely - Liberty University for teaching me critical thinking skills. As a teacher now myself, reading this book was also an encouragement. I will continue to practice my critical thinking skills and I will continue to teach my students to do the same.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    Not going to lie, I have "How to Read Fiction Like a Professor" but have never read it. Pretty sure it's been on my TBR for 10+ years at this point (eek!). It's one of those books I've been meaning to get to. But when this book popped up on Instagram I bought it immediately. Since I started grad school this fall I thought it would be a good book to help me re-acclimate to academia, and it did but it also helped me re-evaluate how I read nonfiction in my every day life as well. Foster provides a Not going to lie, I have "How to Read Fiction Like a Professor" but have never read it. Pretty sure it's been on my TBR for 10+ years at this point (eek!). It's one of those books I've been meaning to get to. But when this book popped up on Instagram I bought it immediately. Since I started grad school this fall I thought it would be a good book to help me re-acclimate to academia, and it did but it also helped me re-evaluate how I read nonfiction in my every day life as well. Foster provides a really great breakdown using multiple writing samples for how to think critically of the information you are reading. He also breaks down how different nonfiction pieces are written and classified, and how that shapes the information we are reading. If you find yourself consuming a lot of news, and you're struggling to make heads or tales if what you're reading is real or "fake" this book is worth reading. I found it to be easy to digest, and as shown in my reading timeline, it's very easy to pick up and put down as needed.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Arthur

    The folksy tone as disappeared and I lost the sense that he was speaking to his students. An over-reliance on a finite set of books does not help matters--if you haven't read McPhee or Ambrose, most of this book won't clear matters up. This is part history of nonfiction, part structure of nonfiction, part critical reading of nonfiction (although not until late in the book), part diatribe. The book is worth a read--the cogent information can provide insight. However, other than the fact that I ag The folksy tone as disappeared and I lost the sense that he was speaking to his students. An over-reliance on a finite set of books does not help matters--if you haven't read McPhee or Ambrose, most of this book won't clear matters up. This is part history of nonfiction, part structure of nonfiction, part critical reading of nonfiction (although not until late in the book), part diatribe. The book is worth a read--the cogent information can provide insight. However, other than the fact that I agree with Foster's review of the Trump-based texts of Woodward and Wolff alongside Michelle Obama and Comey, not much useful until I got to the end.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Blaine Duncan

    Foster is light and breezy, sometimes to a fault. But at least he's never a slog to get through. Most of the information shared here should be obvious. A lot of times he fails at teaching how to read nonfiction and instead spends massive amounts of time explaining what the author wrote about and/or how the subject or author was wrong. That's fine, but this one isn't as instructive as his previous works on reading. It needed more ideas on analysis of nonfiction, much like his books on fiction did Foster is light and breezy, sometimes to a fault. But at least he's never a slog to get through. Most of the information shared here should be obvious. A lot of times he fails at teaching how to read nonfiction and instead spends massive amounts of time explaining what the author wrote about and/or how the subject or author was wrong. That's fine, but this one isn't as instructive as his previous works on reading. It needed more ideas on analysis of nonfiction, much like his books on fiction did.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    I was pleasantly surprised by the humorous tone and moments of levity throughout this work. I read it, hoping to find some great lessons and information for my students, but walked away with new strategies for myself to use to be a more reflective reader. There are definitely parts of this book I will share with students to help them navigate the wide world of nonfiction, and parts that I will remember in my own reading as well.

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