03 March 2016

The Literature Book by DK Publishing

Summary from Goodreads:
A global look at the greatest works of Eastern and Western literature and the themes that unite them, for students and lovers of literature and reading.

The Literature Book is a fascinating journey through the greatest works of world literature, from the Iliad to Don Quixote to The Great Gatsby. Around 100 crystal-clear articles explore landmark novels, short stories, plays, and poetry that reinvented the art of writing in their time, whether Ancient Greece, post-classical Europe, or modern-day Korea.

As part of DK's award-winning Big Ideas Simply Explained series, The Literature Book uses infographics and images to explain key ideas and themes. Biographies of important authors offer insight into their lives and other writings, and a section on Further Reading details more than 150 additional works to explore.

Discover masterpieces from the world's greatest authors, and explore the context, creative history, and literary traditions that influenced each major work of fiction with The Literature Book.

Series Overview: Big Ideas Simply Explained series uses creative design and innovative graphics, along with straightforward and engaging writing, to make complex subjects easier to understand. These award-winning books provide just the information needed for students, families, or anyone interested in concise, thought-provoking refreshers on a single subject.

The DK "Book" series, where they take a large concept and break it into chronological or technical parts with lots of pictures and graphics ("big ideas explained simply"), are really pretty books.  And they do look very helpful.

The Literature Book is a decent overview of major works of narrative (mostly) fiction and they do make an effort to get outside the European/North American focus. The infographics were really fun, I particularly enjoyed the one for Dante's Inferno.  I wasn't all that interested in the actual words or descriptions of the books - for something that claims to Explain Big Ideas Simply the editors used a lot of complicated phrases (what, exactly, is Literary Montage or meter/foot in poetry?  And don't tell me to look in the glossary). So the book straddled a weird space between being for newbies and being for experienced readers.  I think this would be a good book for literature teachers as a classroom resource since they could then use it as jumping off points or for students to start research.

Dear FTC: I read a DRC of this book via Edelweiss.

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