This blog is for Marc Sheffner’s Informal Reading Group, which meets twice a month in the Gakuenmae area of Nara city, Japan, to read excerpts of high-quality English writing and talk about it.
This group started in January, 2009. So far we have been reading mainly English fiction.
Each session has a theme. Each theme is a literary device or technique, and the excerpts are used to illustrate the theme. Below is a list of themes we’ve studied so far.
teenage skaz (The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger)
irony (The Old Wives’ Taleby Arnold Bennett)
novel of ideas (Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand)
defamiliarization (Villette by Charlotte Bronte)
the unreliable narrator (Remains of the Day by British-born Kazuo Ishiguro)
names and naming (Nice Work , How Far Can You Go? both by David Lodge) and City of Glass (The New York Trilogy, Vol 1 by Paul Auster)
stream of consciousness and interior monologue (Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, Ulysses by James Joyce)
Mystery and Suspense (A Pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy, The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins)
the difference between author and narrator (Adam Bede by George Eliot, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne)
beginnings (Emma by Jane Austen, The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion by Ford Madox Ford)