Review: 30-Second Literature by Ella Berthoud

Title: 30-Second Literature: The 50 most important forms, genres and styles, each explained in half a minute
Author: Ella Berthoud
Genre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: Ivy Press
Date published: March 3rd, 2020
Format: eBook
Page Count: 160

Rating: 4/5

Thank you NetGalley and Ivy Press for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

30-Second Literature, in short, is a book about literature. It talks about a myriad of genres and forms of literature, extending from the beginning of story-telling like sanskrit or Sumerian all the way forward to modern times where it describes new types of novels like webtoons.

The book is broken up into sections:

  • Literature
  • Novels
  • Poems
  • Drama
  • Literary Devices
  • Literary Styles

It functions as an academic text book about literature, but is so interesting and resourceful; on each page, there is a 30 second summary, but additionally, it contains recommendations of books based off the page topic and refers you to different pages that are relevant. I think this is an amazing addition to any library and a great gift for a scholarly reader.

I loved how it also featured pages on authors. Many of them I have never heard about, but their life and biography are so interesting to read about. It also reminds you how so many of these artists and writers have gone through very interesting life experiences which may have become a form of inspiration for their writing.

As a YA lover, I loved seeing modern references as well like Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It’s nice how the book is so comprehensive. Whether you’re a history fanatic or a modern reader, a book worm or a theater lover, there’s a little bit of everything for everyone in this book

I also couldn’t help but realize the amazing timing of when I opened this book. I just came back from shopping a course at Harvard called The Stories We Tell, and the theme of the course fit so well with this book. It’s about world literature and the different types of pieces in history that influenced world culture and thinking. I recommend you check out the EDx course if you’re interested.

You could see the amount of research and knowledge put into the book. The authors and contributors are well-versed in their field of study; some pursuing doctoral degrees, etc. This is definitely something I would love to buy for my English teacher or my friends studying lit.

Recommend if you liked:

– Bibliophile by Jane Mount but also looking for a more academic version of it


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