The word “humble” is not the first word I’d use to describe the tone of the academic articles that I read for a living. John Sutherland — highly respected and cited in the US and the UK — writes with an appealing mix of candor, authority, humor and decisiveness. I have learned more about how literature works from this book than from anything else that I’ve read in decades. Whoever designed this book’s format should win a prize. Each brief chapter has an overview, a timeline, a great quotation, a summarizing statement, and a magazine-style side-bar that adds to the conversational tone.
John Sutherland, How Literature Works (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2011), p. 3.