James Wood’s enjoyment and excitement about reading is pretty infections. In tight little chapters, he makes one gratifying point after another. This book is not instructional; it is rather an unabashed celebration of the craft and surprise behind this huge thing called fiction. James Wood pulls this off, I think, because he himself is such a talented writer. It is one thing to learn about why and how something works, and quite another to learn it as though one is treated to a bunch of delicious secrets.