Augustine's Confessions contain autobiographical passages, but much more besides. The challenge in reading it is to get beyond treating it as a narrative of his life and to see what else is going on. The best reading strategy is to slow down and pay attention to what he is doing with the Bible. Biblical passages are everywhere, and books 11-13 turn into an extended exposition of the creation narrative from Genesis. Make sure you're using a translation that has footnotes of scriptural language (the Ryan I ordered for the course does this), and slow down to pay attention.

Be wary and plan ahead, moreover: the narrative part ends with book 9 (little more than halfway through the book) and if you're running on narrative energy, the last half of the book gets very slow. Treat this as a challenge, psych yourself up for it (a little carboloading the day before helps, I find), and see if you can figure out what he's up to.

How to make a paper out of it? The ideal paper for this text is going to be one that focuses on some piece of the text, takes it apart, shows how it works, and puts it back together. Think that way, and then think about the issues the text raises, such as: