Posted by: ktzefr | October 19, 2010

Three Favorite Books about Writing…


Dog-eared pages, sticky notes, and underlines…I open these books again and again to read a page here, a chapter there, a perfect passage.  Someone asked me recently to name my favorite book about the craft of writing.  These three came to mind.

Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose.  This book is entertaining, full of humor and wisdom, and has wonderful excerpts from some of the best writers, past and present.  One of my favorite chapters is “Learning from Chekhov” in which the author, after spending a great deal of time teaching the rules of writing to her college class, tells them to “…read Chekhov instead of listening to me.”  The wonderful thing about Chekhov’s work is that he broke the rules so beautifully.

On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser.  This is a fun book to read if you want a “book of rules” that is also interesting and entertaining.  One excellent bit of advice from the chapter, “The Sound of Your Voice”: “Find the best writers in the fields that interest you and read their work aloud.”

Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge.  I’ve had this little gem for many years and still discover something new — about the book or about myself — almost every time I pick it up to read.  Practically every other page is dog-eared or marked or holds a slip of colored paper with notes.   When I do one of the many short exercises suggested at the end of chapters I am almost always rewarded with a surprise.  “Do anything new,” the author says.  “It will open you up to feel, see, write and be something new.”  One does not have to be a poet to enjoy it!


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