Several Short Sentences About Writing and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $22.00
  • Save: $5.53 (25%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 14 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Several Short Sentences A... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Like New
Comment: Qualifies for Super Saver Shipping. May not have supplemental materials or access code and may have imperfections from handling and shelving.
Access codes and supplements are not guaranteed with used items.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Several Short Sentences About Writing Hardcover – August 7, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0307266347 ISBN-10: 0307266346

Buy New
Price: $16.47
25 New from $4.98 26 Used from $2.39
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$16.47
$4.98 $2.39
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Get Up to 80% Back When You Sell Us Your Books
$16.47 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 14 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

Several Short Sentences About Writing + More Scenes from the Rural Life + The Rural Life
Price for all three: $45.70

Buy the selected items together
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (August 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307266346
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307266347
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.9 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Verlyn Klinkenborg has written an exceptionally interesting and useful book about writing.  There have been good books on grammar and style, some classics, but none to compare to this one for understanding where sentences come from in the first place, where their vitality is found, and what distinguishes their energy,  their authenticity, and their prospects for life after birth--that is, the art of revision.  This book's long future will be a testament to its author's principles.” –Tom McGuane

"This is a very interesting little book about writing. Modest. Learned. Good-natured. Direct and sympathetic to its readers. You don't even have to read it front to back (probably you couldn't, anyway). You can just open it anywhere—as I did—and take away something useful." –Richard Ford   

“Verlyn Klinkenborg's Several Short Sentences About Writing is an invaluable book for anyone who wants to write well. The simple clarity and logic that he brings to the page is mesmerizing and inspiring—the ultimate cleansing process that leaves you wanting a fresh piece of paper and a brand new start. It is a book filled with great advice and wisdom. And it's fun, too!” –Jill McCorkle

“Expertise and zeal are required for an established writer to offer genuinely useful guidance to aspiring writers. It also helps if the writer teaches writing, as Klinkenborg has for many years…The result is a unique anatomy of the sentence and the writing mind and a clarifying and invigorating ‘book of first steps.’” –Booklist  

“To paraphrase Voltaire’s statement concerning the Almighty, ‘if Verlyn Klinkenborg did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.’ Because having read Several Short Sentences About Writing, I do not think that it would be possible to not have this book on hand…no other book, old or new, is as well reasoned as this, as entertaining or as wise…Indeed, no other book is as filled with as much grounded, practical advice for putting words to the paper or electronic page or gives better, more helpful exercises…Best book on writing. Ever.” –New York Journal of Books  
 
“A fresh perspective on writing that goes against conventional classroom theory.” –Shelf Awareness
 
“Klinkenborg does away with much of the traditional wisdom on writing and dissects the sentence—its structure, its intention, its semantic craftsmanship—to deliver a new, useful, and direct guide to the art of storytelling.” –Brain Pickings

“Powerful…each sentence miraculously contains an idea or insight that lesser writers would have milked for several pages.” –Pittsburgh Post-Gazette   

About the Author

Verlyn Klinkenborg is a member of the editorial board of The New York Times, to which he also contributes meditations about his farm in upstate New York, collected in The Rural Life. His other books include Making Hay, The Last Fine Time, and Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile. Klinkenborg has a Ph.D. in English literature from Princeton University. 

Customer Reviews

It makes many good points in an amusing fashion about how to write well .
Scientist in San Francisco
It made me feel like Verlyn held my hand and told me that what I have to say is important, the way I want to say it is important, because IT’S IMPORTANT TO ME.
Ksenia Anske
And it was an amazing help in shaping and improving the way I write myself.
Bertalan Mesko

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Richard Gilbert on August 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
How to foster a certain quality of mind, the writing mind, which notices, lies at the heart of Several Short Sentences About Writing. As the quotes below show, Klinkenborg's writing advice is presented like poetry. Technically it IS poetry, as he's controlling the length of his lines. This compulsively readable declarative poem runs for149 of the book's 204 pages, the balance being examples of prose, good and bad, and concise commentary. Here are some of his gnomic stanzas that struck me as interesting:

"If you notice something, it's because it's important.
But what you notice depends on what you allow yourself to notice,
And that depends on what you feel authorized, permitted to notice
In a world where we're trained to disregard our perceptions. . . .

"Is it possible to practice noticing?
I think so.
But I also think it requires a suspension of yearning
And a pause in the desire to be pouring something out of yourself.
Noticing is about letting yourself out into the world,
Rather than siphoning the world into you
In order to transmute it into words."

. . .

"The longer the sentence, the less it's able to imply,
And writing by implication should be one of your goals.
Implication is almost nonexistent in the prose that surrounds you . . .

"Try making prose with a poetic seriousness about its tools--
Rhythm, twists of language, the capacity to show the reader
What lies beyond expression,
But with the gaits of prose and a plainness in reserve
That poetry rarely possesses, an exalted plainness."

It's up to you to decide for yourself in the crucible of your practice whether Klinkenborg's opinions are true. He calls them conclusions, not assumptions.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
24 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Ronald E Jeffries on September 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The point, writing very simply. is good. the style is very choppy. he uses short sentences.

throughout.

it becomes off-putting. irritating.

the effect is interesting in small doses. this is a large dose. it becomes hard to get any new thoughts from it.

it's like a faucet drop. if it were rhythmic, it wouldn't be so bad.

but it isn't.

it's too random. good lessons, though. too random. for my taste.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Peter Meyers on August 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Equal to Strunk & White. Beautiful advice, innovative presentation. I didn't agree with every last point Klinkenborg made but what a treat spending time in the company of such a clear thinker. A must have for anyone who wants to write well.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth W. Schmid on March 1, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I always delighted in Verlyn Klinkenborg's thoughtful and elegantly written short essays in The New York Times. I respect him as a writer so looked forward to enjoying his book about writing.
Oh dear!
Turn immediately to Strunk and White! (Still the tops to my mind - readable and concise.) Embrace dear Brenda Ueland who is so very encouraging.
Klinkenborg's short sentences tended to be repetitive.
They lacked flow.
They went on and on...
The examples of bad wringing towards the end were not a good idea - as a teacher one comes upon lots of these - but educational textbooks provide these sort of exercises.
Maybe my expectations were too high.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ross V on September 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Certain books provide a solid foundation for new or aspiring writers: Strunk & White's "Elements of Style" (useful) and Susan Shaughnessy's "Walking on Alligators" (excellent) both come to mind. As we gain experience -- and perhaps fall into bad habits -- books that deliver deeper thoughts can help us put our writing on a new path. In "Several Short Sentences," Klinkenborg delivers a wealth of non-obvious perspectives that come from a place of deep thinking -- the type of thinking suggested in the book. His wisdom has helped reinvigorate my writing, and that is perhaps the highest praise I can offer.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Hein - author of How To Climb The Eiffel Tower on October 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In this little book, Klinkenborg discusses how education and precedent lead people to write overly long, complicated sentences. He stresses writing clear sentences that say what you mean them to say. All the rest will fall into place from there.

I'm not sure if writing clearly is as simple as Klinkenborg makes it out to be but I did cull a few gems from the text that I'd like to share -

You can't revise or discard what you don't consciously recognize.

A cliche is dead matter.
It causes gangrene in the prose around it, and sooner or later, it eats your brain.

Your job as a writer is making sentences.
Your other jobs include fixing sentences, killing sentences, and arranging sentences.

This book will motivate you to focus on writing at the sentence level and not worry about the piece of writing as a whole.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Yiming, Jia on July 5, 2014
Format: Paperback
the very first book of this author i've read; good sentences and organizations and rhythms of verlyn's writing itself, to show me how to write. some perspectives of reader&writer, outline&revision, rhythm&punctuation are really useful for learning.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Scientist in San Francisco on November 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mr. Klinkenborg is a wonderful essayist, whom I think of as a successor to EB White. This book is clever, but I do not find it as inspiring as some of his other writing. It makes many good points in an amusing fashion about how to write well .
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Several Short Sentences About Writing
This item: Several Short Sentences About Writing
Price: $22.00 $16.47
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com