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The Writer Who Stayed Kindle Edition

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Length: 192 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

These 58 essays written for the American Scholar's Web site span topics both personal and cultural, from Zinsser's experiences during WWII to an app for Central Park. Readers who crave more of the advice Zinsser provided in his 1976 guide On Writing Well will find an abundance: in addition to 12 craft essays, Zinsser drops tips throughout: Writers! Never forget to tell us what's up with the bears. The essays in Faraway Places are mostly with travel, but the destinations almost incidental; Zinsser prefers to discuss how civilized white people write about whatever unknown land they travel to, not the people or cultures who call that place home. The order of the essays within their categories feels somewhat slapdash, though these shifts feel appropriate to the Internet culture Zinsser was writing for and about. His reminiscing does become tiring when reading the book cover to cover, particularly in the Tech Age section, but enjoyed in small chunks, Zinsser's sharp observations provide a welcome perspective. (Nov.)

From Booklist

In spring 2012, 90-year-old Zinsser was the unexpected recipient of a National Magazine Award for digital commentary, having been nominated for a weekly series of columns contributed to the web version of the American Scholar. A number of those essays have been collected in this slim, though far from slight, tome. In his columns, Zinsser tackled the arts, technology, and travel, among other topics, often ruminating on the ways in which American society today is far poorer culturally than in the heyday decades of his youth. Yet Zinsser, an acolyte of E. B. White, is no Andy Rooney–style crank; he’s simply a gentle soul longing for gentler times, doing his best to hold true to values no longer valued. Not surprisingly for the author of the essential text On Writing Well, Zinsser is at his best when commenting on his chosen profession. Writers can write to affirm and to celebrate, or they can write to debunk and destroy; the choice is ours, he cautions students of the craft. For his part, Zinsser has decided to affirm. --Patty Wetli

Product Details

  • File Size: 439 KB
  • Print Length: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Paul Dry Books (September 18, 2012)
  • Publication Date: September 18, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009DOROE4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #479,839 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

William Zinsser, a writer, editor, and teacher, is a fourth-generation New Yorker, born in 1922. His 18 books, which range in subject from music to baseball to American travel, include several widely read books about writing.

On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction, first published in 1976, has sold almost 1.5 million copies to three generations of writers, editors, journalists, teachers and students.

Writing to Learn which uses examples of good writing in science, medicine and technology to demonstrate that writing is a powerful component of learning in every subject.

Writing Places, a memoir recalling the enjoyment and gratitude the places where William Zinsser has done his writing and his teaching and the unusual people he encountered on that life journey.

Mr. Zinsser began his career in 1946 at the New York Herald Tribune, where he was a writer, editor, and critic. In 1959 he left to become a freelance writer and has since written regularly for leading magazines. From 1968 to 1972 he was a columnist for Life. During the 1970s he was at Yale, where, besides teaching nonfiction writing and humor writing, he was master of Branford College. In 1979 he returned to New York and was a senior editor at the Book-of-the-Month Club until 1987, when he went back to freelance writing. He teaches at the New School and at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He is an adviser on writing to schools, colleges, and other organizations. He holds honorary degrees from Wesleyan University, Rollins College, and the University of Southern Indian and is a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library.

William Zinsser's other books include Mitchell & Ruff, a profile of jazz musicians Dwike Mitchell and Willie Ruff; American Places, a pilgrimage to 16 iconic American sites; Spring Training, about the spring training camp of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1988; and Easy to Remember: The Great American Songwriters and Their Songs; and he is the Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir. A jazz pianist and songwriter, he wrote a musical revue, What's the Point, which was performed off Broadway in 2003.

Mr. Zinsser lives in his home town with his wife, the educator and historian Caroline Zinsser. They have two children, Amy Zinsser, a business executive, and John Zinsser, a painter and teacher.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 54 people found the following review helpful By SeattleSlem on November 30, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Bill Zinsser has written about every topic on earth, focusing on the things he knows and loves best - how to write, travel, baseball and music. Then, surprisingly, in his 80's, he began to write a blog about everything on earth. Like everything else he has ever written, the blog provided interesting, concise, funny, challenging and beautifully written commentary about myriad components of our culture. Provided in the column entitled "Zinsser on Friday" of the American Scholar online magazine (the missal of Phi Beta Kappa), these blog posts won Zinsser the National Magazine Award in the category of Digital Commentary for 2012, beating Rolling Stone, among others. This is a little jewel of a book and, as is the case with posts of this kind, can be savored over time, many times. Buy the book in hardback or Kindle format (mine is a Kindle copy) and bring it out whenever you want to remind yourself that there is lovely and amazing writing, that short can be all you need to perfectly capture an idea, and that we can reinvent ourselves at any age.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Rackman on March 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a treatise on how to write a column. This is for anyone who enjoys extraordinary writing. The simple idea made eloquent.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Peterson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 6, 2013
Format: Paperback
For nineteen months William Zinsser wrote a weekly column for the internet edition of "The American Scholar". He began the gig when he was eighty-seven. His work won him the National Magazine Award for digital commentary during the year 2011. By the time he received that award in March 2012 he was nearly blind. The redoubtable independent publisher Paul Dry has assembled fifty-eight of Zinsser's columns in this lively book, THE WRITER WHO STAYED, which also is the title of one of the pieces.

That essay was about Daniel Fuchs, an acclaimed Eastern novelist who in 1937 went to Hollywood to be a screenwriter and - unlike predecessors such as Dorothy Parker, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and William Faulkner - stayed there for thirty-four years. Other essays are about Pauline Kael, Chick Young and "Blondie", Mitch Miller, the rudeness of multi-tasking with an electronic gadget while supposedly engaging in an in-person conversation, Hall of Fame centerfielder Edd Roush, the Great American Songbook, and the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company. Needless to say, the topics are wide-ranging. Almost two dozen, however, are on language and the craft of writing. That, I suppose, is to be expected from the author of "On Writing Well", but I must say that as a whole I enjoyed them less than I did the more esoteric ones.

There are moments of curmudgeonry, but in general Zinsser tries to be, and is, a positive, upbeat person. "I always write to affirm. I choose to write about people whose values I respect; my pleasure is to bear witness to their lives." Thus, it is not surprising that he is bothered by the recent phenomenon of victim memoirs:

"Whining crept into the American memoir in the mid-1990s.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By doctorbob on April 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a collection of columns about the art of writing, and I wish I had read them years ago. Some are funny, some piercing, and all thought-provoking. I recommend it highly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Keith Weis on August 31, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After hectic days and too brief evenings I often commented I need a little Zinsser. Whether I read one or several columns before I turned off my Kindle and hopefully my often limitless unfocused tangents time with Zinsser was always welcomed.
One need choose carefully if recommending this to someone. While it appears an easy read, Zinsser is an unmatched craftsman not appreciated by all. The right recipient will be happy you invested the time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JourneyMan on April 16, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
It is a joy to experience writing ... on many "overtone" topics ... with an author who loves the English language as much as Mr. Zinsser. Thank you sir!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John E. Barnett on April 15, 2013
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This offering of William Zinsser draws from his life long experience as a world traveler. He paints exquisite verbal pictures of people, relationships, places, and events. He constantly teaches and norishes the "writer" in his readers. For me, the result is a page-turner I was reluctant to put down, loaded with the art of writing. It is my first delightful text book, and a periodic re-read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Willard J. Robinson on April 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is so nice to read something by a talented writer. He paints a picture, stretches your mind in words and word usage and provides substance thoughtrout the book.

Newspapers today employ some of the most bland and limited writers available. I rarely am able to finish an article in The Washington Post (I subscribe) with the exception of George Will's articles. The same is true of other newspapers and magazines that I read. The articles and editorials are simple, slanted, lack thoughtful analysis and vision and seldom cause my mind to stretch or even to pick up a dictionary.

I'm so glad I got to read this book.

WJRobinson
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