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The Writer's Chapbook: A Compendium of Fact, Opinion, Wit, and Advice from the Twentieth Century's Preeminent Writers (Modern Library) Hardcover – June 7, 1999


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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; Rev Sub edition (June 7, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679603158
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679603153
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,597,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Plimpton has collected and classified choice bits largely from interviews in the noted Writers at Work series (published by Viking Penguin). Under headings like "Work Habits," "On Theater," or "On Sex" appear the remarks of several writers, ranging from lively one-liners to longer reflections. Naturally no consensus ever emerges, making this a book one dips into rather than reads through. It is thus more likely to be purchased than borrowed. Budding creative writers seeking how-to advice would have to heed the many quotes here denying that such a thing exists, although they would be entertained and perhaps reassured by the sheer variety of opinions. Most writers and readers would find more sustenance in the full original interviews.
- Donald Ray, Mercy Coll. Lib., Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"        LSD? Nothing much happened, but I did get the distinct impression that some birds were trying to communicate with me."
--W.H. Auden

"        What makes me feel as though I belong here, out in this world, is not the teacher, not the mother, not the lover but what goes on in my mind when I am writing."
--Toni Morrison

"        It was not he [E. M. Forster] who fathered that trite little whimsy about characters getting out of hand; it is as old as the quills, although of course one sym-
pathizes with his people if they try to wriggle out
of that trip to India or wherever he takes them. My characters are galley slaves."
--Vladimir Nabokov

"        You know that if I were reincarnated, I'd want to come back as a buzzard. Nothing hates him or envies him or wants him or needs him. He is never bothered or in danger, and he can eat anything."
--William Faulkner

"        I occasionally have an anti-Roth reader in mind. I think, How he is going to hate this! That can be just the encouragement I need."
--Philip Roth

"        I always try to write on the principle of the iceberg. There is seven-eighths of it under water for every part that shows."
--Ernest Hemingway

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Carol J. Manka on February 24, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Writers' Chapbook is a rare find for those of us who periodically wonder why we have the sheer gall to think we can write anything worth reading. Reading the vicissitudes of really great and fine writers shores up sagging spirits in no time. Plus one picks up some ageless advice that had faded away over time.

This book is a dipper--you don't have to read any part of it straight through unless you get hooked, like I did, on the focus of a single chapter.

My advice: Read it! You'll be so glad you did.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Craig L. Howe on July 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This trove contains writer's thoughts on the craft of writing. Beginning with its inaugural edition in 1953, The Paris Review, a quarterly, included an interview with E. M Forester, then one of the most famous writers.
In the ensuing years more almost 250 novelists, poets, essayists and biographers have shared their thoughts on their work, work habits and peers. The Chapbook breaks their thoughts down by subject, rather an author.
It is divided into four parts: "The Writer: A Profile" which includes the writer's observations on "Why I Write", "On Reading", "On Inspiration", "On Editors", "On Revising" and "On Critics", among others.
The second part "Technical Matters" includes observations "On Style", "On Plot" and among others "On Writer's Block".
The third part "Different Forms" includes thoughts "On Biography", "On Criticism", "On Short Stories" and "On Potboilers".
The last part "The Writer's Life" contains observations "On Politics", "On Readings", "On Social Life" and my favorite "On Peers".
I keep the Chapbook on my desk for times when I need to savor inspiration. My problem is, having found it, I linger longer.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Bluestalking Reader VINE VOICE on July 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a gem! It's great for reading in small doses, when a longer book isn't practical or available. Insomniacs rejoice! This is a great volume to keep beside the bed, to dip into on sleepless nights. Plimpton's interviews run the gamut from Faulkner to Burgess to Irving and beyond. This is a fascinating compilation, a very illuminating look into the minds of the worlds greatest modern writers. It's funny, poignant, and instructive to anyone interested in reading or writing.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Simply put, The Writer's Chapbook is a MUST have for all writers...of all genre's...novice or pro! It's also a fun read for non-writers who love literature & the writers who create great work. I find myself referring back to it time & time again for various reasons. It's humorous, motivating, inspiring, & re-assuring to a writer on so many levels. I always recommend this book to anyone who is a beginning writer.
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