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Writing Places: The Life Journey of a Writer and Teacher Paperback – Bargain Price, July 27, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks (July 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061729035
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061729034
  • ASIN: B005IV06HI
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,523,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Influential journalist, author and educator Zinsser (American Places, Easy to Remember) produces an elegantly written memoir, featuring an array of vividly drawn tales from 50-plus years of writing, reporting and teaching in London, the Hamptons, Yale University and elsewhere. A master of storytelling, what makes Zinsser's memoir most effective is the gentle connection he forms with nearly everyone who enters his life, from his students at Yale, who treated Zinsser as a trusted confidante, to the elusive golf-ball thief "Mr. Roby," who Zinsser celebrated in a Saturday Evening Post article. Zinsser also chronicles his days as a writer for the Herald Tribune and Life, as well as the lean times when freelance work alone sustained him. Zinsser also delves into the development of his own non-fiction writing course at Yale, his bestseller On Writing Well, and a multitude of other articles and books. With careful introspection and nothing but gratitude for the people in his life, Zinsser makes perfect sense out of his long, strange journey. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Looking back at his personal and professional achievements, Zinsser cannot mask his self-satisfaction---but rather than coming across as narcissistic, his pride proves markedly charming." ---Publishers Weekly Audio Review --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

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

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And what he's tried to teach us about good writing.
Timothy J. Bazzett
William Zinsser gained acclaim as the teacher of non-fiction writing, most notably memoir writing.
P. Wung
A wonderful read and it would be read in small slices less you finish too fast.
TDR

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By P. Wung VINE VOICE on July 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
William Zinsser gained acclaim as the teacher of non-fiction writing, most notably memoir writing. He is also the teacher of many aspiring writers through his classic tome: On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction

I am a thankful recipient of Mr. Zinsser's wisdom and wit. I'd read "On Writing Well" forwards and backwards. I am working on reading it sideways now.

His lessons on clear and simple writing is exemplified in this, his memoir. The stories herein are clear, concise, words are used tactically but sparingly. He is able to say what he wants to say and tell the stories he wants to tell in the same manner that he has told millions of readers.

It is an interesting yet spare telling of his life. He covers all the different kinds of writing jobs that he has had and he gets to the point about what he likes and dislikes about each of the jobs. The anecdotes are interesting and yet still serve to make his point and move the narrative along.

It is astonishing just how many writing jobs can be had by one man, moving from being a journalist, teacher, editor, reviewer, free lance writer, humorist, and conscience. The book is short and its tone is informative - as he had encouraged his readers to be; never pedantic - as he strove to never to be; and informative, as his books always are.

The story of how he came to write his most famous book is enlightening and evokes great respect and gratitude from this reader. The section on his Yale years brings the readers to a place where few tread. And his reminiscence of the newspaper trade in the heyday of newspapers makes on wish to return to that particular era.

It was, a lovely read, an entertaining read, and most importantly, a well written read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By bronx book nerd VINE VOICE on September 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
For me, there is no better teacher on how to write well than William Zinsser. All of his books, whether they are specific books on how to write, about the writing life (like this one), or other topics, are mini-courses on how to write. One can take virtually any sentence in this book and see how Zinsser applies the lessons he teaches in his classic On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction. And, of course, his writing skills result in books that are engaging, memorable and bring the reader to reflect on not only Zinsser's subjects but on the reader's own life.

In Writing Places, Zinsser takes us through his personal journey as a writer, from his beginnings at the New York Herald, his stint as a master at Yale, the genesis and development of On Writing Well, and his challenges as a freelancer. We are the beneficiaries of Zinsser's decision to not follow the path that his father expected him to take into the family business. Instead, Zinsser chose to follow his passion to be a journalist and to write. Who knows how many millions of lives Zinsser has affected through his works? I, for one, am grateful that he chose this alternate path.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Colleen E. Fahey on July 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I love to read about writers writing. These writers give you more than than words about writing, they share glimpses of the great stories of their own lives.
PS I'll read anything Zinsser writes. He never lets you down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Timothy J. Bazzett on December 31, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is quite simply a terrific book. If I have a complaint, it's the usual one regarding William Zinsser's work. I wished there were more. But if it had been longer, it wouldn't have been genuine Zinsser. One of his prime rules is to 'reduce clutter.' If Zinsser is hard on his students about editing out extraneous stuff, he's obviously twice as hard on himself. Because Writing Places, like his other books about writing and his life, has been mercilessly edited and honed to absolute shining perfection. I despair at ever coming close to this kind of writing myself. And I am an adherent to Zinsser's work too. I first read his classic tome, On Writing Well, about five years ago and just loved it. But as a follower I'm probably kind of a failure. I think it all matters, so ...

I've also read his book, Writing About Your Life, which didn't have nearly enough about his own life (just my opinion, of course), so I was very excited to hear he'd finally written an actual memoir. Writing Places was a pleasure to read, but, as I've already said, I wished for more, particularly about his childhood and youth and his WWII service. Something like Andy Rooney did in MY WAR, or Sam Hynes in his two excellent memoirs, The Growing Seasons and Flights of Passage. If Zinsser ever decides to do this, I'd predict an instant bestseller, because there just aren't many more WWII memoirs that will still be written. The reading public is still hungry for such accounts though; witness the recent success in England of RAF pilot Geoffrey Wellum's book, First Light - a wonderful account of flying and the Battle of Britain.

What the hell though. I do so appreciate everything Zinsser has already shared with us. And what he's tried to teach us about good writing.
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By Pashtun on March 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Compared to Mr. Zinsser's book on writing, this memoir suffers in comparison.
I know he had an interesting life, he is not able to bring those fascinating scenes to the pages of the book and it reads, sadly, like text.
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