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Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them (P.S.) Paperback – April 10, 2007
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“Witty...Insightful.” (Washington Post Book World)
“a jewel of a companion…engrossing...and...daringly insightful.” (Los Angeles Times)
“The passages are…subtle and brilliant in their capture of human complexity…Prose is…a skilled…analyst of what makes them so.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
“Reading Like A Writer is different from the rest of the pack…[Prose’s] wise book serves as an ispirational reminder.” (Washington Times)
“Sensible, valuable and highly readable, Reading Like a Writer deserves perusal ― both in and out of the classroom.” (Kansas City Star)
“Celebrates the pleasures of close reading and explores the power of well-wrought language…refreshing” (Time Out New York)
“An absolutely necessary addition to the personal library of anyone who is a writer or dreams of writing.” (National Public Radio)
“Makes a case for the rewards of reading.” (Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel)
“Prose knows when to be funny, how to wield examples, and when to stop.” (More magazine)
About the Author
Francine Prose is the author of twenty-one works of fiction, including Mister Monkey; the New York Times bestseller Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932; A Changed Man, which won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize; and Blue Angel, a finalist for the National Book Award. Her works of nonfiction include Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife, and the New York Times bestseller Reading Like a Writer. The recipient of numerous grants and honors, including a Guggenheim, a Fulbright, and a Director’s Fellow at the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, she is a former president of PEN American Center and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She lives in New York City.
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You can break Prose's book is really two books: in one part, she teaches people how to read a book in such a way as to enjoy the pleasure of the language; in the second part, she teaches writers how to improve their writing-to make every word earn its place.
In the first part,Prose teaches you how to break down a piece of fiction to the smallest pieces and then appreciate how those pieces are built up into a large, wonderful structure: the novel. Once you appreciate that, and can read with an eye that appreciates that beauty, taking your time, and savoring the author's ability.
In the second part, Prose confronts a lot of "rules" about writing, knocking them down with powerful examples. What you are left with is probably Prose's chief rule: it's about finding an original voice. If a writer can focus on interesting word choice, groundbreaking detail, and contrarian paths, they can surprise readers in a wonderful way. Finally, she concludes with a list of 100 books that should be read immediately.
This book probably appeals to a small group of writers and word nerds. If you fall within that group, you can probably put this book to use, even if it is a bit dry.
I highly recommend!
Top international reviews
We live in a throw away world increasingly dominated by speed. No time to write or punctuate so 'txt spk rls'...convenience of time over content so if it's fast it must be good. Not always so.
I'm an avid reader. Now, mostly for pleasure but previously I'd acquired fast/speed reading skills to assimilate large amounts of work related text. Mostly dry, policy related documents or technical background data. Speed reading is great for that; skim the whole, identify and absorb the salient bits, move over the rest.
The principles explored here turn a number of concepts on their head. Like a fine or good wine, reading is something to be savoured not gulped. Reading for pleasure should be an emotive experience where words reach into the soul. Even a simple sentence can strike a chord. This book encourages the reader to step back, slow down and think. What was the author trying to achieve? What are they saying? How are they saying it?
In part it took me back some years to a time where an exam book was almost a line by line dissection of any narrative text. Clinical but thought provoking. This book examines similar principles in a more productive and positive way. As a reader, I found it affirming, helpful and instructive. I've often resisted fast reading for pleasure and this book confirms what may be missed and why. For writers, there's a whole different perspective on how to truly engaged with readers.
Really enjoyed the content and the easy but not patronising approach so it's a 5 star winner for that.
As stated, not all bad. Good tips now and then. But I won't be referring back to this in a hurry.
The book is also filled with other tips to improve writing skills as well as various different styles to help improve writing. Very nice and helpful book, but not entirely sure most of the tips will be that useful to the writers in Britain though.
I plan to use this book as a reference for my next writing venture.
Totally recommend for anyone doing an MA in creative writing
Highly recommend to anyone with an urge to write.