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Secret Windows: Essays and Fiction on the Craft of Writing Hardcover – 2000

4.6 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 433 pages
  • Publisher: Book-of-the-Month Club; 1st edition (2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0165006439
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965006439
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 2.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #401,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Someone once said, I think it was in fact King himself, with his sense of irony polished that he could write a grocery list and it would be a bestseller. The fact of the matter is King's writing is honest as Straub says in an elegant introduction, which is what inspires legions of fans to want to read everything available that he has written be it fiction or non-fiction.

SECRET WINDOWS is set up as a book of the month club companion piece to King's bestselling memoir/how-to guide ON WRITING. Apart from a very heartfelt ode in the introduction by King's fellow master of horror and collaborator Straub it contains various essays and short works of fiction dedicated to the art of writing. The dates of the pieces in the collection range from when Stephen was a wee lad of 12 writing for his brother's paper to the time of publication. There are some well known pieces, such as short stories that have later been published in his Everything's Eventual anthology, and an excerpt from his other well-known non-fiction piece Danse Macabre to some real hidden gems that have never been published before. One of these gems is a short talk/essay on banned books. Another is great opening lines that are favourite of King's.

In Secret Windows, just like in his fiction King's integrity shines through; he claims not to be the best novelist around even if he sells better than some but always promises to deliver the best story he knows how to write. His humour is evident in these pages even when it is self-deprecating and as a reader his same conversational tone that soaks his other works is present here as well. Danse Macabre was not the perfect book, On Writing is not the perfect book and no even Secret Windows is not the perfect book but it is darn close especially when read in conjunction with On Writing.
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Format: Hardcover
Secret Windows is a companion book to On Writing released by Book-of-the-Month Club, a 430-page collection of all sorts of Stephen King items, from essays, to interviews, to anthology introductions, and even including a previously unpublished short story. An important fact to know before purchasing is that over half of the material in the book can be found in other works dedicated King fans will already have on their shelves. It has about 200 pages of tough-to-find or unpublished work, and the rest comes from Danse Macabre, Night Shift, and Everything's Eventual. Danse Macabre, in fact, is featured with a 160-page "excerpt" (now that's stretching the term to its limits), but the interesting quality here is in how these pieces are presented. Reading them in a collection ties them together thematically and provides an overall view of King's conscious approach, as well as the subconscious underpinnings, to his writing. I'd be hard-pressed to find a reason why people who enjoyed On Writing wouldn't also be impressed with Secret Windows.

Highlights for me include the stories King wrote for his brother's newspaper, Dave's Rag, in 1959-60, complete with a copy of the original December 29, 1959 edition's cover page; the "Ten Bears" article from Writer's Digest, 1973, explaining some of the basics of horror writing; the brief "How IT Happened," from '86 describing what inspired King to write It; and an excellent lecture on book-banning to the Virginia Beach Public Library in 1986, among others. This is a unique collection that I think a majority of King fans would appreciate if they knew about it. It's too bad it wasn't published for mass market.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you enjoyed King’s "On Writing," you will like this as well. Some of the articles are redundant, simply because King tells the same stories repeatedly, but that is what readers want. There are many more stories though that continue to motivate and teach the aspiring writer. If you want to read 160 pages of King’s thoughts on horror fiction, prior to 1981, you don’t need to buy "Danse Macabre;" it’s here. I enjoyed several of the interviews and short stories not found elsewhere. Although most of these articles are published in other works, this serves its purpose, to put everything in one volume.
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Format: Hardcover
Secret Windows is a companion book to On Writing released by Book-of-the-Month Club, a 430-page collection of all sorts of Stephen King items, from essays, to interviews, to anthology introductions, and even including a previously unpublished short story. An important fact to know before purchasing is that over half of the material in the book can be found in other works dedicated King fans will already have on their shelves. It has about 200 pages of tough-to-find or unpublished work, and the rest comes from Danse Macabre, Night Shift, and Everything's Eventual. Danse Macabre, in fact, is featured with a 160-page "excerpt" (now that's stretching the term to its limits), but the interesting quality here is in how these pieces are presented. Reading them in a collection ties them together thematically and provides an overall view of King's conscious approach, as well as the subconscious underpinnings, to his writing. I'd be hard-pressed to find a reason why people who enjoyed On Writing wouldn't also be impressed with Secret Windows.

Highlights for me include the stories King wrote for his brother's newspaper, Dave's Rag, in 1959-60, complete with a copy of the original December 29, 1959 edition's cover page; the "Ten Bears" article from Writer's Digest, 1973, explaining some of the basics of horror writing; the brief "How IT Happened," from '86 describing what inspired King to write It; and an excellent lecture on book-banning to the Virginia Beach Public Library in 1986, among others. This is a unique collection that I think a majority of King fans would appreciate if they knew about it. It's too bad it wasn't published for mass market.
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