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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.)

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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.) Cover

 

Staff Pick

Reading Like a Writer is a treasure chest. You can crack it open at any chapter and come away enriched. Prose is one of the best teachers around, and for the price of a paperback, you are getting an Ivy League education in writing. For people who love books, Prose will enhance their reading experience. The list of books "to be read immediately" is a great collection of old and new classics. For writers, the book is nothing short of a revelation.
Recommended by Beth, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Long before there were creative-writing workshops and degrees, how did aspiring writers learn to write? By reading the work of their predecessors and contemporaries, says Francine Prose.

In Reading Like a Writer, Prose invites you to sit by her side and take a guided tour of the tools and the tricks of the masters. She reads the work of the very best writers — Dostoyevsky, Flaubert, Kafka, Austen, Dickens, Woolf, Chekhov — and discovers why their work has endured. She takes pleasure in the long and magnificent sentences of Philip Roth and the breathtaking paragraphs of Isaac Babel; she is deeply moved by the brilliant characterization in George Eliot's Middlemarch. She looks to John Le Carré for a lesson in how to advance plot through dialogue, to Flannery O'Connor for the cunning use of the telling detail, and to James Joyce and Katherine Mansfield for clever examples of how to employ gesture to create character. She cautions readers to slow down and pay attention to words, the raw material out of which literature is crafted.

Written with passion, humor, and wisdom, Reading Like a Writer will inspire readers to return to literature with a fresh eye and an eager heart.

Review:

"The trick to writing, Prose writes, is reading — carefully, deliberately and slowly. While this might seem like a no-brainer, Prose (Blue Angel; A Changed Man) masterfully meditates on how quality reading informs great writing, which will warm the cold, jaded hearts of even the most frustrated, unappreciated and unpublished writers. Chapters treat the nuts and bolts of writing (words, sentences, paragraphs) as well as issues of craft (narration, character, dialogue), all of which Prose discusses using story or novel excerpts. This is where the book truly shines; Prose is remarkably egalitarian in choosing exemplars of fiction: David Gates, Denis Johnson, John le Carr and ZZ Packer, for instance, are considered as seriously as Chekhov, Melville, Flaubert or Babel. Prose insists that 'literature not only breaks the rules, but makes us realize that there are none,' and urges writers to re-read the classics (Chekhov, especially) and view 'reading as something that might move or delight you.' Prose's guide to reading and writing belongs on every writer's bookshelf alongside E.M. Forster's Aspects of the Novel." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Do you really want to read like a writer? Think carefully about the question, book lovers, because you may come to rue the powers you desire. Reading like a writer means reading with a hyper-awareness of craft, analyzing, rather than simply surrendering to, the power of literature. Worshippers of 'The Great Gatsby' will recall Nick Carraway's first sun-splashed glimpse of Daisy Buchanan, but those... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"As the title suggests, this book is likely to find its audience with readers who are also writers or who long to be." Library Journal

Review:

"Like the great works of fiction, it's a wise and voluble companion." New York Times

Review:

"In this excellent guide, Prose explains exactly what she means by 'close reading,' drawing attention to the brick and mortar of outstanding narratives....In the process, she does no less than escort readers to a heightened level of appreciation of great literature." School Library Journal

About the Author

Francine Prose is the critically acclaimed bestselling author of more than twelve novels, including the National Book Award finalist Blue Angel. The recipient of numerous grants and awards, including a Guggenheim and a Fulbright, Francine Prose is a Director's Fellow at the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. She lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Anne Morrow, September 27, 2011 (view all comments by Anne Morrow)
Francine Prose works through writing like a reader taking apart word choice, sentences and paragraphs to demonstrate how to strengthen ones prose work. She has a wide knowledge of great literature and includes a great reading list in the final chapter. She draws on these books, great authors and her own years as a writer and teacher to clearly lead a reader to implementing many strong writing elements.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
abebt, November 13, 2007 (view all comments by abebt)
A great book that examines the intricate details in a novel and suggestions as to how to break different components into fine tuning tools for the novice and expert writers. Also list a good list of starting books to be read for inspiration and technique.
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(25 of 48 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780060777050
Subtitle:
A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them (P.S.)
Author:
Prose, Francine
Author:
by Francine Prose
Author:
by Francine Prose
Publisher:
Harper Perennial
Subject:
Authorship
Subject:
Books & Reading
Subject:
Composition & Creative Writing - General
Subject:
General Literary Criticism & Collections
Subject:
English language
Subject:
Authors
Subject:
English language -- Rhetoric.
Subject:
Creative writing
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Series:
P.S.
Publication Date:
20070431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
7.98x5.58x.78 in. .50 lbs.

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Reference » Books on Books
Reference » Reading
Reference » Writing » General

Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them (P.S.) New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$15.99 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Harper Perennial - English 9780060777050 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Reading Like a Writer is a treasure chest. You can crack it open at any chapter and come away enriched. Prose is one of the best teachers around, and for the price of a paperback, you are getting an Ivy League education in writing. For people who love books, Prose will enhance their reading experience. The list of books "to be read immediately" is a great collection of old and new classics. For writers, the book is nothing short of a revelation.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The trick to writing, Prose writes, is reading — carefully, deliberately and slowly. While this might seem like a no-brainer, Prose (Blue Angel; A Changed Man) masterfully meditates on how quality reading informs great writing, which will warm the cold, jaded hearts of even the most frustrated, unappreciated and unpublished writers. Chapters treat the nuts and bolts of writing (words, sentences, paragraphs) as well as issues of craft (narration, character, dialogue), all of which Prose discusses using story or novel excerpts. This is where the book truly shines; Prose is remarkably egalitarian in choosing exemplars of fiction: David Gates, Denis Johnson, John le Carr and ZZ Packer, for instance, are considered as seriously as Chekhov, Melville, Flaubert or Babel. Prose insists that 'literature not only breaks the rules, but makes us realize that there are none,' and urges writers to re-read the classics (Chekhov, especially) and view 'reading as something that might move or delight you.' Prose's guide to reading and writing belongs on every writer's bookshelf alongside E.M. Forster's Aspects of the Novel." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "As the title suggests, this book is likely to find its audience with readers who are also writers or who long to be."
"Review" by , "Like the great works of fiction, it's a wise and voluble companion."
"Review" by , "In this excellent guide, Prose explains exactly what she means by 'close reading,' drawing attention to the brick and mortar of outstanding narratives....In the process, she does no less than escort readers to a heightened level of appreciation of great literature."
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