Reading Like A Writer

Reading Like A Writer

A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them

Book - 2006 | 1st ed.
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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.

Publisher: New York : HarperCollins, c2006.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780060777043
Branch Call Number: 808.02 P966
Characteristics: 273 p.


From the critics

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Oct 27, 2019

I suspect that this book won't really help people be better writers. But it will probably encourage people to slow down a bit when reading literary classics, and to pay attention to more than just their plots.

It's true that Prose doesn't really talk much about genre fiction (except for a couple of references to Raymond Chandler) but I think that's fine. She writes what she knows, and there are plenty of other books out there focusing on what makes genre fiction great.

Jan 23, 2019

austin klein.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 02, 2016

Informative and relevant to serious writers.

superman4 Nov 07, 2014

This book helped me understand that reading and writing doesn't need to be made in the classroom.

Oct 11, 2014

Rush, rush, rush. When it comes to reading and the enjoyment of literature, the maxim we're taught is to read more and to read faster. Rejecting that rushed approach, Francine Prose in Reading Like a Writer argues that it's better to slow down and pay attention. To linger and savor, not just mindlessly consume. The idea of close reading might turn a lot of people off but to Prose's credit she makes the process a delightful one. (I wish I had read this as an undergrad!) Taking passages from various works, Prose breaks down what each writer does and achieves, closely examining the language used and how it expresses mood, character, and themes. You'll never look at these works the same way again.

Overall, Reading Like a Writer is must-read for any serious reader (and writer).

AmandaVollmershausen Jul 10, 2013

The purpose of this book could probably have been expressed in half of a chapter. The subject belongs more as a unit in a University Writer's Craft Course than it does in a book unto itself. Like the comment before mine, I agree that it's okay, but not great. The style it's written in irritated me-somehow I kept getting the vibe that the writer was looking down on everyone who would be reading her book. I found the examples given to be overindulgent, and the perspective on the subject as a whole very close minded. I couldn't finish it.

Sep 19, 2011

Recommended via a blog, OK, but not great. Finishes with a list of "read now!" books - 3 pages worth. Really??

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