Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

What Are The Best Books for Writers?


I can hear a few readers answering that post title: “Depends on the writer…”.

True enough.

What if one is just starting out in a writing career?

What if a writer feels worn-out, deprived of what they thought they knew?

What if your best friend, from Australia, who absolutely loves the periodical Poets & Writers, sent you an email with a link to an article that lists 79 books for writers

Amazing That situation just happened to me, too! :-)

Jane Watson, author of Hindustan Contessa and Manager of Book Island in the virtual world Second Life, sent me the link only about four hours ago—quite a different time of day for her than for me, being a world apart

This list of books for writers, which, if read consecutively, would keep a writer from writing for a good long time, seems well worth checking out, even if you’re an author who’s been around the block hundreds of times

Poets & Writers description: “From the newly published to the invaluable classic, our list of essential books for creative writers.”

I checked it out and found three books I’ve read, many years ago: On Becoming a Novelist by John Gardner, The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers also by John Gardner, and Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg.

One great feature of the list is the links below each description that take you to more info at OpenLibrary, GoodReads, and LibraryThing.

Kind of interesting that Jane should send this link to me right now since I just picked up a used textbook for $5-US called Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama, over 2200 pages thick and holding the place of honor in my bathroom—only the 9th Edition but the current one, 11th, costs $89

[ I know, Jane, I said I wouldn't be reading anything but the notes for my next book till after I publish it but, well, you know how this adamant decider of all things Writing can suddenly change his mind if his Muse gives him a tap :-) ]

So, let’s see

Probably time to give you the link to Poets & Writers Best Books for Writers, eh?

And, all that’s left to say in this post is I’m hoping readers will share the ones they’ve read or want to read in our Comments.
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2 responses to “What Are The Best Books for Writers?

  1. janedarntonwatson August 1, 2012 at 6:50 am

    Thank you, Alex! Well, I read through the list of books and found many I do not have, which surprised me as I am one of those writers who adores reading about the craft, and many I have read, especially some favourites (yeah, I am in Australia, we do spell it like that here) which I am now going to recommend from the list…’Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life’ by Anne Lamott, ‘The Art of Time in Fiction: As Long as It Takes’ by Joan Silber and ‘The Writing Life’ by Annie Dillard.

    I do not have but was intrigued by ‘The Half-Known World: On Writing Fiction’ by Robert Boswell – ‘…which details how important it is for writers to give themselves over to what he calls the “half-known world” of fiction, where surprise and meaning converge.’

    I’d be interested to hear what others have read from this list and can recommend ;) What’s inspired or given you pause for thought from this list in your ‘half-known world’? :)

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai August 1, 2012 at 8:15 am

      Well, ya write about a woman and she shows up and comments :-)

      Thanks, Jane!!

      Like

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