Feb. 7, 2016
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Read It: Reads for Writers

February 27, 2008, 12:00 am
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Take it from the masters.

NAMING THE WORLD: AND OTHER EXERCISES FOR THE CREATIVE WRITER
By Bret Anthony Johnston, editor
Random House ($15)
There are some who argue that one either knows how to write well or doesn�t and there is no way to learn that skill. While Naming the World doesn�t take this stance, it does offer ways for struggling writers to find out if they�ve got the gift. The exercises come from well-known authors such as Joyce Carol Oates and up-and-coming writers such as Steve Almond and Katherine Min. These authors forgo the usual advice to �make a list� or �take a walk.� A typical suggestion comes from Tom Robbins: Use jealousy to inspire great writing.

TELLING TRUE STORIES: A NONFICTION WRITER'S GUIDE FROM THE NIEMAN FOUNDATION AT HARVARD UNIVERSITY
by Mark Kramer and Wendy Call
Plume, ($15)
Storytelling isn�t just for fiction. The genre of narrative non-fiction has gained popularity in the last 50 years and some of the best narrative writers and editors around explain how to find, write and publish the stories. Gay Talese, Tom Wolfe,  Malcolm Gladwell and others look deeply at what�s missing from most news stories, discuss how their experiences as writers and editors have shaped the way they approach stories and, perhaps most importantly, explore their own failures for the benefit of newbies.

ELEMENTS OF STYLE
By William Strunk Jr. and EB White
Illustrated by Maira Kalman
Penguin Press, ($24.95)
The classic little book that explores those oh-so-important grammatical issues has gotten a fun makeover. Maira Kalman�s 57 watercolor illustrations add life and color to the examples. �Polly loves cake more than she loves me� illustrates the proper way to write out �understood� verbs. A picture of a woman swooning over a lovely pink cake while her suitor swoons over her shows this rule perfectly.


 

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