Book #5-The Writing Life by Annie Dillard

The Writing Life is a very small book—only 111 pages—that has been in my bookcase for many years. Its author, Annie Dillard, is well known in literary circles. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her 1975 book, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and was included in Random House’s survey of the century’s 100 best nonfiction books. Her books have been translated into at least ten languages.

The back cover of The Writing Life is filled with glowing praise, such as this quote from the Philadelphia Inquirer: “We may fairly ask that a book about writing be, itself, a work of art. And that is what Dillard offers… Anyone hoping to see inside the process of literary artistry is unlikely to find a more lucid, sensitive or poetic view.” The Cleveland Plain-Dealer described her advice to writers as “encouraging and invigorating.” Read more ›

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Book #4 – Eats, Shoots, & Leaves by Lynne Truss

Whoever could have predicted that a grammar book would become a New York Times bestseller and stay on that esteemed list for twenty-five weeks? Certainly not Lynne Truss, the author, or her mother who suggested that she put a sticker on the front cover: “For the select few.” More amazing still is that it was a bestseller in two countries: first in the United Kingdom where the author lived and worked, and, then, in the United States where readers would have to fight their way through some very British spelling and punctuation. Read more ›

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Book #3-On Writing Well by William Zinsser

What Stephen King is to fiction, William Zinsser is to nonfiction—in other words, the undisputed authority. His seminal book, On Writing Well, has been my personal bible for the thirty years it has been in print. Zinsser was “the real deal”—a journalist, writer, editor, and teacher. He taught at Yale, the New School in New York, and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He wrote eighteen books, including On Writing Well, which sold more than 1.5 million copies and should be on every writer’s bookshelf. He died ninety-two, leaving an unfillable hole in the literary world.

On Writing Well is broken into four sections: Writing Principles, Methods, Forms, and Attitudes. As in the classroom, in this book, Zinsser’s purpose was to teach “how to write about people and places, science and technology, history and medicine, business and education, sports and the arts, and everything else under the sun that’s waiting to be written about.” Read more ›

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Book #2-On Writing by Stephen King

At the top of most writers’ list of must-own books is Stephen King’s On Writing. Yes, Stephen King—author of Carrie, The Shining, The Stand, Misery, and fifty-four other novels, six nonfiction books, and about two hundred short stories. If anyone should be able to speak about writing, it is Stephen King.

The first half of the book is a memoir. King describes his childhood as “a fogged-out landscape in which occasional memories appear like isolated trees.”

The nine months King should have spent in the first grade, he spent in bed. His problems started with the measles—a perfectly ordinary case—and then got steadily worse … In that year he spent either in bed or housebound, he read his way through approximately six tons of comic books, progressed to Tom Swift and Dave Dawson, then moved on to Jack London’s bloodcurdling animal tales. At some point, he began to write his own stories. Read more ›

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Book #1-Write and Grow Rich

I am excited to kick off Bobbi’s Bookshelf with the book I am reading right now—Write and Grow Rich: Secrets of Successful Authors and Publishers (Exclusive Tips from Publishing Experts) by Alinka Rutkowska and Adam Houge. Of course, the title grabbed me right away because it is a takeoff on Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, the all-time best-seller in its field and one that has influenced more people than perhaps any other business book.

This is part of Amazon’s description of the book: “Write and Grow Rich is a jam-packed handbook for making your words worth more than you ever dreamed possible. If you like expert guidance, multiple points of view, and down-to-earth education from entrepreneurs who’ve made it, then you’ll love Alinka Rutkowska’s authorpreneurial anthology.” Read more ›

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