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Reading like a writer : a guide for people who love books and for those who want
Prose, Francine
Adult Nonfiction PE1408 .P774 2006

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Savard has a pleasant voice, a good vocal range and the important ability to emphasize for clarity and drama. She's especially good at the long and very varied quotes Prose has selected to illustrate the elements of "close reading," i.e., paying careful attention to words, sentences, paragraphs, narration, character, dialogue, details and gesture (her chapter headings). Prose has taught writing classes for more than 20 years and published 14 books. To be a good writer-or a good reader-she argues, you must develop the ability to focus on language and explore line by line how the best writers use each element of language to create unique and powerful people and stories. She pulls out words and phrases from various authors to show us, for example, precisely how Flannery O'Connor creates "the literary equivalent of a fireworks display" while Alice Munro "writes with the simplicity and beauty of a Shaker box." This is a an excellent listen that belongs in any reader's or writer's library next to Strunk and White's The Elements of Style. Simultaneous release with the Harper Perennial paperback (Reviews, Apr. 24, 2006). (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Prose, known for her novels (e.g., Blue Angel), as well as her nonfiction (e.g., Caravaggio: Painter of Miracles), presents a short volume that serves as literary criticism, as a writing guide, and as an ode to the value of careful reading. Prose devotes a chapter each to eight elements of writing: words, sentences, paragraphs, narration, character, dialog, details, and gesture. These chapters are framed by an opening piece that urges close reading as most productive for writers; a chapter devoted to Chekhov, particularly his short stories, as translated by Constance Garnett; and a closing chapter, "Reading for Courage." Throughout, Prose focuses on what makes great fiction, mixing personal narrative with plentiful quotations from her favored writers, including both the big names generally encountered in such books (Joyce, Woolf, Mansfield, Flannery O'Connor, Melville, Austen, Paul Bowles, and Raymond Carver) and writers like Tatyana Tolstaya, Paula Fox, and Rex Stout. As the title suggests, this book is likely to find its audience with readers who are also writers or who long to be. Those who simply "love books" but do not have interest in the excruciating process behind their creation will not find the same value here. As a result, this book may have a narrow audience but one that will find much to enjoy. Prose also includes a suggested reading list. Recommended for academic and large public libraries. Stacey Brownlie, Lititz P.L., PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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