Alex and Books 📚
I asked, "What's the best book on writing that you've read?" Twitter came through with some amazing recommendations. Here are 20 books that will help you go from amateur to professional writer: (thread) 🧵
Book mentions in this thread
Bird by Bird
by Anne LamottBird by Bird is the bible of writing guides - a wry, honest, down-to-earth book that has never stopped selling since it was first published in the United States in the 1990s. Bestselling novelist and memoirist Anne Lamott distils what she's learned over years of trial and error. Beautifully written, wise and immensely helpful, this is the book for all serious writers and writers-to-be.
Writing Tools (10th Anniversary Edition)
by Roy Peter ClarkA special 10th anniversary edition of Roy Peter Clark's bestselling guide to writing, featuring five bonus tools. Ten years ago, Roy Peter Clark, America's most influential writing teacher, whittled down almost thirty years of experience in journalism, writing, and teaching into a series of fifty short essays on different aspects of writing. In the past decade, Writing Tools has become a classic guidebook for novices and experts alike and remains one of the best loved books on writing available. Organized into four sections, "Nuts and Bolts," "Special Effects," "Blueprints for Stories," and "Useful Habits," Writing Tools is infused with more than 200 examples from journalism and literature. This new edition includes five brand new, never-before-shared tools. Accessible, entertaining, inspiring, and above all, useful for every type of writer, from high school student to novelist, Writing Tools is essential reading.
Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh!t
by Steven PressfieldFROM THE AUTHOR OF THE WAR OF ART ...There's a mantra that real writers know that wannabe writers don't. And the secret phrase is this: NOBODY WANTS TO READ YOUR SH*TRecognizing that painful truth is the first step in the writer's transformation from amateur to professional. "When you understand that nobody wants to read your shit, you develop empathy. You acquire the skill that is indispensable to all artists and entrepreneurs--the ability to switch back and forth in your imagination from your own point of view as writer/painter/seller to the point of view of your reader/gallery-goer/customer. You learn to ask yourself with every sentence and every phrase: Is this interesting? Is it fun or challenging or inventive? Am I giving the reader enough? Is she bored? Is she following where I want to lead her?"
The War of Art
by Steven Pressfield"In this powerful, straight-from-the-hip examination of the internal obstacles to success, bestselling author Steven Pressfield shows readers how to identify, defeat, and unlock the inner barriers to creativity. The War of Art is an inspirational, funny, well-aimed kick in the pants guaranteed to galvanize every would-be artist, visionary, or entrepreneur." --from back cover.
100 Ways to Improve Your Writing (Updated)
by Gary ProvostThe classic text on writing well, now refreshed and updated—an essential text for writers of all ages. This is the one guide that anyone who writes—whether student, businessperson, or professional writer—should keep on his or her desk. Filled with professional tips and a wealth of instructive examples, 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing can help solve any writing problem. In this compact, easy-to-use volume you'll find the eternal building blocks of good writing—from grammar and punctuation to topic sentences—as well as advice on challenges such as writer's block and creating a strong title. It is a must-have resource—perfect for reading cover to cover, or just for keeping on hand for instant reference—now updated and refreshed for the first time.
If You Want to Write
by Brenda UelandBrenda Ueland was a journalist, editor, freelance writer, and teacher of writing. In If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit she shares her philosophies on writing and life in general. Ueland firmly believed that anyone can write, that everyone is talented, original, and has something important to say. In this book she explains how find that spark that will make you a great writer. Carl Sandburg called this book the best book ever written about how to write. Join the millions of others who've found inspiration and unlocked their own talent.
Do I Make Myself Clear?
by Harold EvansHarold Evans has edited everything from the urgent files of battlefield reporters to the complex thought processes of Henry Kissinger, and he has been knighted for his services to journalism. In Do I Make Myself Clear?, his definitive guide to writing well, Evans brings his indispensable insight to the art of clear communication. The right words are oxygen to our ideas, but the digital era, with all of its TTYL, LMK and WTF, has been cutting off that oxygen flow. The compulsion to be precise has vanished from our culture, and in writing of all kinds we see a trend towards more - more speed and more information, but far less clarity. Evans provides practical examples of how editing and rewriting can make for better communication, even in the digital age. Do I Make Myself Clear? is an essential text, and one that will provide every reader an editor at their shoulder.
Writing That Works; How to Communicate Effectively In Business
by Kenneth RomanThe classic guide that helps you communicate your thoughts clearly, concisely, and effectively. Essential for every professional, from entry level to the executive suite, Writing that Works includes advice on all aspects of written communication—including business memos, letters, reports, speeches and resumes, and e-mail—and offers insights into political correctness and tips for using non-biased language that won’t compromise your message. Concise and easy-to-use, Writing that Works features an accessible, at-a-glance style, full of bulleted "tips" and specific examples of good vs. bad writing. With dozens of samples and useful tips for composition, Writing That Works will show you how to improve anything you write: E-mails, memos and letters that get read—and get action Proposals, recommendations, and presentations that sell ideas Plans and reports that get things done Fund-raising and sales letters that produce results Resumes and letters that lead to interviews Speeches that make a point And much more.
Clear and Simple as the Truth
by Francis-Noël ThomasEveryone talks about style, but no one explains it. The authors of this book do; and in doing so, they provoke the reader to consider style, not as an elegant accessory of effective prose, but as its very heart. At a time when writing skills have virtually disappeared, what can be done? If only people learned the principles of verbal correctness, the essential rules, wouldn't good prose simply fall into place? Thomas and Turner say no. Attending to rules of grammar, sense, and sentence structure will no more lead to effective prose than knowing the mechanics of a golf swing will lead to a hole-in-one. Furthermore, ten-step programs to better writing exacerbate the problem by failing to recognize, as Thomas and Turner point out, that there are many styles with different standards. In the first half of Clear and Simple, the authors introduce a range of styles--reflexive, practical, plain, contemplative, romantic, prophetic, and others--contrasting them to classic style. Its principles are simple: The writer adopts the pose that the motive is truth, the purpose is presentation, the reader is an intellectual equal, and the occasion is informal. Classic style is at home in everything from business memos to personal letters, from magazine articles to university writing. The second half of the book is a tour of examples--the exquisite and the execrable--showing what has worked and what hasn't. Classic prose is found everywhere: from Thomas Jefferson to Junichirō Tanizaki, from Mark Twain to the observations of an undergraduate. Here are many fine performances in classic style, each clear and simple as the truth. Originally published in 1994. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
The Elements of Eloquence
by Mark ForsythFROM THE AUTHOR OF THE SUNDAY TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER THE ETYMOLOGICON. 'An informative but highly entertaining journey through the figures of rhetoric ... Mark Forsyth wears his considerable knowledge lightly. He also writes beautifully.' David Marsh, Guardian. Mark Forsyth presents the secret of writing unforgettable phrases, uncovering the techniques that have made immortal such lines as 'To be or not to be' and 'Bond. James Bond.' In his inimitably entertaining and witty style, he takes apart famous quotations and shows how you too can write like Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde or John Lennon. Crammed with tricks to make the most humdrum sentiments seem poetic or wise, The Elements of Eloquencereveals how writers through the ages have turned humble words into literary gold - and how you can do the same.