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Blog • Perfecting your Craft

Last updated on May 31, 2022

The 40 Best Books About Writing: A Reading List for Authors

For this post, we’ve scoured the web (so you don’t have to) and asked our community of writers for recommendations on some indispensable books about writing. We've filled this list with dozens of amazing titles, all of which are great — but this list might seem intimidating. So for starters, here are our top 10 books about writing:

  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • The Kick-Ass Writer by Chuck Wendig
  • Dreyer’s Englis h by Benjamin Dreyer
  • The Elements of Style by Strunk, White, and Kalman
  • The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne
  • A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders
  • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
  • Mouth Full of Blood by Toni Morrison
  • How to Market a Book by Ricardo Fayet
  • On Writing Well by William Zinsser

But if you're ready to get into the weeds, here are 40 of our favorite writing books.

Books about becoming a writer

1. on writing by stephen king.

books writing and reading

Perhaps the most-cited book on this list, On Writing is part-memoir, part-masterclass from one of America’s leading authors. Come for the vivid accounts of his childhood and youth — including his extended "lost weekend" spent on alcohol and drugs in the 1980s. Stay for the actionable advice on how to use your emotions and experiences to kickstart your writing, hone your skills, and become an author. Among the many craft-based tips are King’s expert takes on plot, story, character, and more.

From the book: “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” 

2. The Kick-Ass Writer by Chuck Wendig

If you haven’t checked out Wendig’s personal blog, head over there now and bookmark it. Unfiltered, profane, and almost always right, Wendig’s become a leading voice among online writing communities in the past few years. In The Kick-Ass Writer , he offers over 1,000 pearls of wisdom for authors, ranging from express writing tips to guidance on getting published. Written to be read in short bursts, we’re sure he’d agree that this is the perfect bathroom book for writers.

From the book: “I have been writing professionally for a lucky-despite-the-number 13 years. Not once — seriously, not once ever — has anyone ever asked me where I got my writing degree… Nobody gives two ferrets fornicating in a filth-caked gym sock whether or not you have a degree… The only thing that matters is, Can you write well? ” 

3. Find Your Voice by Angie Thomas

Taking advice from famous authors is not about imitation, but about finding your own voice . Take it from someone who knows: Thomas is the New York Times #1 Bestselling author of The Hate U Give , On the Come Up , and Concrete Rose . While she’s found her calling in YA literature , she has plenty of insight into finding your own voice in your genre of choice. Written in the form of a guided journal, this volume comes with step-by-step instructions, writing prompts, and exercises especially aimed at helping younger creatives develop the strength and skills to realize their vision.

From the book: “Write fearlessly. Write what is true and real to you.” 

4. The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner

Since its publication in 2000, The Forest for the Trees has remained an essential resource for authors at various stages in their careers. As an editor, Lerner gives advice not only on producing quality content, but also on how to build your career as an author and develop a winning routine — like how writers can be more productive in their creative process, how to get published , and how to publish well . 

From the book: “The world doesn't fully make sense until the writer has secured his version of it on the page. And the act of writing is strangely more lifelike than life.”

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5. How to Write Like Tolstoy by Richard Cohen

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From the book: “Great writers can be inhibiting, and maybe after one has read a Scott Fitzgerald or Henry James one can’t escape imitat­ing them; but more often such writers are inspiring.”

6. Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith

Smith is well-known for her fiction, but she is also a prolific essay writer. In Feel Free , she has gathered several essays on recent cultural and political developments and combined them with experiences from her own life and career. In “The I Who Is Not Me”, she explores how her own lived experience comes into play in her fiction writing, and how she manages to extrapolate that to comment on contemporary social contexts, discussing race, class, and ethnicity.

From the book: “Writing exists (for me) at the intersection of three precarious, uncertain elements: language, the world, the self. The first is never wholly mine; the second I can only ever know in a partial sense; the third is a malleable and improvised response to the previous two.”

Books about language and style 

7. dreyer’s english by benjamin dreyer.

A staple book about writing well, Dreyer’s English serves as a one-stop guide to proper English, based on the knowledge that Dreyer — a senior copy editor at Random House — has accumulated throughout his career. From punctuation to tricky homophones, passive voice, and commas, the goal of these tools should be to facilitate effective communication of ideas and thoughts. Dreyer delivers this and then some, but not without its due dosage of humor and informative examples. 

From the book: “A good sentence, I find myself saying frequently, is one that the reader can follow from beginning to end, no matter how long it is, without having to double back in confusion because the writer misused or omitted a key piece of punctuation, chose a vague or misleading pronoun, or in some other way engaged in inadvertent misdirection.”

8. The Elements of Style (Illustrated) by William Strunk, Jr., E. B. White, and Maira Kalman

books writing and reading

A perfect resource for visual learners, this illustrated edition of The Elements of Style has taken the classic style manual to a new, more accessible level but kept its main tenet intact: make every word tell. The written content by Strunk and White has long been referred to as an outline of the basic principles of style. Maira Kalman’s illustrations elevate the experience and make it a feast for both the mind and the eye. 

From the book: “A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.”

9. Sin and Syntax by Constance Hale

If you’re looking to bring a bit of spunk into your writing, copy editor Constance Hale may hold the key . Whether you’re writing a work-related email or the next rap anthem, she has one goal: to make creative communication available to everyone by dispelling old writing myths and making every word count. Peppered with writing prompts and challenges, this book will have you itching to put pen to paper.

From the book: “Verbose is not a synonym for literary.”

10. The Sense of Style by Steven Pinker

Combining entertainment with intellectual pursuit, Pinker, a cognitive scientist and dictionary consultant, explores and rethinks language usage in the 21st century . With illustrative examples of both great and not-so-great linguistic constructions, Pinker breaks down the art of writing and gives a gentle but firm nudge in the right direction, towards coherent yet stylish prose. This is not a polemic on the decay of the English language, nor a recitation of pet peeves, but a thoughtful, challenging, and practical take on the science of communication. 

From the book: “Why is so much writing so bad, and how can we make it better? Is the English language being corrupted by texting and social media? Do the kids today even care about good writing—and why should we care?”

11. Eats, Shoots, & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss

books writing and reading

From the book: “A panda walks into a cafe. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air. "Why?" asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife annual and tosses it over his shoulder. "I'm a panda," he says, at the door. "Look it up." The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation. Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.”

Books about story structure

12. save the cat by blake snyder.

Best known as a screenwriting manual, Save the Cat! is just as often named by authors as one of their most influential books about writing. The title comes from the tried-and-true trope of the protagonist doing something heroic in the first act (such as saving a cat) in order to win over the audience. Yes, it might sound trite to some — but others swear by its bulletproof beat sheet. More recently, there has been Save the Cat! Writes a Novel , which tailors its principles specifically to the literary crowd. (For a concise breakdown of the beat sheet, check this post out!)

From the book: “Because liking the person we go on a journey with is the single most important element in drawing us into the story.” 

13. The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne

Shawn Coyne is a veteran editor with over 25 years of publishing experience, and he knows exactly what works and what doesn’t in a story — indeed, he’s pretty much got it down to a science. The Story Grid: What Good Editors Know outlines Coyne’s original “Story Grid” evaluation technique, which both writers and editors can use to appraise, revise, and ultimately improve their writing (in order to get it ready for publication). Coyne and his friend Tim Grahl also co-host the acclaimed Story Grid podcast , another great resource for aspiring writers.

From the book: “The Story Grid is a tool with many applications. It pinpoints problems but does not emotionally abuse the writer… it is a tool to re-envision and resuscitate a seemingly irredeemable pile of paper stuck in an attack drawer, and it can inspire an original creation.”

14. Story Structure Architect by Victoria Schmidt

For those who find the idea of improvising utterly terrifying and prefer the security of structures, this book breaks down just about every kind of story structure you’ve ever heard of. Victoria Schmidt offers no less than fifty-five different creative paths for your story to follow — some of which are more unconventional, or outright outlandish than others. The level of detail here is pretty staggering: Schmidt goes into the various conflicts, subplots, and resolutions these different story structures entail — with plenty of concrete examples! Suffice to say that no matter what kind of story you’re writing, you’ll find a blueprint for it in Story Structure Architect .

From the book: “When you grow up in a Westernized culture, the traditional plot structure becomes so embedded in your subconscious that you may have to work hard to create a plot structure that deviates from it… Understand this and keep your mind open when reading [this book]. Just because a piece doesn’t conform to the model you are used to, does not make it bad or wrong.”

15. The Writer's Journey  by Christopher Vogler

Moving on, we hone in on the mythic structure. Vogler’s book, originally published in 1992, is now a modern classic of writing advice; though intended as a screenwriting textbook, its contents apply to any story of mythic proportions. In The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers , Vogler takes a page (literally) from Joseph Campbell’s Hero of a Thousand Faces to ruminate upon the most essential narrative structures and character archetypes of the writing craft. So if you’re thinking of drawing up an epic fantasy series full of those tropes we all know and love, this guide should be right up your alley.

From the book: “The Hero’s Journey is not an invention, but an observation. It is a recognition of a beautiful design… It’s difficult to avoid the sensation that the Hero’s Journey exists somewhere, somehow, as an external reality, a Platonic ideal form, a divine model. From this model, infinite and highly varied copies can be produced, each resonating with the essential spirit of the form.”

16. Story Genius by Lisa Cron

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From the book: “We don't turn to story to escape reality. We turn to story to navigate reality.”

17. A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders

More than just a New York Times bestseller and the winner of the Booker Prize, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain is a distillation of the MFA class on Russian short stories that Saunders has been teaching. Breaking down narrative functions and why we become immersed in a story, this is a must-read for anyone wanting to understand and nurture our continued need for fiction.

From the book: “We’re going to enter seven fastidiously constructed scale models of the world, made for a specific purpose that our time maybe doesn’t fully endorse but that these writers accepted implicitly as the aim of art—namely, to ask the big questions, questions like, How are we supposed to be living down here? What were we put here to accomplish? What should we value? What is truth, anyway, and how might we recognize it?”

Books about overcoming obstacles as a writer

18. bird by bird by anne lamott .

Like Stephen King’s book about writing craft, this work from acclaimed novelist and nonfiction writer Anne Lamott also fuses elements of a memoir with invaluable advice on the writer’s journey. Particularly known for popularizing the concept of “shitty first drafts”, Bird by Bird was recently recommended by editor Jennifer Hartmann in her Reedsy Live webinar for its outlook take on book writing. She said, “This book does exactly what it says it will do: it teaches you to become a better writer. [Lamott] is funny and witty and very knowledgeable.”

From the book: “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft.”

19. Take Off Your Pants by Libbie Hawker 

books writing and reading

From the book: “When it comes to the eternal quandary of pantsing or plotting, you can keep a foot in each camp. But if your goals will require you to write with speed and confidence, an effective outline will be your best friend.”

20. Writing into the Dark by Dean Wesley Smith 

And for those who eschew structure altogether, we’ll now refer you to this title from profile science fiction author Dean Wesley Smith . Having authored a number of official Star Trek novels, he definitely knows what he’s talking about when he encourages writers to go boldly into the unknown with an approach to writing books that doesn’t necessarily involve an elaborate plan. It might not be your action plan, but it can be a fresh perspective to get out of the occasional writer’s block .

From the book: “Imagine if every novel you picked up had a detailed outline of the entire plot… Would you read the novel after reading the outline? Chances are, no. What would be the point? You already know the journey the writer is going to take you on. So, as a writer, why do an outline and then have to spend all that time creating a book you already know?”

21. No Plot, No Problem by Chris Baty

If you’re procrastinating to the point where you haven’t even started your novel yet, NaNo founder Chris Baty is your guy! No Plot, No Problem is a “low-stress, high-velocity” guide to writing a novel in just 30 days (yup, it’s great prep for the NaNoWriMo challenge ). You’ll get tons of tips on how to survive this rigorous process, from taking advantage of your initial momentum to persisting through moments of doubt . Whether you’re participating in everyone’s favorite November write-a-thon or you just want to bang out a novel that’s been in your head forever, Baty will help you cross that elusive finish line.

From the book: “A rough draft is best written in the steam-cooker of an already busy life. If you have a million things to do, adding item number 1,000,001 is not such a big deal.”

22. The 90-Day Novel by Alan Watt

And for those who think 30 days is a bit too steam cooker-esque, there’s always Alan Watt’s more laid-back option. In The 90-Day Novel , Watt provides a unique three-part process to assist you with your writing. The first part provides assistance in developing your story’s premise, the second part helps you work through obstacles to execute it, and the third part is full of writing exercises to unlock the “primal forces” of your story — aka the energy that will invigorate your work and incite readers to devour it like popcorn at the movies.

From the book: “Why we write is as important as what we write. Grammar, punctuation, and syntax are fairly irrelevant in the first draft. Get the story down… fast. Get out of your head, so you can surprise yourself on the page.”

23. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

If you feel like you’re constantly in the trenches of your “inner creative battle,” The War of Art is the book for you. Pressfield emphasizes the importance of breaking down creative barriers — what he calls “Resistance” — in order to defeat your demons (i.e. procrastination, self-doubt, etc.) and fulfill your potential. Though some of his opinions are no doubt controversial (he makes repeated claims that almost anything can be procrastination, including going to the doctor), this book is the perfect remedy for prevaricating writers who need a little bit of tough love.

From the book: “Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”

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Books about writing as a lifestyle and career

24. steal like an artist by austin kleon.

As Kleon notes in the first section of Steal Like an Artist , this title obviously doesn’t refer to plagiarism. Rather, it acknowledges that art cannot be created in a vacuum, and encourages writers (and all other artists) to be open and receptive to all sources of inspiration. By “stealing like an artist,” writers can construct stories that already have a baseline of familiarity for readers, but with new twists that keep them fresh and exciting .

From the book: “If we’re free from the burden of trying to be completely original, we can stop trying to make something out of nothing, and we can embrace influence instead of running away from it.”

25. Mouth Full of Blood by Toni Morrison

books writing and reading

From the book: “A writer's life and work are not a gift to mankind; they are its necessity.”

26. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

No matter what stage you’re at in your writing career, Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones will help you write more skillfully and creatively. With suggestions, encouragement, and valuable advice on the many aspects of the writing craft, Goldberg doesn’t shy away from making the crucial connection between writing and adding value to your life. Covering a range of topics including taking notes of your initial thoughts, listening, overcoming doubt, choosing where to write, and the selection of your verbs, this guide has plenty to say about the minute details of writing, but excels at exploring the author life.

From the book: “Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.”

27. Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

What does it take to become a great author? According to the beloved writer Ray Bradbury , it takes zest, gusto, curiosity, as well as a spirit of adventure. Sharing his wisdom and experiences as one of the most prolific writers in America, Bradbury gives plenty of practical tips and tricks on how to develop ideas, find your voice, and create your own style in this thoughtful volume. In addition to that, this is also an insight into the life and mind of this prolific writer, and a celebration of the act of writing. 

From the book: “Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a land mine. The land mine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces back together. Now, it's your turn. Jump!”

28. The Kite and the String by Alice Mattison

One of the most common dilemmas an author faces is the struggle between spontaneity and control. Literary endeavors need those unexpected light-bulb moments, but a book will never be finished if you rely solely on inspiration. In The Kite and the String , Mattison has heard your cry for help and developed a guide for balancing these elements throughout the different stages of writing a novel or a memoir. Sure, there may be language and grammar rules that govern the way you write, but letting a bit of playfulness breathe life into your writing will see it take off to a whole new level. On the other hand, your writing routine, solitude, audience, and goal-setting will act as the strings that keep you from floating too far away. 

From the book: "Don’t make yourself miserable wishing for a kind of success that you wouldn’t enjoy if you had it."

29. How to Become a Successful Indie Author by Craig Martelle

This one’s for all the indie authors out there! Even if you’ve already self-published a book , you can still learn a lot from this guide by Craig Martelle , who has dozens of indie books — “over two and a half million words,” as he puts it — under his belt. With patience and expertise, Martelle walks you through everything you need to know: from developing your premise to perfecting your writing routine, to finally getting your work to the top of the Amazon charts.

From the book: “No matter where you are on your author journey, there’s always a new level you can reach. Roll up your sleeves, because it’s time to get to work.”

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30. How to Market a Book by Ricardo Fayet 

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From the book: “Here’s the thing: authors don’t find readers; readers find books . [...] Marketing is not about selling your book to readers. It’s about getting readers to find it.”

31. Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

The full title of Handley’s all-inclusive book on writing is actually Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content — which should tell you something about its broad appeal. Not only does Handley have some great ideas on how to plan and produce a great story, but she also provides tips on general content writing, which comes in handy when it’s time to build your author platform or a mailing list to promote your book. As such, Everybody Writes is nothing like your other books on novel writing — it’ll make you see writing in a whole new light.

From the book: “In our world, many hold a notion that the ability to write, or write well, is a gift bestowed on a chosen few. That leaves us thinking there are two kinds of people: the writing haves — and the hapless, for whom writing well is a hopeless struggle, like trying to carve marble with a butter knife. But I don’t believe that, and neither should you.” 

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Books on writing poetry 

32. madness, rack, and honey by mary ruefle.

With a long history of crafting and lecturing about poetry, Ruefle invites the reader of Madness, Rack, and Honey to immerse themselves into its beauty and magic. In a powerful combination of lectures and musings, she expertly explores the mind and craft of writers while excavating the magical potential of poetry. Often a struggle between giving and taking, poetry is, according to Ruefle, a unique art form that reveals the innermost workings of the human heart.

From the book: “In one sense, reading is a great waste of time. In another sense, it is a great extension of time, a way for one person to live a thousand and one lives in a single lifespan, to watch the great impersonal universe at work again and again”

33. Threads by Sandeep Parmar, Nisha Ramayya, and Bhanu Kapil

If you’re looking for something that explores the philosophical aspects of writing, Threads asks big questions about writing and the position of the writer in an industry that has largely excluded marginalized voices. Where does the writer exist in relation to its text and, particularly in the case of poetry, who is the “I”? Examining the common white, British, male lens, this collection of short essays will make it hard for you not to critically consider your own perceptions and how they affect your writing process.

From the book: “It is impossible to consider the lyric without fully interrogating its inherent promise of universality, its coded whiteness.”

34. The Hatred of Poetry by Ben Lerner

Despite its eye-catching title, this short essay is actually a defense of poetry . Lerner begins with his own hatred of the art form, and then moves on to explore this love-hate dichotomy that actually doesn’t seem to be contradictory. Rather, such a multitude of emotions might be one of the reasons that writers and readers alike turn to it. With its ability to evoke feelings and responses through word-play and meter, poetry has often been misconceived as inaccessible and elitist; this is a call to change that perception. 

From the book: “All I ask the haters — and I, too, am one — is that they strive to perfect their contempt, even consider bringing it to bear on poems, where it will be deepened, not dispelled, and where, by creating a place for possibility and present absences (like unheard melodies), it might come to resemble love.”

35. Poemcrazy by Susan G. Wooldridge

If you’ve ever felt that the mysterious workings of poetry are out of your reach and expressly not for you, Wooldridge is here to tell you that anyone who wants to can write poetry . An experienced workshop leader, she will help you find your inner voice and to express it through the written word. Giving you advice on how to think, use your senses, and practice your writing, Wooldrige will have you putting down rhyme schemes before you know it. 

From the book: “Writing a poem is a form of listening, helping me discover what's wrong or frightening in my world as well as what delights me.”

36. Writing Better Lyrics by Pat Pattison

books writing and reading

From the book: “Don't be afraid to write crap — it makes the best fertilizer. The more of it you write, the better your chances are of growing something wonderful.”

Books about writing nonfiction

37. on writing well by william zinsser.

Going strong with its 30th-anniversary edition, On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction is an evergreen resource for nonfiction writers which breaks down the fundamental principles of written communication. As a bonus, the insights and guidelines in this book can certainly be applied to most forms of writing, from interviewing to camp-fire storytelling. Beyond giving tips on how to stay consistent in your writing and voice, how to edit, and how to avoid common pitfalls, Zinsser can also help you grow as a professional writer, strengthening your career and taking steps in a new direction. 

From the book: “Don’t try to visualize the great mass audience. There is no such audience—every reader is a different person.”

38. Essays by Lydia Davis

Ironically enough, this rather lengthy book is a celebration of brevity. As one of the leading American voices in flash-fiction and short-form writing, Davis traces her literary roots and inspirations in essays on everything, ranging from the mastodonic work of Proust to minimalism. In both her translations and her own writing, she celebrates experimental writing that stretches the boundaries of language. Playing with the contrast between what is said and what is not, this collection of essays is another tool to the writing shed to help you feel and use the power of every word you write.

From the book: “Free yourself of your device, for at least certain hours of the day — or at the very least one hour. Learn to be alone, all alone, without people, and without a device that is turned on. Learn to experience the purity of that kind of concentration. Develop focus, learn to focus intently on one thing, uninterrupted, for a long time.”

39. Essayism by Brian Dillon

In this volume, Dillon explores the often overlooked genre of essay writing and its place in literature’s past, present, and future. He argues that essays are an “experiment in attention” but also highlights how and why certain essays have directly impacted the development of the cultural and political landscape, from the end of the Middle Ages until the present day. At its heart, despite its many forms, subject areas, and purposes, essayism has its root in self-exploration. Dip in and out of Dillon’s short texts to find inspiration for your own nonfiction writing.

From the book: “What exactly do I mean, even, by 'style'? Perhaps it is nothing but an urge, an aspiration, a clumsy access of admiration, a crush.”

40. Naked, Drunk, and Writing by Adair Lara

books writing and reading

From the book: “Write it down. Whatever it is, write it down. Chip it into marble. Type it into Microsoft Word. Spell it out in seaweeds on the shore. We are each of us an endangered species, delicate as unicorns.”

With a few of these books in your arsenal, you’ll be penning perfect plots in no time! And if you’re interested in learning more about the editing process, check these books on editing out as well!

ZUrlocker says:

11/03/2019 – 19:46

I'm familiar with several of these books. But for new authors, I urge you caution. It is very tempting to read so many books about writing that you never get around to writing. (I did this successfully for many years!) So I will suggest paring it down to just two books: Stephen King on Writing and Blake Snyder Save the Cat. Snyder's book is mostly about screenwriting, so you could also consider Save the Cat Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody. Best of luck!

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The Marginalian

9 Books on Reading and Writing

By maria popova.

books writing and reading

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

books writing and reading

The original Elements of Style was published in 1919 in-house at Cornell University for teaching use and reprinted in 1959 to become cultural canon, and Kalman’s inimitable version is one of our 10 favorite masterpieces of graphic nonfiction .

books writing and reading

On a related unmissable note, let the Elements of Style Rap make your day.

BIRD BY BIRD

books writing and reading

On the itch of writing, Lamott banters:

We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little. But we do. We have so much we want to say and figure out.”

And on the grit that commits mind to paper, she counsels:

You begin to string words together like beads to tell a story. You are desperate to communicate, to edify or entertain, to preserve moments of grace or joy or transcendence, to make real or imagined events come alive. But you cannot will this to happen. It is a matter of persistence and faith and hard work. So you might as well just go ahead and get started.”

On why we read and write:

Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.”

books writing and reading

Though some have voiced skepticism regarding the capacity of a “popular writer” to be taken seriously as an oracle of “good writing,” Roger Ebert put it best: “After finding that his book On Writing had more useful and observant things to say about the craft than any book since Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style , I have gotten over my own snobbery.”

A few favorites from the book follow.

On open-endedness:

Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”

On feedback:

Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.”

On the lifeblood of writing:

It starts with this: put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.”

On the relationship between reading and writing, which I wholeheartedly second:

Can I be blunt on this subject? If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

ZEN IN THE ART OF WRITING

books writing and reading

On the key to creativity (cue in Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk ):

That’s the great secret of creativity. You treat ideas like cats: you make them follow you.”

On what to read:

In your reading, find books to improve your color sense, your sense of shape and size in the world.”

On art and truth:

We have our Arts so we won’t die of Truth.”

On signal and noise, with an embedded message that “you are a mashup of what you let into your life” :

Ours is a culture and a time immensely rich in trash as it is in treasures.”

THE WAR OF ART

books writing and reading

Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it. Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates the strength of Resistance. Therefore, the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul.”

Also of note: Pressfield’s recent companion guide to the text, Do The Work , one of our 5 favorite manifestos for the creative life .

ADVICE TO WRITERS

books writing and reading

Here are a few favorites:

Finish each day before you begin the next, and interpose a solid wall of sleep between the two. This you cannot do without temperance.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Don’t ever write a novel unless it hurts like a hot turd coming out.” ~ Charles Bukowski
Breathe in experience, breathe out poetry.” ~ Muriel Rukeyser
Begin with an individual and you find that you have created a type; begin with a type and you find that you have created — nothing.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” ~ Saul Bellow
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.” ~ T. S. Eliot
Fiction is a lie, and good fiction is the truth inside the lie.” ~ Stephen King
Good fiction is made of what is real, and reality is difficult to come by.” ~ Ralph Ellison
Listen, then make up your own mind.” ~ Gay Talese
Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut
Write without pay until somebody offers pay; if nobody offers within three years, sawing wood is what you were intended for.” ~ Mark Twain

Originally featured, with more quotes, last December .

HOW TO WRITE A SENTENCE

books writing and reading

In fact, Fish offers an intelligent rebuttal of some of the cultish mandates of Strunk and White’s bible, most notably the blind insistence on brevity and sentence minimalism. To argue his case, he picks apart some of history’s most powerful sentences, from Shakespeare to Dickens to Lewis Carroll, using a kind of literary forensics to excavate the essence of beautiful language. As Adam Haslett eloquently observes in his excellent FT review :

[Pared-down prose] is a real loss, not because we necessarily need more Jamesian novels but because too often the instruction to ‘omit needless words’ (Rule 17) leads young writers to be cautious and dull; minimalist style becomes minimalist thought, and that is a problem.”

To dissect the Tetris-like quality of words, Fish examines the following Anthony Burgess sentence from his 1968 novel Enderby Outside :

‘And the words slide into the slots ordained by syntax, and glitter as with atmospheric dust with those impurities which we call meaning.’ Before the words slide into their slots, they are just discrete items, pointing everywhere and nowhere. Once the words are nested in the places ‘ordained’ for them — ‘ordained’ is a wonderful word that points to the inexorable logic of syntactic structures — they are tied by ligatures of relationships to one another. They are subjects or objects or actions or descriptives or indications of manner, and as such they combine into a statement about the world, that is, into a meaning that one can contemplate, admire, reject, or refine.”

Originally featured here last January .

ERNEST HEMINGWAY ON WRITING

books writing and reading

On what makes a great book:

All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer.”

On symbolism:

There isn’t any symbolysm [sic]. The sea is the sea. The old man is an old man. The boy is a boy and the fish is a fish. The sharks are all sharks no better and no worse. All the symbolism that people say is shit. What goes beyond is what you see beyond when you know.”

(Cue in other famous writers on symbolism , from Jack Kerouac to Ray Bradbury to Ayn Rand.)

On the qualities of a writer:

All my life I’ve looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.”
First, there must be talent, much talent. Talent such as Kipling had. Then there must be discipline. The discipline of Flaubert. Then there must be the conception of what it can be and an absolute conscience as unchanging as the standard meter in Paris, to prevent faking. Then the writer must be intelligent and disinterested and above all he must survive. Try to get all these things in one person and have him come through all the influences that press on a writer. The hardest thing, because time is so short, is for him to survive and get his work done.”
The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof shit detector. This is the writer’s radar and all great writers have had it.”

HOW TO READ A BOOK

One of the book’s finest points deals with the fundamental yin-yang of how ideas travel and permeate minds — the intertwined acts of reading and writing. Marginalia — those fragments of thought and seeds of insight we scribble in the margins of a book — have a social life all their own: just ask The New York Times’ Sam Anderson, who recently shared his year’s worth of marginalia in a wonderful interactive feature. Hardly anything captures both the utilitarian necessity and creative allure of marginalia better than this excerpt from Adler’s classic:

When you buy a book, you establish a property right in it, just as you do in clothes or furniture when you buy and pay for them. But the act of purchase is actually only the prelude to possession in the case of a book. Full ownership of a book only comes when you have made it a part of yourself, and the best way to make yourself a part of it — which comes to the same thing — is by writing in it. Why is marking a book indispensable to reading it? First, it keeps you awake — not merely conscious, but wide awake. Second, reading, if it is active, is thinking, and thinking tends to express itself in words, spoken or written. The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks. Third, writing your reactions down helps you to remember the thoughts of the author. Reading a book should be a conversation between you and the author. Presumably he knows more about the subject than you do; if not, you probably should not be bothering with his book. But understanding is a two-way operation; the learner has to question himself and question the teacher, once he understands what the teacher is saying. Marking a book is literally an expression of your differences or your agreements with the author. It is the highest respect you can pay him.”

First featured here, along with a meditation on modern marginalia, in December .

— Published January 9, 2012 — https://www.themarginalian.org/2012/01/09/best-books-on-writing-reading/ —

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Essential Books for Writers

The Center for Fiction

essential

Maybe calling our list "Essential Books for Writers" is a bit of a stretch. We know that there are many opinions on what makes great writing, and what works for one person may not work for the next. Can you imagine Ernest Hemingway, Flannery O'Connor, and Charles Dickens debating about the right way to write? But we wanted to give you some options and inspiration on your path to whatever a successful life as a writer looks like to you. We hope you'll find your essential guide in our list. Happy reading and writing!

on writing

By Stephen King

Published by Scribner

Leave it to the literary rock star to compose a craft book that’s as entertaining as a good novel. “This is a short book because most books about writing are filled with bullshit,” King writes. What follows is a witty, practical, and sometimes poignant guide that is refreshingly devoid of the aforementioned BS. King relates his personal story of becoming a writer, then offers a “toolkit” of clear advice about everything from dialogue and descriptive passages to revisions and the head game. And there’s more: tips for beginning writers on submitting work for publication, a mark-up of one of King’s own manuscripts, and a reading list. You might not be awake at 3 a.m. turning these pages, but we promise  On Writing  will open your eyes to essential tricks of the trade.

shapiro-dani.still-writing

Still Writing

By Dani Shapiro

Published by Grove/Atlantic

Dani Shapiro’s book,  Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life , is a perfect walk through an imperfect process. She shares the tried and true rules that some aspiring writers may want to hear, like using the five senses, sticking to a work schedule, and avoiding clichéd characters; but it is the places where Shapiro acknowledges the ambiguity of the process that stand out. Peppered with personal history and insight into how and where she created novels like  Black and White  as well as acclaimed memoirs  Devotion  and  Slow Motion , Shapiro gives us a road map to writing with one simple direction at its heart: Keep writing. The rules she lays out are meant to be broken; no life-story is more worthy of being written than any other; no process (unless it involves surfing the Web instead of actually writing) is wrong. Yes, Dani Shapiro is still writing, and because she possesses that all-important need to create, it seems she will be doing so for quite some time.

On Moral Fiction by John Gardner

On Moral Fiction

By John Gardner

Published by HarperCollins

John Gardner’s  On Moral Fiction , by now a well-known classic, is as relevant in its exploration of the obligations of literature as when it was first published in 1979. Gardner discusses art and criticism, concluding that the artist has a responsibility to produce “moral” works for the sake of society. “Art discovers, generation after generation, what is necessary to humanness,” says Gardner. By linking literature to such elemental ideas as immortality and death, entropy and truth, Gardner dramatizes the act of writing itself, coloring literature and criticism with such vitality and excitement that it is hard not to become exhilarated. “Art gropes,” Gardner says. “It stalks like a hunter lost in the woods, listening to itself and to everything around it, unsure of itself, waiting to pounce.” You might say that some of his ideas are outrageous or unconventional, but none of them lack the ability to provoke us.

white shirt

First You Write

By Joni Rodgers

It’s fitting that Joni Rodgers’s  First You Write: The Worst Way to Become an Almost Famous Author and the Best Advice I Got While Doing It  is available only as an e-book. Rodgers’s writes with wit and candor not only about her circuitous route to becoming a  New York Times bestselling memoirist ( Bald in the Land of Big Hair , a searingly funny account of her journey through cancer) and a critically acclaimed small-press novelist ( Crazy for Trying ;  Sugar Land ), but also about her pioneering adventures in self-publishing on Kindle. Rodgers’s willingness to experiment (isn’t that what artists do?) and to turn preconceived publishing notions on their ear is wonderfully refreshing, and her whip-smart observations will keep you turning (virtual) pages.

the-forest-for-the-trees-alt

The Forest for the Trees

By Betsy Lerner

Published by Penguin

Betsy Lerner’s  The Forest for The Trees  begins as a psychological compendium of the writer’s life; written to the writer, with love. Lerner diagnoses writers: the ambivalent, the natural, the neurotic, and as we relate to aspects of each, we are delivered through an embarrassing adolescence of our own writerly growth, discovering who we were, are, and might better be. Through humorous and often moving anecdotes and a wealth of quotable quotes, we sweep through the personal and into the political landscape of the literary industry. Like all good books, Lerner’s reflects the reader (as writer) back to herself at every moment. She morphs between midwife and editor, weaving stories that teach us how best to birth our own.

The Writing Life by Annie Dillard

The Writing Life

By Annie Dillard

In the years since its original publication, Annie Dillard’s  The Writing Life  has become a must-read for aspiring writers of all walks. Perhaps this is because her approach to the creative process manages a kind of golden ratio, a balance of magic and pragmatism that continues to reveal its depths to writers of the 21st century. Plainly, this is not a field guide. Dillard does not draw a tidy map. She does the opposite, acknowledging the unknown and unknowable wilderness that every writer must face. “The line of words is a miner’s pick, a wood carver’s gouge, a surgeon’s probe. You wield it, and it digs a path you follow. Soon you find yourself deep in new territory. Is it a dead end, or have you located the real subject? You will know tomorrow, or this time next  year.” A master in the art of illumination, she focuses on the edges of big ideas. The resulting work is as mystifying as it is enduring.

friedman-bonnie.writing-past-dark

Writing Past Dark

By Bonnie Friedman

In  Writing Past Dark , Bonnie Friedman shines a light on the hidden ways we mess ourselves up—with envy, fear, distraction, and other self-defeating habits of mind. “Successful writers are not the ones who write the best sentences. They are the ones who keep writing,” she says. “They are the ones who discover what is most important and strangest and most pleasurable in themselves, and keep believing in the value of their work, despite the difficulties.” With warmth and candor, Friedman offers insights into surmounting those tricky obstacles.

strunk-white.elements-of-style

The Elements of Style

By William Strunk & E.B. White

Of the hundreds of volumes written about the art and craft of writing,  The Elements of Style  by William Strunk and E.B. White is the elegant granddad. This slim volume offers no touchy-feely solutions for writer’s block, no inspirational exercises, and no musings on the writing life. Instead, it contains clear, concise rules for writing well, delivered with panache. Whether you strive for formal excellence or stylistic innovation, whether you’re a first-time author or have a string of publications to your name, there’s something here to learn—or gladly rediscover.

mckee-robert.story

By Robert McKee

Robert McKee (the renowned screenwriting guru whose real-life teaching persona was portrayed by Brian Cox in the film  Adaptation ) is required reading, but not just for screenwriters. He illustrates good plotting and structure that can make your novels or short stories as gripping as your favorite film. In Story , McKee structures his advice by first broadly stating a principle of writing, then expounding on different ways it can be applied, with examples from all kinds of scripts. His pearls of wisdom have been legendary in the Hollywood world, and they’ll certainly stick in your head after you’re through this book. Whether you’re writing for the screen or the page, this fantastic book will help you break your work down to the core of why we write fiction in the first place: the story.

Making Shapely Fiction by Jerome Stern

Making Shapely Fiction

By Jerome Stern

Published by W. W. Norton

It’s easy, when one is far enough along in the “writing life,” to assume that a manual won’t have much to offer beyond technical guidance and fluffy prompts. But Stern’s wise and thorough little book should be as indispensable to the master of the form as the student. Like Stern himself, who was the head of the Creative Writing Program at Florida State University for many years, it takes a brass tacks approach to fiction, one that can be read straight through if you want to bone up on the basics or in bits and pieces as inspiration is needed. The “shapes” in question are sixteen storytelling archetypes which Stern breaks down in the book’s first section, followed by a tongue-in-cheek section on whether or not to write what you know, and finally a glossary of terms “from Accuracy to Zig-Zag.” This may all sound like stuff you already know, but to read them again in Stern’s irreverent voice is like revisiting fairy tales from your childhood and discovering all the dirty parts that went over your head. You’ll want to dig back into your own discarded ideas box and sculpt something new.

Steering the Craft by Ursula LeGuin

Steering the Craft

By Ursula K. Le Guin

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Le Guin has published two books about writing. The more recent of these,  Steering the Craft  (1998), is intended for experienced writers, the ones, she says, who “blow all Rules of Writing to bits.” It offers exercises and advice on storytelling, point of view, and grammar. For the younger author, there is her 1979 volume,  The Language of the Night , filled with inspirational essays on science fiction and fantasy, that are no less rigorous than the later book. “In art,” she observes, “‘good enough’ is not good enough.”

Discover Our Fiction, Essays & More

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Building Characters is a Piece of (Layer) Cake

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Writing and Madness

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Think Outside the Book

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When Working on Your Writing Doesn't Look Like Writing

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From Scratch

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Interviewing for Fiction

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The Writer's Trove

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Something to Do with Work as Play: David Foster Wallace and “The Nature of the Fun”

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Keeping Up the Pace

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Scenes & Summary

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An Unfunny Essay About Humor

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Say Yes to Obsession

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How to Steal Stuff

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Writing to the Tension

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How Walter White Can Make You a Better Writer

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Inventing Time

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Three-Dimensional Writing

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How to Get Out of the Slush Pile

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Playing With Status

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Must Read List: Top 25 Best Books for Aspiring Writers

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Written By Garry   |   Writing   |   0 Comments

Looking to excel as writer or an editor or self-publisher?

There is one essential practice that you must follow: immerse yourself in good books!

Reading widely and deeply is crucial to understanding what makes a "good book" and how to create one.

Whether you're drawn to fiction or nonfiction, history or humor, it's important to read widely within your chosen genre, as well as outside of it.

This will help you develop a keen sense of what works and what doesn't...

...and how to apply those lessons to your own work.

In addition to reading, it's also important to learn from the experts, about the craft of "building a book"... 

There are many books that offer guidance on the craft of writing, from the basics of grammar and style to the nuances of character development and plot construction.

And for those looking to make a career out of writing, there are books on how to find work, how to pitch your ideas, and how to make a living as a writer.

Below are some of the best books on writing and publishing.

No matter if you're just starting out...

...or you're a seasoned pro, these books will help you take your writing and publishing to the next level.

List of the Top 25 Best Books for Aspiring Writers to Read

The Chicago Manual of Style

by The University of Chicago Press Editorial Staff

This comprehensive guide to writing and publishing is considered the industry standard. It covers everything from grammar and punctuation to manuscript preparation and citation style.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

by Stephen King

Stephen King's memoir on writing is a must-read for any aspiring writer. In it, he shares his personal experiences and practical advice on everything from character development to plotting.

The Elements of Style

by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

This classic guide to English grammar and style is a quick and easy reference for anyone looking to improve their writing.

The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers

by John Gardner

John Gardner's book on the art of fiction is a great resource for anyone looking to improve their storytelling abilities. It covers everything from character development to narrative structure.

The Forest for the Trees: An Editor's Advice to Writers

by Betsy Lerner

This book provides valuable insights into the editorial process and offers practical advice on how to work with editors and agents to get your work published.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

by Anne Lamott 

Anne Lamott's guide to writing is a must-read for anyone looking to improve their craft. It covers everything from the importance of first drafts to the value of perseverance.

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

by Steven Pressfield

Steven Pressfield's book is a great resource for anyone struggling with writer's block or other creative challenges. It offers practical advice and encouragement for overcoming creative obstacles.

Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity

by Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury's book on the art of writing is a great resource for anyone looking to tap into their creative potential. It offers practical advice and inspiration for cultivating creativity.

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life

by Twyla Tharp

Twyla Tharp's book on the creative habit is a great resource for anyone looking to develop a sustainable creative practice. It offers practical advice and exercises for cultivating creativity and staying inspired.

The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century

by Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker's guide to writing is a great resource for anyone looking to improve their writing skills. It covers everything from grammar and style to the use of language in the digital age.

The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller

by John Truby

John Truby's book on storytelling is a great resource for anyone looking to craft compelling narratives. It covers everything from character development to the use of theme and symbolism.

Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need

by Blake Snyder

Blake Snyder's book on screenwriting is a must-read for anyone looking to write for film or television. It covers everything from structure and pacing to character development and dialogue.

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

by Natalie Goldberg

Natalie Goldberg's book on writing is a great resource for anyone looking to tap into their creativity. It offers practical advice and exercises for overcoming self-doubt and finding your voice.

Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting

by Robert McKee

Robert McKee's book on screenwriting is a great resource for anyone looking to learn the principles of storytelling. It covers everything from character development to the use of dialogue and conflict.

The Hero with a Thousand Faces

by Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell's classic book on mythology and storytelling is a great resource for anyone looking to understand the archetypal patterns that underlie many of our most enduring stories.

The Writing Life

by Annie Dillard

Annie Dillard's book on the writing life is a great resource for anyone looking to understand the creative process. It offers insights and reflections on the joys and challenges of writing.

The Elements of Eloquence: How to Turn the Perfect English Phrase

by Mark Forsyth

Mark Forsyth's book on the art of rhetoric is a great resource for anyone looking to improve their writing style. It covers everything from metaphor and alliteration to hyperbole and puns.

Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them

by Francine Prose

Francine Prose's book on reading and writing is a great resource for anyone looking to understand the craft of writing. It offers practical advice and exercises for improving your writing skills.

The Art of Memoir

by Mary Karr

Mary Karr's book on memoir writing is a great resource for anyone looking to write about their own life experiences. It covers everything from structure and pacing to the use of dialogue and description.

Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer

by Roy Peter Clark

Roy Peter Clark's book on writing is a great resource for anyone looking to improve their writing skills. It offers practical advice and exercises for everything from sentence structure to story structure.

The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

by Julia Cameron

Julia Cameron's book on creativity is a great resource for anyone looking to tap into their creative potential. It offers practical advice and exercises for overcoming creative blocks and staying inspired.

Becoming a Writer

by Dorothea Brande

Dorothea Brande's book on writing is a great resource for anyone looking to improve their writing skills. It covers everything from the importance of practice to the value of discipline and dedication.

The Paris Review Interviews, Vol. 1- 4

edited by The Paris Review

This features a collection of interviews with some of the greatest writers of the 20th century, including Ernest Hemingway, T.S. Eliot, and William Faulkner. It offers valuable insights into the creative process and the craft of writing.

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print

by Renni Browne and Dave King

Renni Browne and Dave King's book on self-editing is a great resource for anyone looking to improve their editing skills. It covers everything from dialogue and point of view to pacing and plot.

The Business of Being a Writer

by Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman's book on the business of writing is a great resource for anyone looking to make a living as a writer. It covers everything from finding work to negotiating contracts to building a platform.

Whether you're an aspiring writer, editor, or self-publisher, these books offer valuable insights and practical advice for taking your craft to the next level.

From grammar and style to storytelling and creativity, these books cover everything you need to know to succeed in the competitive world of writing and publishing.

But now let's break it down into categories:

List of the Top 10-15 Books for Aspiring Writers

As an aspiring writer, reading is an essential part of developing your writing skills and style.

Exposure to a variety of writing styles and genres can inspire and inform your own writing, and reading can also help you to understand the publishing industry and market trends.

This post has the list of the best books for aspiring writers, including memoirs of the craft, books on story structure and character development, guides to the elements of style, and books on practical advice and overcoming writer's block.

Each book will be briefly described and its importance to a writer's development will be discussed.

  • "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft" by Stephen King - This classic guide to the craft of writing is part memoir, part how-to manual, and is essential reading for aspiring writers. King shares his personal story of how he became a writer, as well as his advice on the craft, including tips on plot, character, and dialogue. This book is a go-to guide for any writer, whether you're just starting out or have been writing for years.
  • "The Elements of Style" by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White - This short book is a comprehensive guide to the rules of grammar and style in the English language. It covers everything from punctuation to usage, and is an essential resource for any writer looking to improve their writing skills.
  • "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield - This short, punchy book is a must-read for anyone struggling with writer's block or inner creative battles. Pressfield offers practical advice on how to overcome resistance and get to work, and his no-nonsense approach is both inspiring and motivating.
  • "Bird by Bird" by Anne Lamott - Lamott's witty tone and personal anecdotes make this book an enjoyable read, but it's also packed with practical advice for aspiring writers. Lamott offers tips on everything from character development to finding your voice, and her focus on the writing process rather than the end result is refreshing.
  • "The Creative Habit" by Twyla Tharp - Tharp's book on creativity is a great resource for anyone looking to tap into their creative potential. It offers practical advice and exercises for overcoming creative blocks and staying inspired, and Tharp's emphasis on the importance of routine and discipline is especially useful for aspiring writers.
  • "The Sense of Style" by Steven Pinker - Pinker's book on the art of writing is a great resource for anyone looking to improve their writing style. It covers everything from the use of metaphor and alliteration to the value of clarity and simplicity, and is a valuable resource for anyone looking to write with style and flair.
  • "The Anatomy of Story" by John Truby - Truby's comprehensive guide to story structure and character development is a great resource for anyone looking to write a good novel or screenplay. It covers everything from the importance of creating a strong protagonist to the role of conflict and theme in storytelling.
  • "Save the Cat!" by Blake Snyder - Snyder's book on screenwriting is a must-read for anyone looking to write for film or television. It covers everything from structure and pacing to character development and dialogue, and is a valuable resource for anyone looking to break into the world of screenwriting.
  • "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" by Joseph Campbell - This classic book on mythology and storytelling is a great resource for anyone looking to understand the archetypal patterns that underlie many of our most enduring stories. Campbell's exploration of the hero's journey is especially useful for writers looking to create memorable characters and compelling plots.
  • "The Writing Life" by Annie Dillard - Dillard's book on the writing life offers a unique perspective on what it means to be a professional writer. She covers everything from the inner creative battles writers face to the practical aspects of writing, such as finding a quiet place to work and managing your time effectively. This book is a great resource for anyone looking to turn their writing into a career.

Each of these books is a great resource for aspiring writers, offering practical advice and insights into the creative process.

By reading and learning from these books, aspiring writers can take the first step towards becoming successful authors.

Memoirs of the Craft

Memoirs about writing can be incredibly useful for aspiring writers, providing valuable insights into the creative process and the writer's life.

Let's explore some of the best memoirs of the craft, including classic works by Stephen King and Annie Dillard, as well as newer books by emerging writers.

  • "Lit" by Mary Karr - Karr's memoir about her own writing journey is both honest and inspiring. She shares her struggles with alcoholism and depression, as well as the challenges of writing a memoir. This book is a must-read for anyone looking to write about their own life experiences.
  • " The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls - Walls' memoir about growing up in poverty is a great example of how personal narrative can be turned into compelling storytelling. This book is a great resource for anyone looking to write memoir or personal essays.
  • "The Art of Memoir" by Mary Karr - Karr's guide to writing memoir is a great resource for anyone looking to tell their own life story. She covers everything from the ethics of writing about real people to the importance of structure and voice.
  • "Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do" edited by Meredith Maran - This collection of essays by some of today's best writers offers a unique perspective on the creative process. Each author shares their own story of why they became a writer and how they approach the craft, providing valuable insights for aspiring writers.
  • "Shimmering Images: A Handy Little Guide to Writing Memoir" by Lisa Dale Norton - Norton's guide to writing memoir is a practical and inspiring resource for anyone looking to tell their own life story. She offers step-by-step guidance on everything from finding your voice to structuring your story.

Memoirs about writing offer a unique perspective on the creative process and the writer's life, and can be incredibly inspiring for aspiring writers.

Story Structure and Character Development

Understanding story structure and character development is essential for aspiring writers.

A well-crafted story with fully developed characters is much more likely to engage readers and leave a lasting impression.

We've covered a lot already, but let's continue and explore some of the best books on story structure and character development, including classic works by John Truby and Joseph Campbell, as well as newer books by emerging writers.

  • "The Anatomy of Story" by John Truby - Truby's comprehensive guide to story structure and character development is a great resource for anyone looking to write a good novel or screenplay. It covers everything from the importance of creating a strong protagonist to the role of conflict and theme in storytelling. The book is a step-by-step guide that includes practical exercises to help writers apply the lessons to their own work.
  • "Save the Cat!" by Blake Snyder - Snyder's book on screenwriting is a must-read for anyone looking to write for film or television. It covers everything from structure and pacing to character development and dialogue, and is a valuable resource for anyone looking to break into the world of screenwriting. The book is based on Snyder's own experience as a Hollywood screenwriter and includes practical advice on how to create a successful screenplay.
  • "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" by Joseph Campbell - This classic book on mythology and storytelling is a great resource for anyone looking to understand the archetypal patterns that underlie many of our most enduring stories. Campbell's exploration of the hero's journey is especially useful for writers looking to create memorable characters and compelling plots. The book is a comprehensive guide to the elements of storytelling, and is essential reading for anyone looking to write great fiction.
  • "Story Genius" by Lisa Cron - Cron's book on story structure and character development is a great resource for anyone looking to write a novel. She emphasizes the importance of creating fully developed characters with their own unique perspectives and motivations. The book includes practical exercises to help writers apply the lessons to their own work, and is a great resource for anyone looking to take their writing to the next level.
  • "The Art of Character" by David Corbett - Corbett's book on character development is a great resource for anyone looking to create compelling and complex characters. He emphasizes the importance of creating characters with depth and complexity, and provides practical advice on how to achieve this. The book includes exercises to help writers create more nuanced and realistic characters, and is a valuable resource for anyone looking to improve their writing skills.
  • "Creating Character Arcs" by K.M. Weiland - Weiland's book on character development focuses on the importance of creating believable and engaging character arcs. She emphasizes the importance of creating characters that change and grow throughout the story, and provides practical advice on how to achieve this. The book includes examples from popular novels and movies to illustrate the lessons, and is a great resource for anyone looking to improve their writing skills.

By reading and learning from these books, writers can take the first step towards creating compelling and engaging stories with fully developed characters.

As an aspiring writer, understanding the rules of grammar and style is essential for creating clear, concise, and effective writing.

Some of the best books are listed below on the elements of style, including the classic "The Elements of Style" by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, as well as newer books by emerging writers.

  • "The Elements of Style" by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White - This short book is a comprehensive guide to the rules of grammar and style in the English language. It covers everything from punctuation to usage, and is an essential resource for any writer looking to improve their writing skills. The book is concise and easy to follow, and is an excellent reference guide for writers of all levels.
  • "The Sense of Style" by Steven Pinker - Pinker's book on the art of writing is a great resource for anyone looking to improve their writing style. It covers everything from the use of metaphor and alliteration to the value of clarity and simplicity, and is a valuable resource for anyone looking to write with style and flair. The book is also a great resource for anyone looking to write for a popular audience.
  • "Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace" by Joseph M. Williams - Williams' book on style is a great resource for anyone looking to improve their writing skills. He emphasizes the importance of clarity and simplicity in writing, and provides practical advice on how to achieve this. The book includes examples from popular writers to illustrate the lessons, and is a valuable resource for anyone looking to take their writing to the next level.
  • "The Elements of Eloquence" by Mark Forsyth - Forsyth's book on the art of rhetoric is a great resource for anyone looking to improve their writing style. He explores the various literary techniques that writers can use to create memorable and effective writing, and provides practical advice on how to apply these techniques to your own writing. The book is both informative and entertaining, and is a great resource for writers looking to add a bit of flair to their writing.
  • "The Glamour of Grammar" by Roy Peter Clark - Clark's book on grammar and style is a great resource for anyone looking to improve their writing skills. He emphasizes the importance of understanding the rules of grammar and style in order to create effective writing, and provides practical advice on how to apply these rules to your own writing. The book is both informative and entertaining, and is a great resource for writers looking to improve their writing skills.

Understanding the rules of grammar and style is essential for aspiring writers.

By reading and learning from these books, writers can take the first step towards creating clear, concise, and effective writing.

Practical Advice and Overcoming Writer's Block

Writing can be a difficult and frustrating process, and every writer experiences periods of writer's block at some point.

Now it's time to cover some of the best books on practical advice for writers...

...as well as strategies for overcoming writer's block.

These books offer valuable insights into the creative process, as well as practical tips for staying motivated and inspired.

  • "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield - This short book is a great resource for anyone struggling with writer's block or a lack of motivation. Pressfield explores the inner battles that writers face when trying to create, and provides practical advice on how to overcome these obstacles. The book is both informative and inspiring, and is a great resource for anyone looking to take their writing to the next level.
  • "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron - Cameron's book on creativity is a great resource for anyone looking to overcome writer's block and unleash their inner creative spirit. She provides practical exercises and strategies for staying motivated and inspired, and offers a unique perspective on what it means to be a writer. The book is both informative and inspiring, and is a valuable resource for anyone looking to develop their creativity.
  • "Bird by Bird" by Anne Lamott - Lamott's book on writing is a great resource for anyone looking for practical advice on the creative process. She offers tips on everything from character development to finding your voice, and provides strategies for overcoming writer's block and staying motivated. The book is both informative and entertaining, and is a valuable resource for writers of all levels.
  • "Writing Down the Bones" by Natalie Goldberg - Goldberg's book on writing is a great resource for anyone looking to overcome writer's block and tap into their inner creative spirit. She provides practical exercises and strategies for staying motivated and inspired, and offers a unique perspective on what it means to be a writer. The book is both informative and inspiring, and is a valuable resource for anyone looking to develop their creativity.
  • "Big Magic" by Elizabeth Gilbert - Gilbert's book on creativity is a great resource for anyone looking to overcome writer's block and unleash their inner creative spirit. She provides practical advice and strategies for staying motivated and inspired, and offers a unique perspective on what it means to be a writer. The book is both informative and inspiring, and is a valuable resource for anyone looking to develop their creativity.
  • "Writing the Breakout Novel" by Donald Maass - Maass' book on writing is a great resource for anyone looking to improve their writing skills and overcome writer's block. He offers practical advice on everything from plot development to character arc, and provides strategies for staying motivated and inspired. The book is both informative and entertaining, and is a valuable resource for writers of all levels.
  • "The Emotional Craft of Fiction" by Donald Maass - Maass' book on the emotional aspects of writing is a great resource for anyone looking to develop deeper and more nuanced characters. He offers practical advice on how to create fully-realized characters with depth and complexity, and provides strategies for overcoming writer's block and staying motivated. The book is both informative and inspiring, and is a valuable resource for writers looking to take their writing to the next level.

Understanding the creative process and developing strategies for overcoming writer's block is essential for aspiring writers.

By reading and learning from these books, writers can take the first step towards developing their creativity and creating compelling and engaging writing.

As an aspiring writer, editor or self-publisher, the journey to becoming successful can be a challenging one.

However, with the right tools and resources, it is possible to develop the skills needed to understand what makes compelling and engaging stories.

In this post, we have explored some of the best books for aspiring writers, editors or self-publishers, including memoirs of the craft, story structure and character development, the elements of style, and practical advice for overcoming writer's block.

Reading the books on this list can help you develop the craft needed to take writing, editing and self-publishing to the next level.

By learning from the greats who have come before us, we can gain valuable insights into the creative process and develop the skills needed to write engaging and memorable stories.

From Stephen King's classic "On Writing" to Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way," each book offers valuable insights into the creative process and provides practical advice for aspiring writers.

Whether you're looking to develop your writing style, create fully-realized characters, or overcome writer's block, there is a book on this list that can help you achieve your goals.

Ultimately, the key to becoming a successful writer, editor, or self-publisher is to read widely, write consistently, and never give up on your dreams.

With the right tools and resources, anyone can develop the skills needed to create engaging and memorable stories, edit and refine the work of others, or self-publish their own book.

So, pick up a book, sit down at your desk, and start writing, editing, and prepare your new masterpieces to be self-published. 

The world is waiting to hear your story!

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The Best Books On Writing—From A Writer

Kayti-Christian

I can’t tell you how many books and blogs I’ve read on writing and the creative process. Since knowing I wanted to pursue writing more seriously in my 20s, I’ve devoured (okay, skimmed) too many books that go over all the ins and outs of how to write a story—from craft and story structure to the best writing platforms and how to revise your drafts. Some advice says to write every day no matter what; others recommend to take breaks. Some authors suggest fancy writing software; others swear by pen and paper. At a certain pont, all the advice blurs together and it’s impossible to retain let alone practice every single recommendation. Eventually, you have to figure out what works best for you and—yes, the hardest part—sit down and write your story.

That said, there are a few wonderful writing books out there that I swear by for my own practice. While this list isn’t comprehensive, it includes a few gems I believe are fresh, unique, and short or small enough to carry with you. Most importantly, these books are more concerned with examining the writer’s life than the writing itself (something I’ve come to learn must be figured out at the individual level). Hopefully they offer you a bit of wisdom as well.

For more writing recommendations, check out these 99 creative writing prompts and these writing classes you can take online .

1. The Writing Life by Annie Dillard

This is one of my all-time favorite essay collections for creative inspiration or for whenever I feel like I’m in a writing rut. I first read it during grad school in a single afternoon (it’s only 111 pages) and was captivated by Dillard’s ability to articulate the joys and pains of life as a working writer. Each micro essay includes metaphors, anecdotes from her experiences, and probing questions for the reader to examine their own writing life. It’s a quick and breathless read, but one that stays with you forever. Here is one of my favorite passages:

“Who will teach me to write? A reader wanted to know.

The page, the page, the eternal blankness, the blankness of eternity which you cover slowly, affirming time’s scrawl as a right and your daring as necessity; the page, which you cover woodenly, ruining it, but asserting your freedom and power to act, acknowledging that you ruin everything you touch but nevertheless, because acting is better than being here in mere opacity…” (Dillard, 58-59)

the writing life annie dillard

2. My Trade Is Mystery by Carl Phillips

This little writing book is such a gem! I first started reading it this past winter and had to force myself to slow down so that I could savor every single word from the accomplished writer, poet, and teacher Carl Phillips. The book jacket describes this as the “ultimate companion for writers at every stage of their journey,” and it truly is such. It’s also a fresh take on writing advice in a market saturated by how-to writing books and instruction manuals. Here is a passage I continue to revisit:

“To write poems that make a meaningful difference, that do the transformative work of showing readers (and myself as the writer) the world in a new way—this is difficult, yes. But the chance for surprise makes the work inviting. Difficulty, surprise—maybe that’s all a career comes down to. Difficulty meets surprise, and—without having thought to choose to—they mate for life.” (Phillips, 27)

my trade is myster carl phillips

3. Body Work by Melissa Febos

Melissa Febos has long been one of my favorite authors and essayists. Her work is raw and profoundly human. When I learned she was publishing her own book on writing, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it, knowing it would offer a fresh and intimate take on personal narrative. It has, of course, exceeded my expectations and become a regular companion to my own writing practice. In a little more than 150 pages, Febos transforms the way writers consider the page and how we use it to explore our truest and most personal stories—which often include desires and physical bodies. Author Alexander Chee calls it “one of the most liberating books on the subject of writing.” I suggest every writer snag a copy to keep on their desk.

body work melissa febos

4. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Is a writing book roundup complete if it doesn’t include Bird by Bird? While an older book on the market (first published in 1994), there’s a reason Anne Lamott’s work continues to be praised and quoted by writers everywhere—my own copy is dog-eared, weathered, and hardly decipherable from highlighter and margin notes.

Lamott has long been known for her honest writing and ability to put things plainly for readers, and she does just that in this instruction manual, too. If I’ve taken anything from my reading (and re-readings) of her words, it’s that there is nothing more sacred than finding your inner voice and allowing it to live on the page. “Train yourself to hear that small inner voice,” she writes. (113, Lamott)

bird by bird

5. Before and After the Book Deal by Courtney Maum

If you’re writing a book (or want to), this is essentially the bible you’ll want to memorize and reference again and again. Courtney Maum offers insider advice from the book publishing world, whether you’re trying to finish your novel, find an agent, or navigate the terrifying waters—and jargon—of the pub industry. I reference my copy weekly, if not more, and recommend it to anyone who tells me they are writing a book. You can also subscribe to Maum’s substack newsletter for regular writing advice delivered to your inbox.

before and after the book deal

Forthcoming: How We Do It by Jericho Brown and Darlene Taylor

This one isn’t out in the world until summer, so while I can’t give my personal recommendation just yet, I can say I think it’s going to be very, very good . It includes experiences and expertise from more than 30 acclaimed writers and celebrates the Black creative spirit. Preorders are super important for authors and the success of books, so consider ordering a copy before pub date to express your interest. (Plus, it’s always fun to get a book in the mail that you purchased months ago!)

how we do it

Kayti Christian (she/her) is the Managing Editor at The Good Trade. She has a Master’s in Nonfiction Writing from the University of London and is the creator of Feelings Not Aside , a newsletter for sensitive people.

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  • 1.1 "Reading" to Understand and Respond
  • 1 Unit Introduction
  • Introduction
  • 1.2 Social Media Trailblazer: Selena Gomez
  • 1.3 Glance at Critical Response: Rhetoric and Critical Thinking
  • 1.4 Annotated Student Sample: Social Media Post and Responses on Voter Suppression
  • 1.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically About a “Text”
  • 1.6 Evaluation: Intention vs. Execution
  • 1.7 Spotlight on … Academia
  • 1.8 Portfolio: Tracing Writing Development
  • Further Reading
  • Works Cited
  • 2.1 Seeds of Self
  • 2.2 Identity Trailblazer: Cathy Park Hong
  • 2.3 Glance at the Issues: Oppression and Reclamation
  • 2.4 Annotated Sample Reading from The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois
  • 2.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically about How Identity Is Constructed Through Writing
  • 2.6 Evaluation: Antiracism and Inclusivity
  • 2.7 Spotlight on … Variations of English
  • 2.8 Portfolio: Decolonizing Self
  • 3.1 Identity and Expression
  • 3.2 Literacy Narrative Trailblazer: Tara Westover
  • 3.3 Glance at Genre: The Literacy Narrative
  • 3.4 Annotated Sample Reading: from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
  • 3.5 Writing Process: Tracing the Beginnings of Literacy
  • 3.6 Editing Focus: Sentence Structure
  • 3.7 Evaluation: Self-Evaluating
  • 3.8 Spotlight on … The Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives (DALN)
  • 3.9 Portfolio: A Literacy Artifact
  • Works Consulted
  • 2 Unit Introduction
  • 4.1 Exploring the Past to Understand the Present
  • 4.2 Memoir Trailblazer: Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • 4.3 Glance at Genre: Conflict, Detail, and Revelation
  • 4.4 Annotated Sample Reading: from Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain
  • 4.5 Writing Process: Making the Personal Public
  • 4.6 Editing Focus: More on Characterization and Point of View
  • 4.7 Evaluation: Structure and Organization
  • 4.8 Spotlight on … Multilingual Writers
  • 4.9 Portfolio: Filtered Memories
  • 5.1 Profiles as Inspiration
  • 5.2 Profile Trailblazer: Veronica Chambers
  • 5.3 Glance at Genre: Subject, Angle, Background, and Description
  • 5.4 Annotated Sample Reading: “Remembering John Lewis” by Carla D. Hayden
  • 5.5 Writing Process: Focusing on the Angle of Your Subject
  • 5.6 Editing Focus: Verb Tense Consistency
  • 5.7 Evaluation: Text as Personal Introduction
  • 5.8 Spotlight on … Profiling a Cultural Artifact
  • 5.9 Portfolio: Subject as a Reflection of Self
  • 6.1 Proposing Change: Thinking Critically About Problems and Solutions
  • 6.2 Proposal Trailblazer: Atul Gawande
  • 6.3 Glance at Genre: Features of Proposals
  • 6.4 Annotated Student Sample: “Slowing Climate Change” by Shawn Krukowski
  • 6.5 Writing Process: Creating a Proposal
  • 6.6 Editing Focus: Subject-Verb Agreement
  • 6.7 Evaluation: Conventions, Clarity, and Coherence
  • 6.8 Spotlight on … Technical Writing as a Career
  • 6.9 Portfolio: Reflecting on Problems and Solutions
  • 7.1 Thumbs Up or Down?
  • 7.2 Review Trailblazer: Michiko Kakutani
  • 7.3 Glance at Genre: Criteria, Evidence, Evaluation
  • 7.4 Annotated Student Sample: "Black Representation in Film" by Caelia Marshall
  • 7.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically About Entertainment
  • 7.6 Editing Focus: Quotations
  • 7.7 Evaluation: Effect on Audience
  • 7.8 Spotlight on … Language and Culture
  • 7.9 Portfolio: What the Arts Say About You
  • 8.1 Information and Critical Thinking
  • 8.2 Analytical Report Trailblazer: Barbara Ehrenreich
  • 8.3 Glance at Genre: Informal and Formal Analytical Reports
  • 8.4 Annotated Student Sample: "U.S. Response to COVID-19" by Trevor Garcia
  • 8.5 Writing Process: Creating an Analytical Report
  • 8.6 Editing Focus: Commas with Nonessential and Essential Information
  • 8.7 Evaluation: Reviewing the Final Draft
  • 8.8 Spotlight on … Discipline-Specific and Technical Language
  • 8.9 Portfolio: Evidence and Objectivity
  • 9.1 Breaking the Whole into Its Parts
  • 9.2 Rhetorical Analysis Trailblazer: Jamil Smith
  • 9.3 Glance at Genre: Rhetorical Strategies
  • 9.4 Annotated Student Sample: “Rhetorical Analysis: Evicted by Matthew Desmond” by Eliana Evans
  • 9.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically about Rhetoric
  • 9.6 Editing Focus: Mixed Sentence Constructions
  • 9.7 Evaluation: Rhetorical Analysis
  • 9.8 Spotlight on … Business and Law
  • 9.9 Portfolio: How Thinking Critically about Rhetoric Affects Intellectual Growth
  • 10.1 Making a Case: Defining a Position Argument
  • 10.2 Position Argument Trailblazer: Charles Blow
  • 10.3 Glance at Genre: Thesis, Reasoning, and Evidence
  • 10.4 Annotated Sample Reading: "Remarks at the University of Michigan" by Lyndon B. Johnson
  • 10.5 Writing Process: Creating a Position Argument
  • 10.6 Editing Focus: Paragraphs and Transitions
  • 10.7 Evaluation: Varied Appeals
  • 10.8 Spotlight on … Citation
  • 10.9 Portfolio: Growth in the Development of Argument
  • 11.1 Developing Your Sense of Logic
  • 11.2 Reasoning Trailblazer: Paul D. N. Hebert
  • 11.3 Glance at Genre: Reasoning Strategies and Signal Words
  • 11.4 Annotated Sample Reading: from Book VII of The Republic by Plato
  • 11.5 Writing Process: Reasoning Supported by Evidence
  • 12.1 Introducing Research and Research Evidence
  • 12.2 Argumentative Research Trailblazer: Samin Nosrat
  • 12.3 Glance at Genre: Introducing Research as Evidence
  • 12.4 Annotated Student Sample: "Healthy Diets from Sustainable Sources Can Save the Earth" by Lily Tran
  • 12.5 Writing Process: Integrating Research
  • 12.6 Editing Focus: Integrating Sources and Quotations
  • 12.7 Evaluation: Effectiveness of Research Paper
  • 12.8 Spotlight on … Bias in Language and Research
  • 12.9 Portfolio: Why Facts Matter in Research Argumentation
  • 13.1 The Research Process: Where to Look for Existing Sources
  • 13.2 The Research Process: How to Create Sources
  • 13.3 Glance at the Research Process: Key Skills
  • 13.4 Annotated Student Sample: Research Log
  • 13.5 Research Process: Making Notes, Synthesizing Information, and Keeping a Research Log
  • 13.6 Spotlight on … Ethical Research
  • 14.1 Compiling Sources for an Annotated Bibliography
  • 14.2 Glance at Form: Citation Style, Purpose, and Formatting
  • 14.3 Annotated Student Sample: “Healthy Diets from Sustainable Sources Can Save the Earth” by Lily Tran
  • 14.4 Writing Process: Informing and Analyzing
  • 15.1 Tracing a Broad Issue in the Individual
  • 15.2 Case Study Trailblazer: Vilayanur S. Ramachandran
  • 15.3 Glance at Genre: Observation, Description, and Analysis
  • 15.4 Annotated Sample Reading: Case Study on Louis Victor "Tan" Leborgne
  • 15.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically About How People and Language Interact
  • 15.6 Editing Focus: Words Often Confused
  • 15.7 Evaluation: Presentation and Analysis of Case Study
  • 15.8 Spotlight on … Applied Linguistics
  • 15.9 Portfolio: Your Own Uses of Language
  • 3 Unit Introduction
  • 16.1 An Author’s Choices: What Text Says and How It Says It
  • 16.2 Textual Analysis Trailblazer: bell hooks
  • 16.3 Glance at Genre: Print or Textual Analysis
  • 16.4 Annotated Student Sample: "Artists at Work" by Gwyn Garrison
  • 16.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically About Text
  • 16.6 Editing Focus: Literary Works Live in the Present
  • 16.7 Evaluation: Self-Directed Assessment
  • 16.8 Spotlight on … Humanities
  • 16.9 Portfolio: The Academic and the Personal
  • 17.1 “Reading” Images
  • 17.2 Image Trailblazer: Sara Ludy
  • 17.3 Glance at Genre: Relationship Between Image and Rhetoric
  • 17.4 Annotated Student Sample: “Hints of the Homoerotic” by Leo Davis
  • 17.5 Writing Process: Thinking Critically and Writing Persuasively About Images
  • 17.6 Editing Focus: Descriptive Diction
  • 17.7 Evaluation: Relationship Between Analysis and Image
  • 17.8 Spotlight on … Video and Film
  • 17.9 Portfolio: Interplay Between Text and Image
  • 18.1 Mixing Genres and Modes
  • 18.2 Multimodal Trailblazer: Torika Bolatagici
  • 18.3 Glance at Genre: Genre, Audience, Purpose, Organization
  • 18.4 Annotated Sample Reading: “Celebrating a Win-Win” by Alexandra Dapolito Dunn
  • 18.5 Writing Process: Create a Multimodal Advocacy Project
  • 18.6 Evaluation: Transitions
  • 18.7 Spotlight on . . . Technology
  • 18.8 Portfolio: Multimodalism
  • 19.1 Writing, Speaking, and Activism
  • 19.2 Podcast Trailblazer: Alice Wong
  • 19.3 Glance at Genre: Language Performance and Visuals
  • 19.4 Annotated Student Sample: “Are New DOT Regulations Discriminatory?” by Zain A. Kumar
  • 19.5 Writing Process: Writing to Speak
  • 19.6 Evaluation: Bridging Writing and Speaking
  • 19.7 Spotlight on … Delivery/Public Speaking
  • 19.8 Portfolio: Everyday Rhetoric, Rhetoric Every Day
  • 20.1 Thinking Critically about Your Semester
  • 20.2 Reflection Trailblazer: Sandra Cisneros
  • 20.3 Glance at Genre: Purpose and Structure
  • 20.4 Annotated Sample Reading: “Don’t Expect Congrats” by Dale Trumbore
  • 20.5 Writing Process: Looking Back, Looking Forward
  • 20.6 Editing Focus: Pronouns
  • 20.7 Evaluation: Evaluating Self-Reflection
  • 20.8 Spotlight on … Pronouns in Context

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Identify genre elements and determine how conventions are shaped by audience, purpose, language, culture, and expectation.
  • Articulate the importance of inquiry, learning, critical thinking, and communicating in varying rhetorical and cultural contexts.
  • Identify relationships between ideas, patterns of organization, and interplay between verbal and nonverbal elements in a diverse range of texts.

To read and write well means to read and write critically. What are you saying that’s new, different, insightful, or edgy? In fact, a major goal of most college curricula is to train students to be critical readers, writers, and thinkers so that they carry those habits into the real and virtual worlds beyond campus borders. What, you may ask, does it mean to be critical? How does being a critical reader, writer, and thinker differ from being an ordinary reader, writer, and thinker? Being critical in reading means knowing how to analyze distinctions, interpretations, and conclusions. Being critical in writing means making distinctions, developing interpretations, and drawing conclusions that stand up to thoughtful scrutiny by others. Becoming a critical thinker, then, means learning to exercise reason and judgment whenever you encounter the language of others or generate language yourself. Beginning with social media and then moving into the world of academia, this chapter explores strategies for helping you become a more accomplished critical reader and emphasizes the close thinking relationship between critical reading and critical writing.

Rhetoric and the Rhetorical Situation

To begin to read, write, and think critically, it is helpful to look at something familiar such as social media and the way it is used. Interactions on social media, as in all types of conversation, present rhetorical situations that form the basis of communication. In the most basic terms, a rhetorical situation has two elements: agents and conditions. Agents are the originators (initiators) and the audience of the communication. The originator may have a real audience or an anticipated audience. A real audience is made up of people the originator may know personally or know of. For example, if you are the originator, your real audience could be a group of your peers to whom you present your ideas in class. Or it could be a person to whom you send a text message. You know the members of the class and know something about them. Similarly, you know the person to whom you send the text. An anticipated audience is one you hope to reach or one you expect will engage with your communication. When you post on social media platforms, for instance, your audience is probably anticipated. While you might have followers, you may not know them personally, but you anticipate who they are and how they might react.

The conditions of a rhetorical situation refer to the genre, purpose, stance, context, and culture. The genre , or medium, is the mode in which you communicate. You may speak persuasively in class, or you may send a text message; both are genres. The purpose is your reason or reasons for the communication. For example, if you are presenting to your class, your purpose might be to do well and get a good grade, but it also might be to inform or to persuade your classmates. Likewise, you might want to gain attention by posting something on social media that connects to other people’s thoughts and feelings. The third condition is the stance , which is your take, or viewpoint, as presented in the communication. Your stance may be that college loans should be forgiven, or it may be that college loans should be repaid in full. The context is the setting of the rhetorical situation. Some examples might be a communication taking place during a global pandemic or during a Black Lives Matter protest. The context affects the ways in which a particular social, political, or economic situation influences the process of communication. The final element is culture , which refers to groups of people who share commonalities. When communicating, you make assumptions about the cultural traits of your audience, perhaps expecting that they will agree with you regarding certain values or beliefs. For example, if you are communicating with an American audience, you may assume a positive value for democracy or a dislike of foreign interference. Conversely, you also may communicate with people whose cultural views are at odds or in conflict with your own: for example, a man who publicly advocates outdated gender views might have trouble communicating culturally with a younger female audience. The ways in which you choose to communicate to those within and those outside of your culture are likely to differ as you craft a stance within a given context for a particular purpose and audience.

As you work through a deeper understanding of rhetoric within a rhetorical situation, remember a few key points. When you read, write, and think critically or rhetorically, you try to figure out why a message is being communicated in a certain way. Reading language rhetorically means figuring out why and how it works or fails to work in achieving its communicative purpose. Writing rhetorically means being conscious of the ways in which you construct a message within a clearly defined rhetorical situation. Thinking rhetorically means considering the possibilities of meaning as conveyed through language and image. By putting these concepts together, you will come to understand how these elements work in concert with each other and affect your interactions with the world.

Social Media Savvy

Social media is an important part of modern life, and many people maintain multiple social media accounts. These applications can educate and help you connect to others. However, every post you make on any social media platform leaves a digital footprint—the sum of your online behavior. These footprints might reflect on you positively or negatively. On one hand, if you repost a baby goat jumping around a barnyard, you and others may laugh and no harm is done. On the other hand, if you are upset or angry and post something nasty about someone, the target can be harmed through cyberbullying and your online reputation tarnished. It is important to understand that the footprint you leave may never go away and may cause trouble for you down the road.

Negative footprints could hurt your credibility regarding future admissions to programs or future employment. Comedian Kevin Hart (b. 1979), for example, lost a job hosting the Academy Awards when some of his negative posts resurfaced, even after he rescinded them and acknowledged the problem. Right or wrong, social media leaves a trail for others to find. In other words, what are you showing others about your talents and skills through your social media presence? The point is that with its wonder and power, social media should be treated responsibly and with an awareness of its longevity. One way to better judge what you might post would be to consider the rhetorical situation so that you can anticipate an audience reaction based on genre, purpose, stance, context, and cultural awareness.

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books writing and reading

The Relationship between Reading and Writing: An Overview

From talking to writing: teaching oral, reading, and writing skills simultaneously through understanding the relationship between reading and writing.

From Talking to Writing: Teaching Oral, Reading, and Writing Skills Simultaneously through Understanding the Relationship between Reading and Writing

Spoken language mastery is essential for reading and writing. Some of the most influential cognitive abilities that provide a foundation for speaking, reading and writing are: attention , verbal working memory, executive functioning and processing speed . These cognitive abilities are closely related and share common functions.  For example, students need to pay sustained attention to speech sounds as well as recognize and manipulate speech sounds in words.  Learners demonstrate this ability in reading while decoding words whereas in writing, this ability is revealed through spelling.  Another example is verbal working memory .  This cognitive skill is limited to the amount of material working memory can hold and in the length of time the manipulation of language can be expressed. When students are reading text, they often hold a completed sentence in working memory and then reread the preceding sentence to enhance their understanding.  During writing while composing phrases, sentences and paragraphs, writers are using verbal working memory.  A third cognitive ability is executive functioning whereby students need to plan, self-monitor and alter plans during language tasks.  For instance, both readers and writers need to self-monitor for visually similar words (of/off) and homonyms (sail/sale). Last but not least is processing speed , the rate at which learners are able to retrieve information and execute plans.  Proficient readers and writers are able to rapidly name several elements of a given category while students with slower processing speed may be accurate in their responses, but their production is almost always very slow.  In order for students to develop fluent reading or written expression, they need structured teaching as well as enough practice using their reading and writing skills .

books writing and reading

Reading and writing are not identical skills but do share the cognitive abilities mentioned previously.  Before actual reading begins and as an aid to comprehension, two pre-reading exercises can help to support the reader’s ability to focus attention on the reading material.  One such exercise is to recall background knowledge, internalized from life experience about a topic, and then match that knowledge to the text.  Another is to identify new and unfamiliar words from the assigned text and learn their meanings from the words and phrases around them.  Once this is completed, the actual reading begins.  A competent reader engages in the following:

  • activates phonological awareness skills (how letters and sounds correspond)
  • recognizes how the sounds blend together to form words
  • decodes the words printed on the page
  • realizes word recognition
  • attaches meaning to those words
  • reads with fluency
  • comprehends what has just been read

A main component of fluent reading is word recognition, the ability to recognize written words correctly and automatically. This ability helps to ensure writing words correctly as students learn to represent letter forms in memory as well as the strategies for their automatic retrieval from memory.  Students who read effortlessly over time enjoy successful wide-reading experiences.  As a result, they are at an advantage for being exposed to learning more words and growing their vocabulary.  This word exposure not only enhances their reading comprehension but also creates better spellers.  In addition, children who develop good understanding of what they read may display a greater interest in writing.  They become aware of the word relationships in a variety of sentence patterns and how authors structure text along with the rules that govern it.

books writing and reading

When looking at the relationship between reading and writing, writing is the act of scribing words and sentences on paper.  Therefore, it is necessary to have facts and experiences to share.  Prior to writing both at the sentence and paragraph levels, the writer needs to consider the topic and summon background knowledge and ideas in support of that topic.  Following that, students should exhibit a clear understanding of sentence structure as well as the rules for correct grammar.  Additionally, it is important for writers to construct a plan that structures and organizes their paragraph-level writing.

Such a plan ensures that each sentence links logically with the preceding sentence to produce a smooth flow or cohesion.  Writing, which incorporates word recognition and reading comprehension, places the greatest demand on verbal working memory and relies on the skills that follow:

  • mechanics: handwriting
  • phonology: speech sounds that make up words (e.g., bit = “b”+“i”+“t”)
  • semantics: word meanings and concepts
  • morphology: meaningful parts of words (roots, affixes, and inflections such as -ed verb endings that indicate past action)
  • syntax: rules for the order of words in sentences (simple to complex) and grammar rules
  • discourse: narrative structure versus expository structure

In consideration of the relationship between reading and writing, even more than reading, writing depends on the mastery of the most basic skills such as spelling and hand- writing. Through direct and explicit instruction, teachers need to systematically teach a hierarchy of formal spelling rules that transition from short and long vowel patterns to irregular word spelling. Without this instruction, writers who struggle with spelling may lose track of their thoughts as they try to spell a specific word used in context or process sound-symbol relationships (phonology and morphology).  In addition, it is important and necessary for students to receive handwriting instruction. The development of legible handwriting enhances spelling, aids writing fluency and frees mental energy for higher order cognitive skills, especially at the multi-sentence or paragraph level.

In closing this article on the relationship between reading and writing, the underlying cognitive abilities, attention , verbal working memory, executive functioning and processing speed are critical in their support of learning to read and write and need to be considered as linguistic skills are taught. Although it appears plausible that the features of reading and writing are the same, it is evident that they are not totally equal.  What is most important to remember is that the automatization of reading and writing skills is essential.  Students benefit most when instruction is direct and explicit, and sufficient review and practice are provided.

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Forget the ‘reading rules’ – and other lessons from a life with books

A writing professor reflects on the mistakes we make when we turn reading into a chore.

During the final days of 2023, my Instagram feed was filled with posts from readers attempting to squeeze in a few last books to meet their Goodreads Challenge goal: three more novels to 50, one last title after Christmas to clear 100, and speed-reading my last two to hit my goal.

I thought of these posts — and the surrounding debates in bookish circles over whether audiobooks or graphic novels “count” as reading — while working my way through “ Why We Read: On Bookworms, Libraries and Just One More Page Before Lights Out ,” a warm and funny memoir in essays from the appropriately named Shannon Reed.

Covering topics ranging from the deliciousness of that twist in “Gone Girl” and the joy of Amish romance novels to the semester she spent decoding George Saunders’s “Lincoln in the Bardo,” Reed — who teaches writing and contemporary fiction at the University of Pittsburgh — chronicles her lifelong relationships with books and reading.

Underlying each essay, though, is a conviction that people should read what they want to read. The latest Emily Henry book, “Moby-Dick” and tomes on U.S. history, she explains, all offer value to the reader.

“There are simply too many rules about reading,” she writes. “Worse, the higher up the ladder of being a Good Reader … people go, the more rules they seem to have internalized.”

These rules, such as reading the right literary books and eschewing genre fiction, make reading a duty instead of a joyful exercise. It’s a message that anyone obsessing over meeting their Goodreads goal could use: Throw out the expectations about reading properly, and do what makes you happy.

But every bookworm, even those not hemmed in by constraints, will find an essay, perhaps many, to enjoy in “Why We Read . ” Its witty and joyful installments document Reed’s early years reading, her time teaching high school and then university students, and the books that helped her through tough times. As someone who never leaves the house without at least one book in my bag, I found myself nodding along, thinking, “That’s me!” at countless passages.

Can novels make us better people?

The collection opens with Reed reflecting on how she turned to books as a hearing-impaired child. The books she devoured gave her a place where she felt entirely at home. Family trips to national parks were spent reading Nancy Drew mysteries, not taking in the scenery around her. Nights were spent trying to squeeze in just one more page before falling asleep.

“You have an evening companion: your book. You’re reading. There’s nothing else to do except sleep, which has no appeal, not until you know what happens after Jo cuts off all of her hair,” she writes in lines that instantly transported me to the first time I read “Little Women.”

Years later, Reed works as a teacher helping existing book lovers find more to read. In one particularly lovely moment, she explains to a low-income student that all the books at the public library are available free. The student, blown away after showing Reed her newfound treasures, whispers, “All my best friends are at the library.”

In one of the collection’s strongest essays, Reed recounts teaching “The Diary of Young Girl” as a substitute early in her career. In it, she criticizes the way books and literature are often taught, showing that it can take the fun out of reading. Simultaneously, she demonstrates how much she has learned from leading class discussions, even after teaching the same texts dozens of times. When a student brings a class to silence by admitting she didn’t think she would have the courage to protect Anne Frank and her family, “every one of us grasped that protecting innocent fellow humans was the only morally correct choice. Yet only one of us was willing to admit what had to be true: that if this [had] been asked of most of us, we wouldn’t have done it.” That discussion, she theorizes, stayed with her students long after any book they simply took a test on would have.

Another standout essay focuses on Reed’s experience reading Atul Gawande’s “ Being Mortal” as her father died and then again seven years later after experiencing the covid-19 pandemic. The book devastates her while leaving her with a greater appreciation of the small moments of her life. It’s a potent reminder of the power of finding the right book at the right time.

Despite these dark topics, Reed, a semifinalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor, intersperses her essays with funny lists gently mocking bibliophiles and genre conventions, such as “Signs You May Be an Adult Character in a YA Novel” (“Your kid’s friends think you’re the best”) and “Signs You May Be a Character in a Popular Children’s Book” (“You would like a hug”).

“Why We Read” would be a delightful addition to any bookworm’s shelves. In exploring the comfort and companionship books offer us, Reed gives her reader those gifts, as well.

Elizabeth Held is a writer in D.C. Her weekly newsletter, “ What To Read If ,” recommends a wide range of books.

Why We Read

On Bookworms, Libraries and Just One More Page Before Lights Out

By Shannon Reed

Hanover Square. 329 pp. $27.99

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Best books of 2023: See our picks for the 10 best books of 2023 or dive into the staff picks that Book World writers and editors treasured in 2023. Check out the complete lists of 50 notable works for fiction and the top 50 non-fiction books of last year.

Find your favorite genre: These four new memoirs invite us to sit with the pleasures and pains of family. Lovers of hard facts should check out our roundup of some of the summer’s best historical books . Audiobooks more your thing? We’ve got you covered there, too . We also predicted which recent books will land on Barack Obama’s own summer 2023 list . And if you’re looking forward to what’s still ahead, we rounded up some of the buzziest releases of the summer .

Still need more reading inspiration? Every month, Book World’s editors and critics share their favorite books that they’ve read recently . You can also check out reviews of the latest in fiction and nonfiction .

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Writing and Reading Connections

Bridging research and practice, edited by zoi a. philippakos and steve graham foreword by jill fitzgerald.

  • description W riting skills are essential for success in the 21st-century school and workplace, but most classrooms devote far more time to reading instruction, with writing often addressed in isolation or excluded. In this insightful professional development resource and text, leading researchers discuss why and how to integrate writing and reading instruction in grades K–12 and beyond. Contributors explore how to harness writing–reading connections to support learning in such areas as phonics and spelling, vocabulary, understanding genre and text structure, and self-regulated strategy development, as well as across content areas and disciplines. Special considerations in teaching emergent bilingual students and struggling literacy learners are described. User-friendly features include guiding questions, classroom examples, and action questions that help teachers translate the research and concepts into practice. An NCTQ Exemplary Text for Reading Instruction -->

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  • All titles by Zoi A. Philippakos
  • All titles by Steve Graham
  • contributors Laura K. Allen , PhD, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN Pamela Shanahan Bazis , PhD, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Knoxville, TN Alison Boardman , PhD, School of Education, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO Sybille Bruun , Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY Sandra A. Butvilofsky , PhD, School of Education, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO Huy Q. Chung , PhD, School of Education, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA Scott A. Crossley , PhD, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN Paul D. Deane , PhD, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ Nell K. Duke , EdD, Combined Program in Education and Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI Steve Graham , EdD, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ Mariel Halpern , PhD candidate, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY Anne-Lise Halvorsen , PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI Brian Hand , PhD, College of Education, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA Karen R. Harris , EdD, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ Michael A. Hebert , PhD, School of Education, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA Young-Suk Kim , EdD, School of Education, University of California, Irvine,CA Jenell Krishnan , PhD, Strategic Literacy Initiative, WestEd, Irvine, CA Deanna Kuhn , PhD, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY Catherine Lammert , PhD, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX Charles A. MacArthur , PhD, School of Education, University of Delaware, Newark, DE Linda H. Mason , PhD, Helen A. Kellar Institute for Human DisAbilities, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA Margaret G. McKeown , PhD, School of Education, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA Adiba Nusrat , PhD, Forsyth Technical Community College, Winston-Salem, NC Carol Booth Olson , PhD, School of Education, University of California, Irvine,CA Zoi A. Philippakos , PhD, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN Sarah R. Powell , PhD, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX Abby Reisman , PhD, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA Tanya Santangelo , PhD, School of Education, Arcadia University, Glenside, PA Timothy Shanahan , PhD, College of Education, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL Allison N. Sonia , PhD, Lyon College, Batesville, AR -->

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books writing and reading

20 Must-Read Books About Books

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Emily Martin

Emily has a PhD in English from the University of Southern Mississippi, MS, and she has an MFA in Creative Writing from GCSU in Milledgeville, GA, home of Flannery O’Connor. She spends her free time reading, watching horror movies and musicals, cuddling cats, Instagramming pictures of cats, and blogging/podcasting about books with the ladies over at #BookSquadGoals (www.booksquadgoals.com). She can be reached at [email protected].

View All posts by Emily Martin

books writing and reading

Though a bestselling author of gripping thrillers, Sabrina Brooks lives a quiet life in the Berkshires—until a mysterious letter arrives, declaring that she’s heir to an estate outside London. The trip to see the manor stirs up memories of her emotionally distant father and his secrets. Determined to sell the estate quickly, Sabrina is surprised by how much she loves roaming the gardens and exploring the historic manor, especially with the handsome estate attorney, Grayson Abbott. Soon Sabrina begins to wonder what life would be like as “Lady Brooks.” Is she brave enough to choose a different path?

There’s one thing we all know for sure. People who regularly read books… love books. We love the way they look, the way they feel, the way they smell. We love admiring our collection of books on our shelves (even if we’ve only read, like, half of them). We love shopping for books. We love talking about books. We love writing about books. We love reading books. And, yes, we love reading about books. Books are more than just a hobby. They’re a lifestyle.

Is it any wonder then that so many books are stories about books? Sure, reading is fun, but consider the pure euphoria of reading a book about other people who also have a deep love of literature? It’s reader kryptonite. If you want to fuel your love for books, just read more about other people who love books and watch how your obsession grows.

The other fun thing about books about books? They really run the gamut in terms of genre. Book lovers are everywhere: in literary fiction, thrillers, romance, fantasy, nonfiction, satire, and more. If you want true joy in your reading life, add a bunch of books about books to your TBR pile. Not sure where to start? Here are 20 books about books that are absolute must-reads.

Yellowface by R.F. Kuang Book Cover

Yellowface by R.F. Kuang

June Hayward dreams of being a literary star, but she worries no one cares about reading stories about white girls. So when her friend Athena Liu unexpectedly dies, June does the only thing she can think to do: she steals Athena’s manuscript, an experimental novel about Chinese laborers in World War I, and submits it as her own work. With this new book, June rebrands herself as Juniper Song and uses an ethnically ambiguous picture as her author photo. The book becomes a New York Times bestseller, but June can’t escape her guilt, or the fear that her secret will come out.

the wishing game book cover

The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer

Jack Masterson was the best-selling author of the beloved Clock Island series. But then he suddenly quit writing under mysterious circumstances. Now he’s back and he’s written a brand new book. What’s more, he’s holding a contest at his home on the real Clock Island. Four lucky contestants will be invited to join him there for an opportunity to obtain the one and only copy of his new book. For twenty-six-year-old Lucy Hart, who found solace in the Clock Island books, this contest is the opportunity of a lifetime. But she’ll have to compete against others before she can get to the book…including one far-too-handsome competitor, Hugo Reese. Meanwhile, Jack Masterson still has a few tricks up his sleeve.

the last word book cover

The Last Word by Taylor Adams

Ever think a negative Goodreads review would get you into trouble? That’s what happens to Emma Carpenter in The Last Word . After she leaves a one-star review for a poorly written horror novel by an author named H.G. Kane, she finds herself in a nasty online argument with the author himself. But it doesn’t stop there. As more and more mysterious and disturbing things start happening to her, Emma worries that this author is actually stalking her. Who is H.G. Kane? And what is he capable of?

cover of Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Törzs

Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Törzs

Of course, all books are a little bit magic, but in Emma Törzs’ debut novel Ink Blood Sister Scribe, these books are seriously magic. Joanna and Esther are half-sisters who have been raised to protect a collection of rare books that allow the reader to do magic. The only problem? The sisters haven’t spoken for years. But then their father dies after reading a mysterious book they’ve never seen before, and the sisters are forced to reunite to protect their family’s books. In the process, they’ll discover just how big the world of magic truly is.

Book cover of The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks by Shauna Robinson

The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks by Shauna Robinson

Running a bookshop is every book lover’s dream. But when Maggie Banks arrives in Bell River to help run her best friend’s bookstore, she realizes the job isn’t going to be as easy as she thought. The town’s literary society is stuck in the past, and they insist the bookstore only carries the classics. If Maggie wants the bookstore to succeed, however, she’s going to have to think outside of the box. And so she starts a secret book club, celebrating the forbidden contemporary books that readers actually love to read.

book cover of By the Book by Jasmine Guillory

By the Book by Jasmine Guillory

By the Book is a sweet, modern romcom retelling of the classing fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast.” Isabelle is one of the few Black employees at her publishing company, and the job is nothing like she thought it would be. She feels overworked, underpaid, and under-appreciated. So when Isabelle hears about Beau Towers, a “beastly” author who has yet to turn in his promised manuscript, she sees an opportunity. All she has to do is show up at Beau’s mansion in Santa Barbara and convince him to finish the manuscript. Then she’ll surely get that long-overdue promotion. Simple enough, right?

looking glass sound book cover

Looking Glass Sound by Catriona Ward

In Catriona Ward’s Looking Glass Sound, a writer tries to come to terms with the horrors of his past. Wilder Harlow experienced on summer that changed everything. When he was young, a killer stalked his small town in Maine, and a life-shattering tragedy bonded Wilder to his friends Nat and Harper. Now, decades later, Wilder has returned to the town to write his memoir in the hopes of making sense of that summer. But the longer he spends in the town and the more he writes, the more Wilder feels like he’s losing his grip on reality. In fact, it feels as if the book is somehow writing itself.

Book cover of the neighbor favor by Kristina Forest

The Neighbor Favor by Kristina Forest

Lily Greene is a shy book-lover who dreams of one day becoming a children’s book editor. But for the past several years, she’s been stuck doing nonfiction. The biggest joy in Lily’s life is her correspondence with her favorite fantasy author. It seems like forming a close friendship, until he stops writing her out of nowhere. Three months later, still missing her author friend and desperate to find a date to her sister’s wedding, she reaches out to her friendly new neighbor Nick Brown for help. Little does she know that Nick is actually the children’s author who ghosted her.

shadow of the wind book cover carlos ruiz zafon

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Set in Barcelona in 1945, during the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, this is the story of a strange book and the young boy who becomes fascinated by the mystery behind it. After Daniel discovers Julián Carax’s The Shadow of the Wind, he seeks out other books written by the author only to find that all of Carax’s written works are being destroyed. In fact, Daniel’s book might be the last book by the author in existence. Who would want to get rid of these books? And who is this mysterious author?

the book thief book cover

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living in Nazi Germany in Munich in 1939. Even while the world around her is falling apart, Liesel finds joy in stealing books, which her accordion-playing foster father helps her learn to read. Liesel shares her love of books and love of reading with others, including her neighbors and the Jewish man hiding in their basement. Oh, and in case you haven’t heard, this novel is narrated by Death itself.

Book cover of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

Nina Hill has everything she could ever want: a job at a bookstore, a killer trivia team, and a cat named Phil. But her life is upended when the father she never even knew she had dies, introducing her to a big family she never knew she was a part of. Nina is way more comfortable in the pages of a book than she is talking to strangers. And even worse, it’s not just her family that wants to get to know her. Tom, her cute trivia nemesis, is suddenly interested in spending more time with her too. If only people were as easy to read as books.

cover of Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

A mystery hidden within a mystery novel? This is the ideal whodunit for all book lovers. Alan Conway’s detective novels starring Atticus Pünd are reminiscent of classic British crime novels by authors such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. And Pünd is a wildly popular character. So popular that Conway’s editor Susan Ryeland is willing to put up with a lot of the author’s more eccentric behavior. But as Susan sits down to read Conway’s latest manuscript, she becomes increasingly suspicious that the story holds the key to a real-life murder mystery.

Book cover of The Woman in the Library

The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill

Here’s another bookish murder mystery. This one is set in the reading room at the Boston Public Library. When, out of nowhere, a scream shatters the calm, security guards rush to investigate straight away. They ask everyone else to remain where they are until they can figure out what happened. While stuck inside the reading room, four strangers who just happened to be sitting at the same table strike up a conversation. Each of them has their own reason for being in the reading room that day. And each of them has a secret. One of them is a murderer.

Book cover of The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams

The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams

How life-changing is your TBR list? While working at a local library, Aleisha finds a list of books she’s never heard of before crumpled up in the back of a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird . Intrigued, she decides to make it her mission to read every book on that list. The books end up being magical and transformative, and so Aleisha passes the list on to her widowed grandfather, in the hopes that they will help him as well. This book is a beautiful story about how books bring us together and can help make us feel whole again in the face of tragedy and loss.

Cover of Hell Of A Book

Hell of a Book by Jason Mott

Jason Mott’s Hell of a Book tells the story of a Black author on tour to promote his latest bestselling novel. The book also follows the story of Soot, a young Black child who lives in the South in the recent past and who also appears to the author while he’s on tour. As these two characters’ stories converge, we also learn more about a tragic police shooting that has shaken the nation.

Book cover of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

Cussy Mary is a traveling librarian who has come to the Appalachian town of Troublesome Creek as part of Roosevelt’s Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project. But the people of Troublesome Creek aren’t necessarily fond of the project, and they’re wary of Cussy. Especially because Cussy has blue skin, one of the last of her kind. If Cussy wants to make this book project a success, she’ll have to overcome the deep-seated prejudice in the community.

ex libris book cover

Ex Libris: 100+ Books to Read and Reread by Michiko Kakutani

Michiko Kakutani is a Pulitzer Prize-winning literary critic. In this collection of essays, the former New York Times critic shares memories of the books that have meant the most to her over the years and what these stories can teach us about the world today. Kakutani’s essays include important works of American history, classic children’s literature, acclaimed contemporary fiction, and more.

The library book by susan orlean book cover

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

Here’s another fascinating nonfiction book about books, from Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief. In this book, New Yorker reporter Orlean weaves in her own love of books and reading with an investigation into a strange and unexplained fire. On April 28, 1986, the Los Angeles Public Library went up in flames, a fire that went on for more than seven hours. By the time it was over, it had destroyed four hundred thousand books. But over thirty years later, it is still unknown how this happened. Was the fire started by someone on purpose? And if so, who and why?

cover of The Library a Fragile History by Arthur der Weduwen and Andrew Pettegree

The Library: A Fragile History by Andrew Pettegree & Arthur der Weduwen

If you’re a book lover, then you know libraries are magical places. But how did libraries come to be? Historians Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen explore this and more in The Library: A Fragile History. This is the storied and often troubled history of libraries across the world, from the antiquarians and philanthropists who curated some of the world’s greatest book collections to the crimes against rare manuscripts and everything in between.

Book cover for Read Dangerously

Read Dangerously by Azar Nafisi

Reading isn’t just a joy. It’s a political act. In Read Dangerously, Azar Nafisi explores the role of literature in an era where one political party is banning books at record rates. Structured as a series of letters to her father, the author examines the political power of literature from authors such as Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie, James Baldwin, Margaret Atwood, and more. Yes, we can fight back through literature. And this book takes a look at how.

Looking for more book recommendations, book lovers? Here are some lists of books about books we’ve put together in the past: 10 Books About Books for Serious Bibliophiles and 8 of the Best Books About Books .

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9 New Books We Recommend This Week

Suggested reading from critics and editors at The New York Times.

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Our recommended books this week run the gamut from a behind-the-scenes look at the classic film “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” to a portrait of suburbia in decline to a collection of presidential love letters with the amazing title “Are You Prepared for the Storm of Love Making?” (That question comes from a mash note written by Woodrow Wilson.) In fiction, we recommend debuts from DéLana R.A. Dameron, Alexander Sammartino and Rebecca K Reilly, alongside new novels by Cormac James, Ashley Elston and Kristin Hannah. Happy reading. — Gregory Cowles

COCKTAILS WITH GEORGE AND MARTHA: Movies, Marriage and the Making of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Philip Gefter

Rarely seen diary entries from the screenwriter who adapted Edward Albee’s Broadway hit are a highlight of this unapologetically obsessive behind-the-scenes look at the classic film starring the super-couple Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

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“Showed how the ‘cartoon versions of marriage’ long served up by American popular culture ... always came with a secret side of bitters.”

From Alexandra Jacobs’s review

Bloomsbury | $32

TRONDHEIM Cormac James

James’s new novel is a deep dive into a family navigating a crisis. It follows two mothers waiting in the I.C.U. to see if their son will wake up from a coma, and through that framework, explores their lives, their relationship, their beliefs and much more.

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“Hospital time has a particular and peculiar quality, and ‘Trondheim’ is dedicated to capturing the way it unfolds.”

From Katie Kitamura’s review

Bellevue Literary Press | Paperback, $17.99

REDWOOD COURT DéLana R.A. Dameron

This richly textured and deeply moving debut novel begins with an innocuous question: “What am I made of?” From there, a young Black girl in South Carolina begins to grapple with — and attempt to make sense of — a complicated family history and her place in it.

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“Dameron is a prizewinning poet and it shows: She does a beautiful job weaving in local vernacular and casting a fresh gaze on an engaging, though flawed, cast of characters.”

From Charmaine Wilkerson’s review

Dial Press | $28

LAST ACTS Alexander Sammartino

In this hilarious debut, a young man moves in with his father after a near-fatal overdose and decides to help save the family business, a Phoenix gun shop facing foreclosure. Their idea is to pledge a cut of every sale to fighting drug addiction, but they soon find themselves mired in controversy.

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“Sammartino is extraordinarily good at balancing the farcical nature of contemporary America with the complex humanity of his characters. He’s also a magnificent sentence writer.”

From Dan Chaon’s review

Scribner | $27

DISILLUSIONED: Five Families and the Unraveling of America’s Suburbs Benjamin Herold

Once defined by big homes, great schools and low taxes, the country’s suburbs, Herold shows in this dispiriting but insightful account, were poorly planned and are now saddled with poverty, struggling schools, dilapidated infrastructure and piles of debt.

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“An important, cleareyed account of suburban boom and bust, and the challenges facing the country today.”

From Ben Austen’s review

Penguin Press | $32

ARE YOU PREPARED FOR THE STORM OF LOVE MAKING? Letters of Love and Lust From the White House Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler

This charming collection features presidents from Washington to Obama writing about courtship, marriage, war, diplomacy, love, lust and loss, in winningly besotted tones.

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“Answers the question ‘What does a president in love sound like?’ with a refreshing ‘Just as dopey as anybody else.’ ... It is a lovely book, stuffed with romantic details.”

From W.M. Akers’s review

Simon & Schuster | $28.99

GRETA & VALDIN Rebecca K Reilly

Reilly’s generous, tender debut novel follows the exploits of two queer New Zealand 20-something siblings from a hodgepodge, multicultural family as they navigate the chaos of young adulthood, and as they come closer to understanding themselves and their desires.

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“If this novel shows us anything, it’s that love — of family, of romantic partners, of community — is most joyful when it’s without limits.”

From Eleanor Dunn’s review

Avid Reader Press | $28

THE WOMEN Kristin Hannah

In her latest historical novel, Hannah shows the Vietnam War through the eyes of a combat nurse. But what the former debutante witnesses and experiences when she comes home from the war is the true gut punch of this timely story.

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“The familiar beats snare you from the outset. ... Hannah’s real superpower is her ability to hook you along from catastrophe to catastrophe, sometimes peering between your fingers, because you simply cannot give up on her characters.”

From Beatriz Williams’s review

St. Martin’s | $27

FIRST LIE WINS Ashley Elston

In Elston’s edgy, smart thriller, Evie Porter has just moved in with her boyfriend, a hunky Louisiana businessman. Sadly for him, their relationship is likely to be short-lived, because she’s a criminal and he’s her latest mark.

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“Evie makes for a winning, nimble character. Elston raises the stakes with unexpected developments.”

From Sarah Lyall’s thrillers column

Pamela Dorman Books | $28

Explore More in Books

Want to know about the best books to read and the latest news start here..

Even in countries where homophobia is pervasive and same-sex relationships are illegal, queer African writers are pushing boundaries , finding an audience and winning awards.

In Lucy Sante’s new memoir, “I Heard Her Call My Name,” the author reflects on her life and embarking on a gender transition  in her late 60s.

For people of all ages in Pasadena, Calif., Vroman’s Bookstore, founded in 1894, has been a mainstay in a world of rapid change. Now, its longtime owner says he’s ready to turn over the reins .

Do you want to be a better reader?   Here’s some helpful advice to show you how to get the most out of your literary endeavor .

Each week, top authors and critics join the Book Review’s podcast to talk about the latest news in the literary world. Listen here .

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The model Kaia Gerber reading a book

‘Reading is so sexy’: gen Z turns to physical books and libraries

Book sales boom as readers escape the ‘oversaturation and noise of the wild west digital landscape’

T hey have killed skinny jeans and continue to shame millennials for having side partings in their hair. They think using the crying tears emoji to express laughter is embarrassing. But now comes a surprising gen Z plot twist. One habit that those born between 1997 and 2012 are keen to endorse is reading – and it’s physical books rather than digital that they are thumbing.

This week the 22-year-old model Kaia Gerber launched her own book club, Library Science. Gerber, who this month appears on the cover of British Vogue alongside her supermodel mum, Cindy Crawford, describes it as “a platform for sharing books, featuring new writers, hosting conversations with artists we admire – and continuing to build a community of people who are as excited about literature as I am”.

“Books have always been the great love of my life,” she added. “Reading is so sexy.”

Gerber isn’t alone. Last year in the UK 669m physical books were sold, the highest overall level ever recorded. Research from Nielsen BookData highlights that it is print books that gen Z favour, accounting for 80% of purchases from November 2021 to 2022. Libraries are also reporting an uptick in gen Z users who favour their quiet over noisy coffee shops . In the UK in-person visits are up 71%.

While the BookTok charts – a subsection of TikTok where avid readers post recommendations – are regularly topped by fantasy and romance titles from authors such as Colleen Hoover, gen Z are reading a diverse range of genres.

“The gen Z book sphere is incredibly broad,” says Hali Brown, the 28-year-old co-founder of Books on the Bedside, a popular TikTok account dedicated to gen Z reading habits. “There is a lot of appreciation for literary fiction, memoirs, translated fiction and classics in particular,” says Brown.

Gerber’s first literary guest was the Iranian-American writer Kaveh Akbar, who joined the model on a video call to discuss his debut novel, Martyr! On the Library Science site, a curated collection of recommended reads include Joan Didion and Jia Tolentino.

“There is a bit of a subculture within the gen Z book world which is ‘hot girl books’ or ‘sad girl books’,” explains Brown. “These largely skew towards literary fiction and memoir and deal in some way with girlhood or womanhood.”

The 28-year-old model Kendall Jenner became the unofficial face of this new “Lit Girls’ Club” when she was pictured on a yacht in 2019 off the Côte d’Azur reading Tonight I’m Someone Else, a collection of essays by Chelsea Hodson musing on the objectification and commodification of the body. Jenner’s copy was covered in green Post-it notes.

She has also been photographed by a pool in the south of France reading Darcie Wilder’s Literally Show Me a Healthy Person, which explores grief and anxiety, alongside Miranda July’s collection of short stories, No One Belongs Here More Than You. Both Hodson’s and Wilder’s books sold out on Amazon within 24 hours of the photographs being published.

“Overall we are seeing a move towards escapism through the rise in speculative fiction, romance and fantasy, but I think it would be a mistake to homogenise gen Z and say they’re reading lighter,” says the author and literary agent Abigail Bergstrom. “With the oversaturation and noise of the wild west digital landscape, they are also demanding higher standards, especially when it comes to the authority and expertise of a writer on a particular subject.”

The “sad girl” genre isn’t limited to angsty females. The singer Harry Styles has been pictured carrying Didion while the reading habits of the actors Timothée Chalamet (28) and Jacob Elordi (26) have earned them the moniker of the Brontë Bros. Chalamet has name-checked Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment as one of his favourite books, while last October the Saltburn star was pictured carrying a copy of Prima Facie, a novel based on Suzie Miller’s play that explores sexual assault and the legal system.

After the photos of Jenner and Elordi were published there was a stream of online discourse stating we had entered an era of performative reading. Elsewhere, meme accounts regularly satirise readers of titles from the indie publisher Fitzcarraldo Editions, which have become known for their identical Yves Klein-blue covers.

Brown says she dislikes this type of discourse. “I think if they’re both keen to explore the world of reading, they shouldn’t be shut down in this way because they’re beautiful or have large internet presences. Book clubs imply that these are titles they’d like to explore with a community of like-minded people; that’s never a bad thing. If it gets more people reading, then that’s great.”

Gen Z-approved literary merch

T-shirt, £28.56 McNally Jackson Books https://www.bonfire.com/if-you-love-me-navy/ . As seen on Kaia Gerber . Carry a book for bonus style points.

Baseball cap, £27, The Paris Review https://store.theparisreview.org/collections/accessories/products/baseball-cap-in-forest-green . The model and author Emily Ratajkowski has endorsed this hat from the legendary literary magazine.

Tote bag, £19, Minor Canon https://minor-canon.com/en-gb/products/renata-adler-speedboat-tote . Minor Canon’s tote bags featuring prints of novels from acclaimed dead authors are the gen Z equivalent of the ubiquitous Daunt Books canvas carrier.

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The Loss of Things I Took for Granted

Ten years into my college teaching career, students stopped being able to read effectively..

Recent years have seen successive waves of book bans in Republican-controlled states, aimed at pulling any text with “woke” themes from classrooms and library shelves. Though the results sometimes seem farcical, as with the banning of Art Spiegelman’s Maus due to its inclusion of “cuss words” and explicit rodent nudity, the book-banning agenda is no laughing matter. Motivated by bigotry, it has already done demonstrable harm and promises to do more. But at the same time, the appropriate response is, in principle, simple. Named individuals have advanced explicit policies with clear goals and outcomes, and we can replace those individuals with people who want to reverse those policies. That is already beginning to happen in many places, and I hope those successes will continue until every banned book is restored.

If and when that happens, however, we will not be able to declare victory quite yet. Defeating the open conspiracy to deprive students of physical access to books will do little to counteract the more diffuse confluence of forces that are depriving students of the skills needed to meaningfully engage with those books in the first place. As a college educator, I am confronted daily with the results of that conspiracy-without-conspirators. I have been teaching in small liberal arts colleges for over 15 years now, and in the past five years, it’s as though someone flipped a switch. For most of my career, I assigned around 30 pages of reading per class meeting as a baseline expectation—sometimes scaling up for purely expository readings or pulling back for more difficult texts. (No human being can read 30 pages of Hegel in one sitting, for example.) Now students are intimidated by anything over 10 pages and seem to walk away from readings of as little as 20 pages with no real understanding. Even smart and motivated students struggle to do more with written texts than extract decontextualized take-aways. Considerable class time is taken up simply establishing what happened in a story or the basic steps of an argument—skills I used to be able to take for granted.

Since this development very directly affects my ability to do my job as I understand it, I talk about it a lot. And when I talk about it with nonacademics, certain predictable responses inevitably arise, all questioning the reality of the trend I describe. Hasn’t every generation felt that the younger cohort is going to hell in a handbasket? Haven’t professors always complained that educators at earlier levels are not adequately equipping their students? And haven’t students from time immemorial skipped the readings?

The response of my fellow academics, however, reassures me that I’m not simply indulging in intergenerational grousing. Anecdotally, I have literally never met a professor who did not share my experience. Professors are also discussing the issue in academic trade publications , from a variety of perspectives. What we almost all seem to agree on is that we are facing new obstacles in structuring and delivering our courses, requiring us to ratchet down expectations in the face of a ratcheting down of preparation. Yes, there were always students who skipped the readings, but we are in new territory when even highly motivated honors students struggle to grasp the basic argument of a 20-page article. Yes, professors never feel satisfied that high school teachers have done enough, but not every generation of professors has had to deal with the fallout of No Child Left Behind and Common Core. Finally, yes, every generation thinks the younger generation is failing to make the grade— except for the current cohort of professors, who are by and large more invested in their students’ success and mental health and more responsive to student needs than any group of educators in human history. We are not complaining about our students. We are complaining about what has been taken from them.

If we ask what has caused this change, there are some obvious culprits. The first is the same thing that has taken away almost everyone’s ability to focus—the ubiquitous smartphone. Even as a career academic who studies the Quran in Arabic for fun, I have noticed my reading endurance flagging. I once found myself boasting at a faculty meeting that I had read through my entire hourlong train ride without looking at my phone. My colleagues agreed this was a major feat, one they had not achieved recently. Even if I rarely attain that high level of focus, though, I am able to “turn it on” when demanded, for instance to plow through a big novel during a holiday break. That’s because I was able to develop and practice those skills of extended concentration and attentive reading before the intervention of the smartphone. For children who were raised with smartphones, by contrast, that foundation is missing. It is probably no coincidence that the iPhone itself, originally released in 2007, is approaching college age, meaning that professors are increasingly dealing with students who would have become addicted to the dopamine hit of the omnipresent screen long before they were introduced to the more subtle pleasures of the page.

The second go-to explanation is the massive disruption of school closures during COVID-19. There is still some debate about the necessity of those measures, but what is not up for debate any longer is the very real learning loss that students suffered at every level. The impact will inevitably continue to be felt for the next decade or more, until the last cohort affected by the mass “pivot to online” finally graduates. I doubt that the pandemic closures were the decisive factor in themselves, however. Not only did the marked decline in reading resilience start before the pandemic, but the students I am seeing would have already been in high school during the school closures. Hence they would be better equipped to get something out of the online format and, more importantly, their basic reading competence would have already been established.

Less discussed than these broader cultural trends over which educators have little control are the major changes in reading pedagogy that have occurred in recent decades—some motivated by the ever-increasing demand to “teach to the test” and some by fads coming out of schools of education. In the latter category is the widely discussed decline in phonics education in favor of the “balanced literacy” approach advocated by education expert Lucy Calkins (who has more recently come to accept the need for more phonics instruction). I started to see the results of this ill-advised change several years ago, when students abruptly stopped attempting to sound out unfamiliar words and instead paused until they recognized the whole word as a unit. (In a recent class session, a smart, capable student was caught short by the word circumstances when reading a text out loud.) The result of this vibes-based literacy is that students never attain genuine fluency in reading. Even aside from the impact of smartphones, their experience of reading is constantly interrupted by their intentionally cultivated inability to process unfamiliar words.

For all the flaws of the balanced literacy method, it was presumably implemented by people who thought it would help. It is hard to see a similar motivation in the growing trend toward assigning students only the kind of short passages that can be included in a standardized test. Due in part to changes driven by the infamous Common Core standards , teachers now have to fight to assign their students longer readings, much less entire books, because those activities won’t feed directly into students getting higher test scores, which leads to schools getting more funding. The emphasis on standardized tests was always a distraction at best, but we have reached the point where it is actively cannibalizing students’ educational experience—an outcome no one intended or planned, and for which there is no possible justification.

We can’t go back in time and do the pandemic differently at this point, nor is there any realistic path to putting the smartphone genie back in the bottle. (Though I will note that we as a society do at least attempt to keep other addictive products out of the hands of children.) But I have to think that we can, at the very least, stop actively preventing young people from developing the ability to follow extended narratives and arguments in the classroom. Regardless of their profession or ultimate educational level, they will need those skills. The world is a complicated place. People—their histories and identities, their institutions and work processes, their fears and desires—are simply too complex to be captured in a worksheet with a paragraph and some reading comprehension questions. Large-scale prose writing is the best medium we have for capturing that complexity, and the education system should not be in the business of keeping students from learning how to engage effectively with it.

This is a matter not of snobbery, but of basic justice. I recognize that not everyone centers their lives on books as much as a humanities professor does. I think they’re missing out, but they’re adults and they can choose how to spend their time. What’s happening with the current generation is not that they are simply choosing TikTok over Jane Austen. They are being deprived of the ability to choose—for no real reason or benefit. We can and must stop perpetrating this crime on our young people.

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  • News: IITE and partners in action

A workshop on reading and media and information literacy was held in Moscow

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On 4 September 2020, within the framework of the 33 rd Moscow International Book Fair, a workshop “Promotion of reading and media and information literacy in Russia: goals, objectives, achievements, challenges and perspectives” was held in Biblio-Globus Trading House in Moscow. The event was organized by the Russian Committee of the UNESCO Information for All Program, the Interregional Library Cooperation Centre, the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education, the Moscow State Pedagogical University and the Reading Association of Russia with the support of the Federal Agency for Press and Mass Media of the Russian Federation.

The event was held on-site and distantly and brought together over a hundred representatives of libraries, educational institutions, publishing houses, bookselling companies, the media, government agencies in the field of science, culture, education, communication and information.

The workshop was opened by welcome remarks from Mr. Boris Esenkin, President of Biblio-Globus Trading House, and Mr. Evgeny Kuzmin, Deputy Chair of the Intergovernmental Council and Chair of the Russian Committee of the UNESCO Information for All Program, President of the Interregional Library Cooperation Centre. The workshop was moderated by Mr. Sergey Bakeikin, Executive Director of the Interregional Library Cooperation Centre, Deputy Chair of the Russian Committee of the UNESCO Information for All Program, and Ms. Tatiana Murovana, Programme Specialist at UNESCO IITE.

A keynote speech on various aspects of promotion of reading was delivered by Mr. Evgeny Kuzmin, Deputy Chair of the Intergovernmental Council and Chair of the Russian Committee of the UNESCO Information for All Program, President of the Interregional Library Cooperation Centre. Ms. Natalya Borisenko, Leading Researcher at the Psychological Institute of the Russian Academy of Education, spoke about the issues of screen and paper reading, relying on data from the study of adolescent reading practices. Ms. Elena Romanicheva, Leading Researcher at the Laboratory of Sociocultural Educational Practices of the Institute of System Projects of the Moscow City University, addressed the challenges related to promotion of reading in the context of school education as well as the ways to overcome them. Ms. Tatyana Zhukova, Senior Researcher at the Institute for Strategy of Education Development of the Russian Academy of Education, President of the Association of School Librarians of the Russian World, made a presentation about the implementation of the project “Reading Mom. Reading School” and its role in improving the reading literacy of students.

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IMAGES

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  3. Read to Succeed: Content Area Reading and Writing for Fine Arts

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    Showing 1-50 of 1,162 On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (Mass Market Paperback) by Stephen King (Goodreads Author) (shelved 21 times as reading-and-writing) avg rating 4.34 — 284,698 ratings — published 2000 Want to Read Rate this book 1 of 5 stars 2 of 5 stars 3 of 5 stars 4 of 5 stars 5 of 5 stars Bird by Bird (Paperback) by

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    Le Guin has published two books about writing. The more recent of these, Steering the Craft (1998), is intended for experienced writers, the ones, she says, who "blow all Rules of Writing to bits.". It offers exercises and advice on storytelling, point of view, and grammar. For the younger author, there is her 1979 volume, The Language of ...

  9. Must Read List: Top 25 Best Books for Aspiring Writers

    The Forest for the Trees: An Editor's Advice to Writers. by Betsy Lerner. This book provides valuable insights into the editorial process and offers practical advice on how to work with editors and agents to get your work published. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. by Anne Lamott.

  10. The 15 Best Books on Writing for Authors, Novelists, and Bloggers

    5. Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. Plot and Structure is the go-to book on plotting. It has long been one of the best-selling books on fiction writing, and for good reason. This book will show you how to write a solid novel from the get-go by crafting a strong plot and story structure without plot holes or major developmental issues.

  11. New Books on Writing

    2. Read all the good books you can, and avoid nearly all magazines. 3. Always write (and read) with the ear, not the eye. You should hear every sentence you write as if it was being read aloud or ...

  12. The Best Books On Writing—From A Writer

    1. The Writing Life by Annie Dillard This is one of my all-time favorite essay collections for creative inspiration or for whenever I feel like I'm in a writing rut. I first read it during grad school in a single afternoon (it's only 111 pages) and was captivated by Dillard's ability to articulate the joys and pains of life as a working writer.

  13. Top 10 books about creative writing

    4. Madness, Rack, and Honey by Mary Ruefle. The collected lectures of poet and professor Mary Ruefle present us with an erudite inquiry into some of the major aspects of a writer's mind and craft.

  14. Books About Reading, Writing, and Instruction

    Book Info In this no-nonsense guide, primary reading expert and classroom teacher Lindsay Kemeny shares seven ways K-3 teachers can modify what they are currently doing to transform their reading instruction.

  15. 1.1 "Reading" to Understand and Respond

    Being critical in reading means knowing how to analyze distinctions, interpretations, and conclusions. Being critical in writing means making distinctions, developing interpretations, and drawing conclusions that stand up to thoughtful scrutiny by others. Becoming a critical thinker, then, means learning to exercise reason and judgment whenever ...

  16. The Relationship between Reading and Writing: An Overview

    In consideration of the relationship between reading and writing, even more than reading, writing depends on the mastery of the most basic skills such as spelling and hand- writing. Through direct and explicit instruction, teachers need to systematically teach a hierarchy of formal spelling rules that transition from short and long vowel ...

  17. Forget the 'reading rules'

    February 8, 2024 at 12:00 p.m. EST. (Hanover Square) During the final days of 2023, my Instagram feed was filled with posts from readers attempting to squeeze in a few last books to meet their ...

  18. Basics: Writing

    Books & Authors. Meet your favorite book creators, launch an author study, browse our themed booklists, get tips on how to choose and use kids' books, find guidance on building a more diverse bookshelf, celebrate annual literacy events with us, and more! ... As with reading skills, writing grows through explicit instruction. Writing is a ...

  19. Writing and Reading Connections

    Writing skills are essential for success in the 21st-century school and workplace, but most classrooms devote far more time to reading instruction, with writing often addressed in isolation or excluded. In this insightful professional development resource and text, leading researchers discuss why and how to integrate writing and reading instruction in grades K-12 and beyond.

  20. 20 Must-Read Books About Books

    People who regularly read books… love books. We love the way they look, the way they feel, the way they smell. We love admiring our collection of books on our shelves (even if we've only read, like, half of them). We love shopping for books. We love talking about books. We love writing about books. We love reading books.

  21. 9 New Books We Recommend This Week

    In fiction, we recommend debuts from DéLana R.A. Dameron, Alexander Sammartino and Rebecca K Reilly, alongside new novels by Cormac James, Ashley Elston and Kristin Hannah. Happy reading ...

  22. 'Reading is so sexy': gen Z turns to physical books and libraries

    But now comes a surprising gen Z plot twist. One habit that those born between 1997 and 2012 are keen to endorse is reading - and it's physical books rather than digital that they are thumbing ...

  23. Literacy crisis in college students: Essay from a professor on students

    Ten years into my college teaching career, students stopped being able to read effectively. Recent years have seen successive waves of book bans in Republican-controlled states, aimed at pulling ...

  24. A workshop on reading and media and information literacy was held in

    On 4 September 2020, within the framework of the 33 rd Moscow International Book Fair, a workshop "Promotion of reading and media and information literacy in Russia: goals, objectives, achievements, challenges and perspectives" was held in Biblio-Globus Trading House in Moscow. The event was organized by the Russian Committee of the UNESCO Information for All Program, the Interregional ...

  25. Moscow 1941: A City and Its People at War

    Download the free Kindle app and start reading Kindle books instantly on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. Learn more. ... 85 of the first 152 pages were marked in addition there was writing on 5 others. After page 152 there were no more markings, obviously the reader (or should I say scribbler !!) obviously gave ...

  26. Students' extracurricular reading behavior and the development of

    The least read type of text was nonfiction books. Almost two-thirds of the students indicated that they never or hardly ever read nonfiction books. With regard to reading so-called new media, online forums and chats as well as e-mails were very popular among the tested students. On average, they indicated using both media several times a week.

  27. The most recommended Moscow books (picked by 93 authors)

    Who picked these books? Meet our 93 experts. Larry Enmon Author. Andrew Lownie Author. Frieda Wishinsky Author. +87. 93 authors created a book list connected to Moscow, and here are their favorite Moscow books. Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission .

  28. TOEFL TestReady

    Reading and Listening: learn why your response was correct/ incorrect as well as why other response options were correct/incorrect. Speaking: receive feedback on speech rate, rhythm, pronunciation, grammar, and more, plus transcripts of your responses and exemplars for comparison. Writing: get specific feedback on grammar, usage, mechanics and ...