Book Review: Poetics

PoeticsPoetics by Aristotle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Classic work on plot and structure.

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Book Review: The Art of X-Ray Reading

The Art of X-Ray ReadingThe Art of X-Ray Reading by Roy Peter Clark
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a great book in a lot of ways. It’s easy for us to tell when we like some piece of writing and when we don’t, but it’s not always easy for us to tell why. Clark helps us look at a piece of writing and dissect it for examination. He calls it “X-ray reading.” Throughout the book he gives examples from mostly well-known literary works. There were a few things I could have done without and it would’ve been a five star book for me.

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Book Review: Zen in the Art of Writing

Zen in The Art of WritingZen in The Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is a collection of Bradbury’s essays grouped together around the topic of writing. It was part memoir and part advice. I gleaned a couple of book recommendations and I thought the title essay was the strongest.

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Review: Education of a Wandering Man

Education of a Wandering ManEducation of a Wandering Man by Louis L’Amour
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fascinating read. This is L’Amour’s autobiographical memoir of his life. He focuses on his wandering travels and the books he read all along the way. I have never read anything by L’Amour, nor did I know much about him. If you’re a reader or a writer, you will enjoy and learn from this book. You will probably like it also if you are a fan of L’Amour’s novels.

By many ways of measuring, he had a full life. He would argue that his life was richer still for the books he read and the people he met that told of him people, places, and events he could never know otherwise. Some books he names only. Some books he comments on. He also scattered nuggets about living life, reading, writing, and learning throughout the book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and picked up some good recommendations.

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Review: On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction

On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing NonfictionOn Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Everybody recommends some books because everybody recommends them. Being heard or read recommending them lends cachet in certain circles. Recommendations for those books are easy to find, but finding someone who actually read the book and can tell you what is good or useful about it is not easy. Zinsser’s book is not one of those books. Everybody recommends this book because it is excellent and worth reading.

This isn’t a technical grammar manual, but a book on writing clearly. Zinsser uses numerous examples to illustrate his points. If you read nothing else, read the chapter on clutter.

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