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The Book I Never Finished

04 Dec

unfinished businesses
Let’s talk a little about reading today.

In case it isn’t completely self-evident with the fact that I want to be a writer, I love to read.

I finish a book every 3 or 4 days, sometimes sooner, sometimes longer  – although, this usually occurs when I am trying to read several books simultaneously and it probably averages out the same.  Like many avid readers, or book lovers or whatever you like to call yourselves, I tend to have books piled up in strategic locations around my house (although fewer, and harder to reach locations since fathering a brood) and take almost as much pleasure from the simple act of gazing over the bindings of potential reads as I do from reading the books themselves. Each pile of books is peppered with variety, providing a selection of material for the right mood, available time, moon phase, etc.

What I Read

Ready for a ‘peak behind the curtain’ moment?

Okay, here goes: I like to read a wide variety of subjects and genres, but fiction before non-fiction. My non-fiction reading is pretty much centered around news & current events, books on writing or language, and historic tomes (I have degrees in History/Anthropology) and while I like the idea of reading Biographies, and have a shortlist of selections I would like to read, I haven’t ever found the time to dig into the genre.

I fell in love with Shakespeare and Voltaire and Joseph Conrad while in high school (I will never forget the moment of shock my grade 12 English teacher experienced when he discovered I had already read Heart of Darkness) and have slowly worked my way through the traditional canon of English lit ever since, and enjoyed most of what I read.


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Top 10 Books on Writing, by Writers

20 Jul

A writer may read for the enjoyment of it, as the enjoyment of reading is likely the incipient factor thrusting most of us naively along the writer’s path, but a serious writer no longer reads solely for the pleasure of reading alone.

Once we become aware of things like plot, and story, and characters, we begin paying closer attention to the forms and archetypes used by our favourite writers. Eventually we start picking up, or purposely examine the more in depth elements that make fulminate in a writer’s style – things like sentence structure, choice of wording, points of view, employed metaphors etc.

And eventually we understand that, to keep our imagination energized and our style fresh, we need to continue reading, and reading good material.

Enter this week’s PrefectWriting’s Tuesday Top 10 list.

PrefectWriting’s List of Top 10 Books on Writing, by Writers

In no particular order -

  1. The Elements of Style (aka Strunk and White) – William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White (On Amazon, 50th aniversary edition: My Affiliate Link | Affiliate Free Link )
  2. A Writer’s Diary – Virginia Woolf (On Amazon: My Affiliate Link | Affiliate Free Link)
  3. On Writing – Stephen King (on Amazon: My Affiliate Link | Affiliate Free Link)
  4. The Art & Craft of Novel Writing – Oakley Hall (On Amazon: My Affiliate Link | Affiliate Free Link)
  5. How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy – Orson Scott Card (On Amazon: My Affiliate Link | Affiliate Free Link )
  6. Ernest Hemingway on Writing – Ernest Hemingway (On Amazon: My Affiliate Link | Affiliate Free Link)
  7. The Notebooks of Henry James – Henry James (On Amazon: My Affiliate Link | Affiliate Free Link )
  8. The Crack-up – F. Scott Fitzgerald (On Amazon: My Affiliate Link | Affiliate Free Link )
  9. I to Myself: An Annotated Selection from the Journal of Henry D. Thoreau – Henry D. Thoreau (On Amazon: My Affiliate Link | Affiliate Free Link)
  10. The Notebooks of Anton Chekhov – Anton Chekhov (On Amazon: My Affiliate Link | Affiliate Free Link)
  11. Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You – Ray Bradbury (On Amazon: My Affiliate LinkAffiliate Free Link )