Monday, April 21, 2014

Review: Reading Like a Writer

Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write ThemReading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

You should read every word and pay attention to the details of what you read and if you want to be a writer you should do this with the work of "masters." That is basically what Prose's book boils down to. She gives examples of looking at specific aspects of fiction (which is the only kind of writing she is really addressing) and passages that she breaks apart to examine. Exactly what she is seeing as the craft of each passage is instructive as far as developing this skill. If you don't have this skill (I learned to do this as an undergraduate literature student) Prose's book would teach you to look at writing this way and that will add to your appreciation of good writing.

I found the book a bit dull in spots and occasionally too high-brow (she makes blanket judgments about mass-market writers which I thought were uncalled for). The chapter on how Chekhov disproved all the advice she gave students in a writing workshop was my favorite part of the book. I haven't read any of Prose's fiction and I am curious about it now. I am adding Blue Angel and The Lives of the Muses (which is nonfiction) to my TBR list.

This book was part of my 2014 TBR Pile Challenge and I am counting it toward the What's in a Name 2014 Challenge (in the bonus category of a school subject: reading).

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