By January 14, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Reading Like a Writer

Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose is a book lover’s dream! In every chapter Prose breaks down the art of literature by its dazzling components–the sentence, the paragraph, characterization, gesture, dialogue—and creates an understanding and appreciation for the masters of the craft. The authors, stories, and scenes she uses to illustrate her point are inspired and inspiring—I wanted to run right out and read every author, short story, and novel she cited as examples throughout.

This is also a great book for book group leaders and book groups. For leaders who are burning out and feel they need some new strategies to get their group past the “I hated/loved it” morass, Prose’s approach to picking apart what a writer is doing would provide some excellent exercises for a leader to try. The book itself might be a nice discussion in and of itself. For one, it does introduce some new ways to read, but it also introduces some authors and books a group may not have encountered before. I mean, I fancy myself a fairly well read person (although I work with and know many others who totally blow me out of the water), and I didn’t know or hadn’t read half of the authors Prose mentions!

One of the final chapters is dedicated to the reading of Chekhov’s short stories and how he broke every rule and convention Prose felt she kept trying to impart on her writing students. I can’t wait to dedicate a little time to Chekhov myself. And thanks to Prose, I know that I will slow down and savor my reading a little more.

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About the Author:

Misha Stone is a readers' advisory librarian with The Seattle Public Library. Follow her on Twitter at @ahsimlibrarian.

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