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100 Best Language & Writing Books

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Sister Outsider
Essays and Speeches (Crossing Press Feminist Series)
by Audre Lorde (Aug 01, 2007)
Goodreads Rating
Presenting the essential writings of black lesbian poet and feminist writer Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider celebrates an influential voice in twentieth-century literature. In this charged collection of fifteen essays and speeches, Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class, and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and...
Recommended by
Bianca Belair
The Fire Next Time
by James Baldwin (Dec 01, 1992)
Goodreads Rating
A national bestseller when it first appeared in 1963, The Fire Next Time galvanized the nation and gave passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement. At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin’s early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative d...
This Is Water
Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life
by David Foster Wallace (Apr 14, 2009)
Goodreads Rating
Only once did David Foster Wallace give a public talk on his views on life, during a commencement address given in 2005 at Kenyon College. The speech is reprinted for the first time in book form in THIS IS WATER. How does one keep from going through their comfortable, prosperous adult life unconsciously? How do we get ourselves out of the foregroun...
Recommended by
Peter Attia
Nonviolent Communication
A Language of Life
by Marshall B. Rosenberg (Sep 01, 2015)
Goodreads Rating
The latest edition of the communication guide that has sold more than 1,000,000 copies An enlightening look at how peaceful communication can create compassionate connections with family, friends, and other acquaintances, this international bestseller uses stories, examples, and sample dialogues to provide solutions to communication problems both ...
We Should All Be Feminists
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Jan 01, 2015)
Goodreads Rating
What does “feminism” mean today? That is the question at the heart of We Should All Be Feminists, a personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from her much-viewed TEDx talk of the same name—by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun. With humor and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique defini...
On Writing Well
The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
by William Zinsser (May 09, 2006)
Goodreads Rating
On Writing Well has been praised for its sound advice, its clarity and the warmth of its style. It is a book for everybody who wants to learn how to write or who needs to do some writing to get through the day, as almost everybody does in the age of e-mail and the Internet. Whether you want to write about people or places, science and technology, b...
Tiny Beautiful Things
Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar
by Cheryl Strayed (Jul 10, 2012)
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Life can be hard: your lover cheats on you; you lose a family member; you cant pay the billsand it can be great: youve had the hottest sex of your life; you get that plum job; you muster the courage to write your novel. Sugarthe once-anonymous online columnist at The Rumpus, now revealed as Cheryl Strayed, author of the bestselling memoir Wildis th...
On Writing
A Memoir of the Craft
by Stephen King (Jul 06, 2010)
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"Long live the King" hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King's On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer's craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King's advice is grounded in his viv...
Bird by Bird
Some Instructions on Writing and Life
by Anne Lamott (Aug 31, 1995)
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"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write. [It] was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized...
The Moth Presents All These Wonders
True Stories About Facing the Unknown
by Catherine Burns (Mar 21, 2017)
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From storytelling phenomenon The Moth, 45 unforgettable true stories about risk, courage, and facing the unknown, drawn from the best ever told on their stages Carefully selected by the creative minds at The Moth, and adapted to the page to preserve the raw energy of live storytelling, All These Wonders features voices both familiar and new. Alongs...
Recommended by
Tim Ferriss
Story
Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting
by Robert McKee (Nov 25, 1997)
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Robert McKee's screenwriting workshops have earned him an international reputation for inspiring novices, refining works in progress and putting major screenwriting careers back on track. Quincy Jones, Diane Keaton, Gloria Steinem, Julia Roberts, John Cleese and David Bowie are just a few of his celebrity alumni. Writers, producers, development exe...
Recommended by
Rolf Potts
Dreyer's English
An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style
by Benjamin Dreyer (Jan 29, 2019)
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A witty, informative guide to writing "good English" from Random House's longtime copy chief and one of Twitter's leading enforcers of proper grammar--a twenty-first-century ...
Recommended by
Christina Reynolds
Essays
by George Orwell (Oct 15, 2002)
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A generous and varied selection–the only hardcover edition available–of the literary and political writings of one of the greatest essayists of the twentieth century.Although best known as the author of Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-four, George Orwell left an even more lastingly significant achievement in his voluminous essays, which dealt with ...
Recommended by
Anthony Bourdain
A Collection of Essays
by George Orwell (Oct 21, 1970)
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George Orwell's collected nonfiction, written in the clear-eyed and uncompromising style that earned him a critical following One of the most thought-provoking and vivid essayists of the twentieth century, George Orwell fought the injustices of his time with singular vigor through pen and paper. In this selection of essays, he ranges from reflectio...
Recommended by
Gretchen Rubin
Trick Mirror
Reflections on Self-Delusion
by Jia Tolentino (Aug 06, 2019)
Goodreads Rating
Trick Mirror is an enlightening, unforgettable trip through the river of self-delusion that surges just beneath the surface of our lives. This is a book about the incentives that shape us, and about how hard it is to see ourselves clearly in a culture that revolves around the self. In each essay, Jia writes about the cultural prisms that have shape...
Turning Pro
Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life's Work
by Steven Pressfield (May 30, 2012)
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Turning pro is free, but it's not easy.When we turn pro, we give up a life that we may have become extremely comfortable with. We give up a self that we have come to identify with and to call our own.Turning pro is free, but it demands sacrifice.The passage from amateur to professional is often achieved via an interior odyssey whose trials are surv...
Bluets
by Maggie Nelson (Oct 01, 2009)
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Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a color...A lyrical, philosophical, and often explicit exploration of personal suffering and the limitations of vision and love, as refracted through the color blue. With Bluets, Maggie Nelson has entered the pantheon of brilliant lyric essayists.Maggie Nelson is the author of numerou...
Recommended by
Celeste Ng
The Emotion Thesaurus
A Writer's Guide to Character Expression (Second Edition) (Writers Helping Writers Series)
by Becca Puglisi (Feb 13, 2019)
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The bestselling Emotion Thesaurus, often hailed as “the gold standard for writers” and credited with transforming how writers craft emotion, has now been expanded to include 55 new entries!One of the biggest struggles for writers is how to convey emotion to readers in a unique and compelling way. When showing our characters’ feelings, we often use ...
Montaigne
Complete Essays
by Michel de Montaigne (May 05, 1992)
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Catalog of a private collection of mostly post-archaic Chinese jade carvings, including many very fine animals and human figures....
Recommended by
Alain de Botton
Working
by Robert A. Caro (Apr 09, 2019)
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From the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Power Broker and The Years of Lyndon Johnson: an unprecedented gathering of vivid, candid, deeply revealing recollections about his experiences researching and writing his acclaimed booksFor the first time in his long career, Robert Caro gives us a glimpse into his own life and work in these ev...
Recommended by
Tim O’Reilly
Art Matters
Because Your Imagination Can Change the World
by Neil Gaiman (Nov 20, 2018)
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Combining Neil Gaiman's extraordinary words with Chris Riddell's deft and striking illustrations, Art Matters will inspire its readers to seize the day in the name of art. Neil Gaiman once said that 'the world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before'. This little book is the embodiment of that vision. Drawn to...
Consider the Lobster and Other Essays
by David Foster Wallace (Jul 01, 2007)
Goodreads Rating
Do lobsters feel pain? Did Franz Kafka have a funny bone? What is John Updike's deal, anyway? And what happens when adult video starlets meet their fans in person? David Foster Wallace answers these questions and more in essays that are also enthralling narrative adventures. Whether covering the three-ring circus of John McCain's 2000 presidential ...
Minor Feelings
An Asian American Reckoning
by Cathy Park Hong (Feb 25, 2020)
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A ruthlessly honest, emotionally charged exploration of the psychological condition of being Asian American, by an award-winning poet and essayist Asian Americans inhabit a purgatorial status: neither white enough nor black enough, unmentioned in most conversations about racial identity. In the popular imagination, Asian Americans are all high-achi...
Recommended by
Jia Tolentino
The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition
by William Strunk Jr. (Aug 01, 1999)
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'The Elements of Style' (1918), by William Strunk, Jr., is an American English writing style guide. It is the best-known, most influential prescriptive treatment of English grammar and usage, and often is required reading and usage in U.S. high school and university composition classes. This edition of 'The Elements of Style' details eight elementa...
Slouching Towards Bethlehem
Essays (FSG Classics)
by Joan Didion (Oct 28, 2008)
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The first nonfiction work by one of the most distinctive prose stylists of our era, Slouching Towards Bethlehem remains, forty years after its first publication, the essential portrait of America— particularly California—in the sixties. It focuses on such subjects as John Wayne and Howard Hughes, growing up a girl in California, ruminating on the n...
The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson
by Ralph Waldo Emerson (Sep 12, 2000)
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Introduction by Mary OliverCommentary by Henry James, Robert Frost, Matthew Arnold, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Henry David Thoreau   The definitive collection of Emerson’s major speeches, essays, and poetry, The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson chronicles the life’s work of a true “American Scholar.” As one of the architects of the transce...
Recommended by
Michael Pollan
Fluent Forever
How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It
by Gabriel Wyner (Aug 05, 2014)
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The ultimate rapid language-learning guide! For those who’ve despaired of ever learning a foreign language, here, finally, is a book that will make the words stick. At thirty years old, Gabriel Wyner speaks six languages fluently. He didn’t learn them in school -- who does? -- rather, he learned them in the past few years, working on his own and pr...
Recommended by
Derek Sivers
The White Album
Essays (FSG Classics)
by Joan Didion (Nov 10, 2009)
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First published in 1979, The White Album records indelibly the upheavals and aftermaths of the 1960s. Examining key events, figures, and trends of the era—including Charles Manson, the Black Panthers, and the shopping mall—through the lens of her own spiritual confusion, Joan Didion helped to define mass culture as we now understand it. Written wit...
Wonderbook
The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction
by Jeff VanderMeer (Jul 03, 2018)
Goodreads Rating
Wonderbook has become the definitive guide to writing science fiction and fantasy by offering an accessible, example-rich approach that emphasizes the importance of playfulness as well as pragmatism. It also exploits the visual nature of genre culture and employs bold, full-color drawings, maps, renderings, and visualizations to stimulate creative ...
Recommended by
Jamie McKelvie
The Art of Eating
50th Anniversary Edition
by M.F.K. Fisher (Feb 20, 2004)
Goodreads Rating
This book is the essence of M.F.K. Fisher, whose wit and fulsome opinions on food and those who produce it, comment upon it, and consume it are as apt today as they were several decades ago, when she composed them. Why did she choose food and hunger she was asked, and she replied, 'When I write about hunger, I am really writing about love and the h...
My Own Devices
True Stories from the Road on Music, Science, and Senseless Love
by Dessa (Aug 27, 2019)
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"Dessa writes beautifully about a wide range of topics, including science, music, and the pain that comes with being in love; it's a surprising and generous memoir by a singular voice."--NPR, Best Books of 2018Dessa defies category--she is an intellectual with an international rap career and an inhaler in her backpack; a creative writer fascinated ...
Recommended by
Lin-Manuel Miranda
String Theory
David Foster Wallace on Tennis
by David Foster Wallace (May 10, 2016)
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An instant classic of American sportswriting—the tennis essays of David Foster Wallace, “the best mind of his generation” (A. O. Scott) and “the best tennis-writer of all time” (New York Times) Both a onetime "near-great junior tennis player" and a lifelong connoisseur of the finer points of the game, David Foster Wallace wrote about tennis with th...
Recommended by
Bill GatesBen Shapiro
Shrill
by Lindy West (Feb 28, 2017)
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Shrill is an uproarious memoir, a feminist rallying cry in a world that thinks gender politics are tedious and that women, especially feminists, can't be funny. Coming of age in a culture that demands women be as small, quiet, and compliant as possible--like a porcelain dove that will also have sex with you--writer and humorist Lindy West quickly d...
Recommended by
Matt McGorry
Breakthrough Advertising
by Eugene M. Schwartz (Jan 01, 2004)
Goodreads Rating
This is not a book just for copywriters and other advertising experts but a book for every business owner, marketing expert or anyone who needs to increase sales.The reason why is because it deals with how to channel the forces in the marketplace which control sales.Put simply, Gene's book addresses the universal problem of all copywriting: How to ...
The Elements of Eloquence
by Mark Forsyth (Nov 03, 2016)
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The idiosyncratic, erudite and brilliantly funny new book from Mark Forsyth, bestselling author of The Etymologicon and The Horologicon.In an age unhealthily obsessed with substance, this is a book on the importance of pure style.From classic poetry to pop lyrics and from the King James Bible to advertising slogans, Mark Forsyth explains the secret...
Because Internet
Understanding the New Rules of Language
by Gretchen McCulloch (Jul 23, 2019)
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A linguistically informed look at how our digital world is transforming the English language. Language is humanity's most spectacular open-source project, and the internet is making our language change faster and in more interesting ways than ever before. Internet conversations are structured by the shape of our apps and platforms, from the grammar...
The Boron Letters
by Gary C. Halbert (Jun 11, 2013)
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A series of letters by history’s greatest copywriter Gary C. Halbert, explaining insider tactics and sage wisdom to his youngest son Bond. Once only available as part of a paid monthly premium, The Boron Letters are unique in the marketing universe and now they are a bona fide cult classic among direct response marketers and copywriters around the ...
The Art of Memoir
by Mary Karr (Sep 06, 2016)
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Credited with sparking the current memoir explosion, Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club spent more than a year at the top of the New York Times list. She followed with two other smash bestsellers: Cherry and Lit, which were critical hits as well.For thirty years Karr has also taught the form, winning teaching prizes at Syracuse. (The writing program there...
Recommended by
Tim Ferriss
The Collected Schizophrenias
Essays
by Esmé Weijun Wang (Feb 05, 2019)
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An intimate, moving book written with the immediacy and directness of one who still struggles with the effects of mental and chronic illness, The Collected Schizophrenias cuts right to the core. Schizophrenia is not a single unifying diagnosis, and Esmé Weijun Wang writes not just to her fellow members of the "collected schizophrenias" but to those...
Recommended by
Vaughan Bell
Metaphors We Live By
by George Lakoff (Apr 14, 2003)
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The now-classic Metaphors We Live By changed our understanding of metaphor and its role in language and the mind. Metaphor, the authors explain, is a fundamental mechanism of mind, one that allows us to use what we know about our physical and social experience to provide understanding of countless other subjects. Because such metaphors structure ou...
Wired for Story
The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence
by Lisa Cron (Jul 10, 2012)
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This guide reveals how writers can utilize cognitive storytelling strategies to craft stories that ignite readers’brains and captivate them through each plot element. Imagine knowing what the brain craves from every tale it encounters, what fuels the success of any great story, and what keeps readers transfixed. Wired for Story reveals these cognit...
Recommended by
Derek Sivers
Upstream
Selected Essays
by Mary Oliver (Oct 29, 2019)
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Comprising a selection of essays, Upstream finds beloved poet Mary Oliver reflecting on her astonishment and admiration for the natural world and the craft of writing.  As she contemplates the pleasure of artistic labor, finding solace and safety within the woods, and the joyful and rhythmic beating of wings, Oliver intimately shares with her reade...
I'm Telling the Truth, but I'm Lying
Essays
by Bassey Ikpi (Aug 20, 2019)
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A deeply personal collection of essays exploring Nigerian-American author Bassey Ikpis experiences navigating Bipolar II and anxiety throughout the course of her life.Bassey Ikpi was born in Nigeria in 1976. Four years later, she and her mother joined her father in Stillwater, Oklahoma a move that would be anxiety ridden for any child, but especial...
Recommended by
Andrew Jenks
Writing Down the Bones
Freeing the Writer Within (Shambhala Library)
by Natalie Goldberg (Mar 29, 2010)
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For more than twenty years Natalie Goldberg has been challenging and cheering on writers with her books and workshops. In her groundbreaking first book, she brings together Zen meditation and writing in a new way. Writing practice, as she calls it, is no different from other forms of Zen practice--"it is backed by two thousand years of studying the...
American Like Me
Reflections on Life Between Cultures
by America Ferrera (Sep 03, 2019)
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INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER From award-winning actress and political activist America Ferrera comes a vibrant and varied collection of first-person accounts from prominent figures about the experience of growing up between cultures.America Ferrera has always felt wholly American, and yet, her identity is inextricably linked to her parents’ ho...
The Anatomy of Story
22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller
by John Truby (Oct 14, 2008)
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John Truby is one of the most respected and sought-after story consultants in the film industry, and his students have gone on to pen some of Hollywood's most successful films, including Sleepless in Seattle, Scream, and Shrek. The Anatomy of Story is his long-awaited first book, and it shares all of his secrets for writing a compelling script. Bas...
Difficult Conversations
How to Discuss What Matters Most
by Douglas Stone (Nov 02, 2010)
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The 10th-anniversary edition of the New York Times business bestseller-now updated with "Answers to Ten Questions People Ask" We attempt or avoid difficult conversations every day-whether dealing with an underperforming employee, disagreeing with a spouse, or negotiating with a client. From the Harvard Negotiation Project, the organization that b...
The Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson
by Ralph Waldo Emerson (Apr 02, 1987)
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, Alfred Kazin observes in his Introduction, "was a great writer who turned the essay into a form all his own." His celebrated essays--the twelve published in Essays: First Series (1841) and eight in Essays: Second Series (1844)--are here presented for the first time in an authoritative one-volume edition, which incorporates all ...
Recommended by
Michael Pollan
The Source of Self-Regard
Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations (Vintage International)
by Toni Morrison (Jan 14, 2020)
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Here is Toni Morrison in her own words: a rich gathering of her most important essays and speeches, spanning four decades. These pages give us her searing prayer for the dead of 9/11, her Nobel lecture on the power of language, her searching meditation on Martin Luther King Jr., her heart-wrenching eulogy for James Baldwin. She looks deeply into th...
Recommended by
Barack Obama
Writing Tools
55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer
by Roy Peter Clark (Jan 09, 2008)
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One of America's most influential writing teachers offers a toolbox from which writers of all kinds can draw practical inspiration."Writing is a craft you can learn," says Roy Peter Clark. "You need tools, not rules." His book distills decades of experience into 50 tools that will help any writer become more fluent and effective. WRITING TOOLS cove...
Recommended by
Rolf Potts
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition
How to Edit Yourself Into Print
by Renni Browne (Apr 13, 2004)
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"A superb tutorial for anyone wanting to learn from pros how to polish fiction writing with panache."-- Library JournalHundreds of books have been written on the art of writing. Here at last is a book by two professional editors to teach writers the techniques of the editing trade that turn promising manuscripts into published novels and short stor...
The Negative Trait Thesaurus
A Writer's Guide to Character Flaws (Writers Helping Writers Series)
by Angela Ackerman (Sep 24, 2013)
Goodreads Rating
Crafting likable, interesting characters is a balancing act, and finding that perfect mix of strengths and weaknesses can be difficult. But the task has become easier thanks to The Negative Trait Thesaurus. Through its flaw-centric exploration of character arc, motivation, emotional wounds, and basic needs, writers will learn which flaws make the m...
The Paris Review Interviews, I
by The Paris Review The Paris Review (Oct 17, 2006)
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How do great writers do it? From James M. Cain's hard-nosed observation that "writing a novel is like working on foreign policy. There are problems to be solved. It's not all inspirational," to Joan Didion's account of how she composes a book--"I constantly retype my own sentences. Every day I go back to page one and just retype what I have. It get...
Recommended by
Patrick Collison
Write. Publish. Repeat.
The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success
by Sean Platt (Jul 26, 2015)
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Write. Publish. Repeat. ...
We Learn Nothing
Essays
by Tim Kreider (Apr 09, 2013)
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“Kreider locates the right simile and the pith of situations as he carefully catalogues humanity’s inventive and manifold ways of failing” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).In We Learn Nothing, satirical cartoonist Tim Kreider turns his funny, brutally honest eye to the dark truths of the human condition, asking big questions about human-sized pr...
Recommended by
Tim Ferriss
Still Writing
The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life
by Dani Shapiro (Aug 12, 2014)
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“Still Writing offers up a cornucopia of wisdom, insights, and practical lessons gleaned from Dani Shapiro's long experience as a celebrated writer and teacher of writing. The beneficiaries are beginning writers, veteran writers and everyone in between.”—Jennifer EganFrom Dani Shapiro, bestselling author of Devotion and Slow Motion, comes a witty, ...
Recommended by
Maria Popova
This ultimate insider's guide reveals the secrets that none dare admit, told by a show biz veteran who's proven that you can sell your script if you can save the cat!...
Perennial Seller
The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts
by Ryan Holiday (Jul 18, 2017)
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Bestselling author and marketing strategist Ryan Holiday reveals to creatives of all stripes--authors, entrepreneurs, musicians, filmmakers, fine artists--how a classic work is made and marketed. In Hollywood, a movie is given a single weekend to succeed before being written off. In Silicon Valley, a startup is a failure if it doesn't go viral or r...
Recommended by
Derek Sivers
The Positive Trait Thesaurus
A Writer's Guide to Character Attributes (Writers Helping Writers Series)
by Angela Ackerman (Oct 03, 2013)
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Character creation can be hard, but it’s about to get a lot easier. Inside The Positive Trait Thesaurus, you’ll find:* A large selection of attributes to choose from when building a personality profile. Each entry lists possible causes for why a trait might emerge, along with associated attitudes, behaviors, thoughts, and emotions * Real character ...
Structuring Your Novel
Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story
by K. M. Weiland (Aug 17, 2013)
Goodreads Rating
Is Structure the Hidden Foundation of All Successful Stories?Why do some stories work and others don’t? The answer is structure. In this new guide from the author of the bestselling Outlining Your Novel, you will discover the universal underpinnings that guarantee powerful plot and character arcs. An understanding of proper story and scene structur...
The Art Of Dramatic Writing
Its Basis in the Creative Interpretation of Human Motives
by Lajos Egri (Feb 15, 1972)
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Among the many "how-to" playwriting books that have appeared over the years, there have been few that attempt to analyze the mysteries of play construction. Lajos Egri's classic, The Art of Dramatic Writing, does just that, with instruction that can be applied equally well to a short story, novel, or screenplay. Examining a play from the inside out...
Recommended by
Seth Rogen
Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t
And Other Tough-Love Truths to Make You a Better Writer
by Steven Pressfield (Apr 25, 2016)
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There's a mantra that real writers know but wannabe writers don’t. And the secret phrase is this:NOBODY WANTS TO READ YOUR SH*T. Recognizing this painful truth is the first step in the writer's transformation from amateur to professional. From Chapter Four: “When you understand that nobody wants to read your shit, you develop empathy. You acquire t...
Recommended by
Derek Sivers
The Gift of Good Land
Further Essays Cultural and Agricultural
by Wendell Berry (May 01, 2009)
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The essays in The Gift of Good Land are as true today as when they were first published in 1981; the problems addressed here are still with us and the solutions no nearer to hand. One of the insistent themes of this book is the interdependence, the wholeness, the oneness of people, the land, weather, animals, and family. To touch one is to tamper w...
Recommended by
Michael Pollan
If You Want to Write
A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit
by Brenda Ueland (Mar 01, 1997)
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In her 93 remarkable years, Brenda Ueland published six million words. She said she had two rules she followed absolutely: to tell the truth, and not to do anything she didn't want to do. Her integrity shines throughout If You Want to Write, her best-selling classic on the process of writing that has already inspired thousands to find their own cre...
Recommended by
Guy Kawasaki
The Price of the Ticket
Collected Nonfiction, 1948-1985
by James Baldwin (Sep 15, 1985)
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The works of James Baldwin constitute one of the major contributions to American literature in the twentieth century, and nowhere is this more evident than in The Price of the Ticket, a compendium of nearly fifty years of Baldwin's powerful nonfiction writing. With truth and insight, these personal, prophetic works speak to the heart of the experie...
Recommended by
Sarah Lewis
I Wrote This Book Because I Love You
Essays
by Tim Kreider (Feb 12, 2019)
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*A People Top 10 Book of 2018*The New York Times essayist and author of We Learn Nothing, Tim Kreider trains his singular power of observation on his (often befuddling) relationships with women.Psychologists have told him he’s a psychologist. Philosophers have told him he’s a philosopher. Religious groups have invited him to speak. He had a cult fo...
Recommended by
Tim Ferriss
Our Culture, What's Left of It
The Mandarins and the Masses
by Theodore Dalrymple (Mar 01, 2007)
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This new collection of essays bears the unmistakable stamp of Theodore Dalrymple's bracingly clearsighted view of the human condition. In these twenty-six pieces, Dr. Dalrymple ranges over literature and ideas, from Shakespeare to Marx, from the break-down of Islam to the legalization of drugs. The book includes "When Islam Breaks Down," named by D...
Recommended by
Jordan Peterson
Gratitude
by Oliver Sacks (Nov 24, 2015)
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“My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved. I have been given much and I have given something in return. Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.” —Oliver SacksNo writer has succeeded in capturing the medical a...
The Scientist's Guide to Writing
How to Write More Easily and Effectively throughout Your Scientific Career
by Stephen B. Heard (Apr 12, 2016)
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A concise and accessible primer on the scientific writer's craftThe ability to write clearly is critical to any scientific career. The Scientist's Guide to Writing provides practical advice to help scientists become more effective writers so that their ideas have the greatest possible impact.Drawing on his own experience as a scientist, graduate ad...
Recommended by
Jacquelyn Gill
Katherine Rundell Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and prize-winning author of five novels for children explores how children's books ignite, and can re-ignite, the imagination; how children's fiction, with its unabashed emotion and playfulness, can awaken old hungers and create new perspectives on the world. This delightful and persuasive es...
Recommended by
Neil Gaiman
Stein On Writing
A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers of Our Century Shares His Craft Techniques and Strategies
by Sol Stein (Jan 24, 2000)
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Stein on Writing provides immediately useful advice for all writers of fiction and nonfiction, whether they are newcomers or old hands, students or instructors, amateurs or professionals. As the always clear and direct Stein explains here, This is not a book of theory. It is a book of usable solutions--how to fix writing that is flawed, how to impr...
Creating Character Arcs
The Masterful Author's Guide to Uniting Story Structure (Helping Writers Become Authors)
by K.M. Weiland (Oct 28, 2016)
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About the Book ...
Draft No. 4
by John Mcphee (Sep 04, 2018)
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The long-awaited guide to writing long-form nonfiction by the legendary author and teacherDraft No. 4 is a master class on the writer's craft. In a series of playful, expertly wrought essays, John McPhee shares insights he has gathered over his career and has refined while teaching at Princeton University, where he has nurtured some of the most est...
Recommended by
Jim Collins
A Room of One's Own
by Virginia Woolf (Jul 11, 2018)
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A Room of One's Own is an extended essay by Virginia Woolf. First published on the 24th of October, 1929, the essay was based on a series of lectures she delivered at Newnham College and Girton College, two women's colleges at Cambridge University in October 1928. While this extended essay in fact employs a fictional narrator and narrative to explo...
Louder than Words
Harness the Power of Your Authentic Voice
by Todd Henry (Aug 11, 2015)
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The next step in personal effectiveness, by the acclaimed author of The Accidental Creative and Die Empty.There has never been a better time to build an audience around your idea or product. But with so many people and companies clamoring for attention, it’s also more challenging than ever to do work that deeply resonates with the marketplace and c...
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Jeffrey Shaw
Oxford Book of Aphorisms
by John Gross (Apr 23, 2003)
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An aphorism is "a short pithy statement or maxim," but beneath this definition lies a wealth of wit and insight to which neither the word nor a brief description can do justice.This anthology demonstrates just how rewarding an art form the aphorism can be, and just how brilliantly the aphorist can illuminate the hidden truth, or lay bare the ironie...
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B.J. Novak
Essays
by Plutarch (Apr 06, 1993)
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One of the greatest essayists of the Graeco-Roman world, Plutarch (c. AD 46 -120) used an encyclopedic knowledge of the Roman Empire to produce a compelling and individual voice. In this superb selection from his writings, he offers personal insights into moral subjects that include the virtue of listening, the danger of flattery and the avoidance ...
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Ryan Holiday
War Nerd
by Gary Brecher (Jul 01, 2008)
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Self-described war nerd Gary Brecher knows hes not alone, that theres a legion of fat, lonely Americans, stuck in stupid, paper-pushing desk jobs, who get off on reading about war because they hate their lives. But Brecher writes about war, too. War Nerd collects his most opinionated, enraging, enlightening, and entertaining pieces. Part war commen...
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Naval Ravikant
The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren
by Iona Opie (Apr 09, 2001)
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First published in 1959, Iona and Peter Opie's The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren is a pathbreaking work of scholarship that is also a splendid and enduring work of literature. Going outside the nursery, with its assortment of parent-approved entertainments, to observe and investigate the day-to-day creative intelligence and activities of chil...
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Martha Kearney
The Robert Collier Letter Book
by Robert Collier (Jun 05, 2012)
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Robert Collier's sales letters were successful because he wrote to his readers' needs. Although Collier wanted folks to order products, his letters were friendly and personal, and he always began by looking at things from the reader's perspective. His sales shrewdness and writing expertise placed hundreds of millions of dollars in his clients' pock...
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Ramit Sethi
Pity the Reader
On Writing With Style
by Kurt Vonnegut (Nov 05, 2019)
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The art and craft of writing by one of the few grandmasters of American literature, a bonanza for writers and listeners written by Kurt Vonnegut's former student.Here is an entirely new side of Kurt Vonnegut, Vonnegut as a teacher of writing. Of course, he has given us glimpses in his aphorisms, short essays, articles, and speeches. But, never befo...
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James Altucher
High Heel
by Summer Brennan (Mar 21, 2019)
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Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.Fetishized, demonized, celebrated and outlawed, the high heel is central to the iconography of modern womanhood. But are high heels good? Are they feminist? What does it mean for a woman (or, for that matter, a man) to choose to wear them? Medi...
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Diedrich Bader
2k to 10k
Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love
by Rachel Aaron (Aug 21, 2017)
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"Have you ever wanted to double your daily word counts? Do you sometimes feel like you're crawling through your story? Do you want to write more every day without increasing the time you spend writing or sacrificing quality? It's not impossible, it's not even that hard. This is the book explaining how, with a few simple changes, I boosted my daily ...
Women, Fire and Dangerous Things
What Categories Reveal About the Mind
by George Lakoff (Dec 31, 1989)
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"Its publication should be a major event for cognitive linguistics and should pose a major challenge for cognitive science. In addition, it should have repercussions in a variety of disciplines, ranging from anthropology and psychology to epistemology and the philosophy of science. . . . Lakoff asks: What do categories of language and thought revea...
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Matt Mullenweg
Hope in the Dark
Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities
by Rebecca Solnit (Mar 15, 2016)
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With Hope in the Dark, Rebecca Solnit makes a radical case for hope as a commitment to act in a world whose future remains uncertain and unknowable. Drawing on her decades of activism and a wide reading of environmental, cultural, and political history, Solnit argues that radicals have a long, neglected history of transformative victories, that the...
Lost Time
Lectures on Proust in a Soviet Prison Camp (New York Review Books Classics)
by Jozef Czapski (Nov 06, 2018)
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During the Second World War, as a prisoner of war in a Soviet camp, and with nothing but memory to go on, the Polish artist and soldier Józef Czapski brought Marcel Prousts In Search of Lost Time to life for an audience of prison inmates. In a series of lectures, Czapski described the arc and import of Prousts masterpiece, sketched major and minor ...
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Susan J. Fowler
Modern Love, Revised and Updated
True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption
by Daniel Jones (Sep 03, 2019)
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The most popular, provocative, and unforgettable essays from the past fifteen years of the New York Times "Modern Love" column--including stories from the upcoming anthology series starring Tina Fey, Andy Garcia, Anne Hathaway, Catherine Keener, Dev Patel, and John SlatteryA young woman goes through the five stages of ghosting grief. A man's promis...
The Writers Journey
Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition
by Christopher Vogler (Oct 31, 2007)
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The updated and revised third edition provides new insights and observations from Vogler's ongoing work on mythology's influence on stories, movies, and man himself. The previous two editions of this book have sold over 180,000 units, making this book a 'classic' for screenwriters, writers, and novelists....
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Darren Aronofsky
Cultural Amnesia
Necessary Memories from History and the Arts
by Clive James (Sep 17, 2008)
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"I can't remember when I've learned as much from something I've read―or laughed as much while doing it." ―Jacob Weisberg, Slate This international bestseller is an encyclopedic A-Z masterpiece―the perfect introduction to the very core of Western humanism. Clive James rescues, or occasionally destroys, the careers of many of the greatest thinkers, h...
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Frank Blake
Essays After Eighty
by Donald Hall (Nov 03, 2015)
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"Alternately lyrical and laugh-out-loud funny."—New York Times “Deliciously readable . . . Donald Hall, if abandoned by the muse of poetry, has wrought his prose to a keen autumnal edge.” — Wall Street Journal   His entire life, Donald Hall dedicated himself to the written word, putting together a storied career as a poet, essayist, and memoirist. ...
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Safi Bahcall
Teaching a Stone to Talk
Expeditions and Encounters
by Annie Dillard (Oct 15, 2013)
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Here, in this compelling assembly of writings, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Dillard explores the world of natural facts and human meanings....
Nonstop Metropolis
A New York City Atlas
by Rebecca Solnit (Oct 19, 2016)
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Winner of the 2017 Brendan Gill Prize from the Municipal Arts Society of New York "The maps themselves are things of beauty . . . a document of its time, of our time." —Sadie Stein, New York Times   "One is invited to fathom the many New Yorks hidden from history’s eye." —Maria Popova, Brain Pickings &#160...
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Laura R Walker
Adventures in the Screen Trade
A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting
by William Goldman (Mar 10, 1989)
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No one knows the writer's Hollywood more intimately than William Goldman. Two-time Academy Award-winning screenwriter and the bestselling author of Marathon Man, Tinsel, Boys and Girls Together, and other novels, Goldman now takes you into Hollywood's inner sanctums...on and behind the scenes for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the Presiden...
Zen in the Art of Writing
Essays on Creativity
by Ray Bradbury (Jul 31, 1994)
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"Bradbury, all charged up, drunk on life, joyous with writing, puts together nine past essays on writing and creativity and discharges every ounce of zest and gusto in him."--Kirkus Reviews "Zen and the Art of Writing is purely and simply Bradbury's love song to his craft."--Los Angeles Times...
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Online sensation Grammar Girl makes grammar fun and easy in this New York Times bestsellerAre you stumped by split infinitives? Terrified of using who when a whom is called for? Do you avoid the words affect and effect altogether?Grammar Girl is here to help!Mignon Fogarty, a.k.a. Grammar Girl, is determined to wipe out bad grammar--but she's also ...
A Poetry Handbook
by Mary Oliver (Aug 14, 1994)
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With passion, wit, and good common sense, the celebrated poet Mary Oliver tells of the basic ways a poem is built—meter and rhyme, form and diction, sound and sense. She talks of iambs and trochees, couplets and sonnets, and how and why this should matter to anyone writing or reading poetry. Drawing on poems from Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, and...
Self-Reliance and Other Essays
by Ralph Waldo Emerson (Oct 13, 1993)
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Essayist, poet, and philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) propounded a transcendental idealism emphasizing self-reliance, self-culture, and individual expression. The six essays and one address included in this volume, selected from Essays, First Series (1841) and Essays, Second Series (1844), offer a representative sampling of his views out...
The Story Grid
What Good Editors Know
by Shawn Coyne (Apr 27, 2015)
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WHAT IS THE STORY GRID? The Story Grid is a tool developed by editor Shawn Coyne to analyze stories and provide helpful editorial comments. It's like a CT Scan that takes a photo of the global story and tells the editor or writer what is working, what is not, and what must be done to make what works better and fix what's not. The Story Grid breaks ...
The Emotional Craft of Fiction
How to Write the Story Beneath the Surface
by Donald Maass (Dec 30, 2016)
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Engage Your Readers with EmotionWhile writers might disagree over showing versus telling or plotting versus pantsing, none would argue this: If you want to write strong fiction, you must make your readers feel. The reader's experience must be an emotional journey of its own, one as involving as your characters' struggles, discoveries, and triumphs ...
Clear and Simple as the Truth
Writing Classic Prose - Second Edition
by Francis-Noël Thomas (Mar 19, 2011)
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For more than a decade, Clear and Simple as the Truth has guided readers to consider style not as an elegant accessory of effective prose but as its very heart. Francis-No�l Thomas and Mark Turner present writing as an intellectual activity, not a passive application of verbal skills. In classic style, the motive is truth, the purpose is presentati...
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Steven Pinker