Sunday, May 30, 2010

Another Top Writing Books List

I love lists. I recommend making lists to my students to use as topic lists. And I'm always curious what's on top book lists. My top writing books list changes with the seasons, though some of them remain. As if you need one more list, here is a list with three perpetual writing book loves, right now, this minute:

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. I read it when I was in college and writing poetry, but even if you have no intention of writing poetry or becoming a poet, so much here applies to writer of all genres. One passage: You ask whether your verses are any good. You ask me. You have asked others before this ... I beg you to stop doing that sort of thing. You are looking outside, and that is what you should most avoid right now....." In other words, get your butt back in the chair and write.

The Evasion English Dictionary by Maggie Balistreri. As the back cover says, "'s a merciless translation of the banalities of contemporary speech..." I love it and always get a giggle from any page I open it up to.

Making a Literary Life by Carolyn See. I love Carolyn See. Who doesn't love Carolyn See? And I love her writing book. It's informative, funny and charming, just like her. (And here's a link to two podcasts of when she was on my radio show....)


sean a. scapellato said...

Carolyn See is my hero. She is funny and gracious. Her advice to write charming notes is profound (even if I don't know enough people to write one a day). I do try to send one every week or so. Maybe I should conclude by thanking you for an amazing show. Your contributions to the writing community at large is HUGE. I listen to the podcasts constantly.

Shirley H. Showalter said...

I love your books and I love lists also. I recently posted a huge list of memoirs constructed by Sue Silverman. If you want to understand the current field of memoir publishing, this list, divided into several categories, is a great one: