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Writer Who Stayed [Paperback]

William Zinsser

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Writer Who Stayed + Writing Places: The Life Journey of a Writer and Teacher + Writing About Your Life: A Journey into the Past
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Product details

  • Paperback: 175 pages
  • Publisher: Paul Dry Books (US); Reprint edition (16 Oct 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589880803
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589880801
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 12.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,118,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  28 reviews
52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Staying Power Takes Excellence 30 Nov 2012
By SeattleSlem - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Bill Zinsser has written about every topic on earth, focusing on the things he knows and loves best - how to write, travel, baseball and music. Then, surprisingly, in his 80's, he began to write a blog about everything on earth. Like everything else he has ever written, the blog provided interesting, concise, funny, challenging and beautifully written commentary about myriad components of our culture. Provided in the column entitled "Zinsser on Friday" of the American Scholar online magazine (the missal of Phi Beta Kappa), these blog posts won Zinsser the National Magazine Award in the category of Digital Commentary for 2012, beating Rolling Stone, among others. This is a little jewel of a book and, as is the case with posts of this kind, can be savored over time, many times. Buy the book in hardback or Kindle format (mine is a Kindle copy) and bring it out whenever you want to remind yourself that there is lovely and amazing writing, that short can be all you need to perfectly capture an idea, and that we can reinvent ourselves at any age.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 12 Mar 2013
By Joseph Rackman - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a treatise on how to write a column. This is for anyone who enjoys extraordinary writing. The simple idea made eloquent.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, literate essays without much gravitas 6 Sep 2013
By R. M. Peterson - Published on
For nineteen months William Zinsser wrote a weekly column for the internet edition of "The American Scholar". He began the gig when he was eighty-seven. His work won him the National Magazine Award for digital commentary during the year 2011. By the time he received that award in March 2012 he was nearly blind. The redoubtable independent publisher Paul Dry has assembled fifty-eight of Zinsser's columns in this lively book, THE WRITER WHO STAYED, which also is the title of one of the pieces.

That essay was about Daniel Fuchs, an acclaimed Eastern novelist who in 1937 went to Hollywood to be a screenwriter and - unlike predecessors such as Dorothy Parker, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and William Faulkner - stayed there for thirty-four years. Other essays are about Pauline Kael, Chick Young and "Blondie", Mitch Miller, the rudeness of multi-tasking with an electronic gadget while supposedly engaging in an in-person conversation, Hall of Fame centerfielder Edd Roush, the Great American Songbook, and the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company. Needless to say, the topics are wide-ranging. Almost two dozen, however, are on language and the craft of writing. That, I suppose, is to be expected from the author of "On Writing Well", but I must say that as a whole I enjoyed them less than I did the more esoteric ones.

There are moments of curmudgeonry, but in general Zinsser tries to be, and is, a positive, upbeat person. "I always write to affirm. I choose to write about people whose values I respect; my pleasure is to bear witness to their lives." Thus, it is not surprising that he is bothered by the recent phenomenon of victim memoirs:

"Whining crept into the American memoir in the mid-1990s. Until then the world of letters adhered to an agreed-upon code of civility, drawing a veil over emotions and events too private or shameful to reveal. Then talk shows were born and shame went out * * * the window. Memoirists sprouted from the American soil like dandelions. Using memoir as therapy, they bashed their parents and brothers and sisters and relatives and teachers and coaches and everyone else who ever misunderstood them--a new class of self-appointed victims."

The only complaint I have about the book is that it was hard to strike the appropriate balance between reading too few and too many essays at a time. When read only one or two at a time, they tend to seem rather fluffy or inconsequential. But when I resolved to read the last half of the book at one sitting, I found that Zinsser came across as a tad stuffy and self-satisfied. My final take on the THE WRITER WHO STAYED, I suppose, is that it is an intelligent, literate book without much gravitas.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Enjoyable Read 9 April 2013
By doctorbob - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a collection of columns about the art of writing, and I wish I had read them years ago. Some are funny, some piercing, and all thought-provoking. I recommend it highly.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant and compelling effort from a wonderfully talented writer 6 Dec 2013
By Mark Mohr - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Terrific, absorbing narratives from a writer at the very top of his game. This is a heartfelt, bittersweet and compelling effort from a wonderfully talented wordsmith.
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