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53 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wise companion for any writer
This book is a plea to slow down.

Francine Prose (I'll call her 'Francine' with apologies - there's an obvious problem with calling her 'Prose') is a novelist and she teaches creative writing. Her aim here is not to bottle her classwork but to offer a complementary course in close reading. A writing workshop, she feels, "can be useful. A good teacher can...
Published on 13 Jun 2012 by Alan Barker

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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars NOT WITHOUT FLAWS, BUT PLENTY OF FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Won't teach you how to write, but it may serve to heighten your awareness of techniques that can be employed to bring credibility to a piece of work. I particularly liked points in the books where she highlights differences between clichéd language and more original language, and emphasises the importance of word economy: how to say only what needs to be said...
Published on 10 Aug 2008 by Easily Me


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good tips for prose writing, 27 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them (Paperback)
Maybe I should have given it a 5 as the information and help are great and the chapters deal with clearly structured topics, just found it not quite so fluent to take in sometimes but that's probably just me. it was recommended by the leader of a creative writing group that I joined and I can see why. It's aimed at prose, fiction writing and uses lots of examples to show you. if you are starting out with any pretensions of being a writer or just to enjoy writing for yourself it's a good starting place. I want to do some travel writing and it helps with that as well in terms of technique, characters, structure and other useful topics.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, 15 Feb 2013
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Definitely not your average how to write book, but the snippets from the work of great writers along with Francine Prose's analysis are very inspiring - like being back at school and having a great English teacher. I have rushed to download several books for my Kindle that I would otherwise never have considered nowadays - Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea, for example - and really enjoyed them. Brings back a love for language and admiration for the skill of the best writers. It does focus exclusively on language and literary fiction, as opposed to books that have other positive attributes but aren't as well written - such as being gripping, for example. So in terms of writing one's own work - this book is asking you to aim high - possibly unrealistically high. But perhaps there is nothing wrong with that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reading Like a Writer, 28 Aug 2012
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For those for whom writing is a necessity this is an excellent book, and one that will make a very useful and interesting addition to even the most overcrowded bookshelves. As its title suggests the book demonstrates just how important reading is to the art of writing. To illustrate the importance of reading Francine Prose's draws on exemplars from a long list of notable authors. Her commentary is insightful and informative without being didactic. It is also a jolly good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Its never toolate to learn to read, 16 July 2012
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This book is a revelation , I have read all my life , since I was about 2 years old, I write but never have I been so stimulated to "read". Even old favourites have been shown to have more depths and more pointers to help the reader/writer towards clear complelling ideas. Thoroughly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read, 12 July 2012
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Mord Sith77 (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This book is great for those who appreciate literature and inspires you to actually want to write and also to go out and buy all the books on the recommended reading list. (I have most of them)
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An informative book for readers and writers, written in an engaging and accessible style., 14 Jun 2012
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L. H. Healy "Books are life, beauty and truth." (Cambridgeshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them (Paperback)
'What writers know is that, ultimately, we learn to write by practice, hard work, by repeated trial and error, success and failure, and from the books we admire.'

In this guide, author and teacher Francine Prose offers us her experience and advice about how to read like a writer. She argues convincingly that one of the best ways to learn to write is by reading what she calls the 'masters', reading them slowly, and looking carefully at the words used, through close reading. She aims 'to help the passionate reader and would-be writer understand how a writer reads.'

After introducing her ideas and approach, she devotes chapters to words, sentences, paragraphs, narration, character, dialogue, details and gesture, as well as one entitled learning from Chekhov, and finally, reading for courage. She also suggests and includes in the book a list of 'Books to be read immediately', a bibliography of the many great writers she has referred to, and/or quoted from throughout the book.

This book is not one telling you what to do, or what not to do, something the author acknowledges is often a common feature of writing manuals or guides: 'One essential and telling difference between learning from a style manual and learning from literature is that any how-to book will, almost by definition, tell you how not to write.' It is instead encouraging the love of, and joy in reading, and illustrating how close reading of wonderful writers past can enlighten a budding writer and be a rewarding learning experience that can positively influence their own writing.

As a reader who would love to write, I think this informative book, written in an engaging and very accessible style, is very useful indeed. So often we find ourselves reading very quickly, for plot, and that is fine in certain circumstances, that may be what we need from a book at a given time. But when wanting to consider how we might start writing ourselves, I really like the approach taken here, the idea of reading closely, slowly.

'In the ongoing process of becoming a writer, I read and re-read the authors I most loved. I read for pleasure, first, but also more analytically, conscious of style, of diction, of how sentences were formed and information was being conveyed, how the writer was structuring a plot creating characters, employing detail and dialogue.'

I enjoyed looking anew with the author's guidance at wonderful sentences and passages taken from works by great writers, being encouraged by her to think about what they have written, the effect of the words, what is said and unsaid, and so on. There are writers featured whose works I remember having read and loved in the past, like Richard Yates, Kafka, Dostoyevsky, but she reminded me also of writers I had almost forgotten reading and admiring, back in University, like Kleist. I was also introduced to writers whose works I have never read, through the inclusion of elements of their work here.

I think there will always be the question of finding your own voice and your own style, but it certainly seems like a worthwhile exercise to look more closely at the works of writers you admire. I intend to return to it again and again.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reading like a writer, 8 Dec 2010
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This is a must for anyone wanting to write. learning to write, writing or even just reading. The title explains its purpose and it is certainly fit for purpose a thousand times over.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and fun to read, 9 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them (Paperback)
Books of this kind tend to be very well-written and this is one of the best examples. What is exceptional about this book, compared similar ones, is the abundance of useful examples in it. Almost every point made is clarified and illustrated with examples from well known authors. It is also easy and fun to read. I would most definitely recommend this for anyone who is thinking of writing fiction or anybody who would like to learn to read closely and appreciate writing as a form of art.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 20 Jan 2014
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I so wish I'd had this ook when I was on my English degree course a few years ago. Brilliantly chosen examples that are very inspiring. This is my 'dip in at random & be inspired' book (after Margaret Attwood's Negotiating with the Dead.
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5.0 out of 5 stars So useful, 12 Oct 2013
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Mrs Aileen Urquhart (Yoirkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This was a beautifully written book full of good advice. I've never read anything quite like it before. The examples from literature were particularly illuminating.
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