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on 29 August 2017
I have to admit I've only got as far as 40% into this book (on Kindle) and I can't take any more. I hoped it would be an engaging read which would point out how to think as a writer when reading someone else's good (or bad) prose. It doesn't. It takes apart sentences, paragraphs and sections in the most preachy, pedantic and unfriendly language imaginable. The examples are either 19th century Russian classicists or American authors with whom anyone outside of the USA may not be that familiar. The rules of language have changed over the last 150 years or so, so it shouldn't surprise Ms Prose to realise that modern publishers would not be so keen to promote a paragraph lasting more than a page. Ms Prose quotes extensively from more modern American writers she likes, many of whom I hadn't heard of, let alone read, so it was difficult to get a connection with the subject matter, let alone the point she was trying to make. Having read other reviews, all I can say is that I'm sorry I don't share the views of others. I found this book pedantic, boring and ultimately, unhelpful.
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on 15 February 2013
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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on 25 September 2013
This is a serious piece of work for anyone wanting to analyse writing, it raises questions such as the readability of a text, and how to form an opinion as to the success of different pieces of writing by studying the techniques used by the writer - which can be borne in mind when a writer produces his/her own work.
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on 21 April 2017
They say every budding writer should read, and read as much of what they can get their hands on, whether its a book they like or not. This book really gets to the heart of why a writer reads and how to get the most out of that reading in terms of honing their own writing skills
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on 27 November 2015
A great book. Goes into a lot of depth and penetrates what makes literature tick from a writer's perspective. It's a joy to read in its own right - Prose's own writing is thoughtful and elegant.
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on 4 October 2013
This is a fascinating book, I found the author managed to transport me right back to my childhood in the first chapter. It is written in plain language so is very easy to understand, it also covers different topics that will get you thinking very hard about alternatives to what you were thinking. A very good read.
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on 1 February 2015
One of the most helpful and inspiring books for writers that I've come across. I especially liked the quotes at the end from very famous writers saying just how HARD it is to write.
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on 8 March 2013
Can't speak highly enough about this book. It has re-energised both my writing and reading - and has added numerous titles to my reading list - including rediscovery of some classic books I had read and forgotten and now plan to re-visit. Brilliant
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on 20 January 2014
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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on 6 June 2017
Excellent
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