Books, Current Events, Reviews, Writing

3 Helpful Books on Writing

October 20th happens to be the National Day on Writing. You can check out more information as well as resources and ideas for activities here on the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) website. As always, I decided to share books related to this National Day on Writing, or rather 3 pretty helpful books on writing with you today.

I think the activity mentioned on the NCTE website is super fun and I am going to try it out (at least one part of it) for myself, as below:

  • Make a note of all the writing activities you do over the day. This includes everything from text messages to emails to blog posts or other writing assignments you might have completed.
  • Next, analyze the writing and see how it differs based on the purpose, the type of writing, the audience, and the technology/equipment used.
  • I am sure I am going to surprise myself!

Now, on to the books themselves.

Books on Writing

Kwame Alexander’s Free Write

TitleKwame Alexander’s Free Write: A Poetry Notebook
Author: Kwame Alexander
Length:  176 pages
Publishers: Sourcebooks Wonderland (November 3, 2020)
Genre: Children’s Composition & Creative Writing Books/Poetry
Age-Range: 8 – 12 (and up!)
Source: Publisher ARC from NetGalley/Personal copy

I “read” this book and worked on some of the exercises presented in it as well a few months ago. Somehow, my thoughts on it never saw the light of day, until now!

Kwame Alexander is a brilliant writer, there is no doubt about it! This book simply underscores or highlights that fact, and also proves that he is a great teacher!! Filled with writing prompts, examples, fun facts, and clear explanations of poetic forms and terms, this book is bound to get everyone’s inner poet poet-ing.

While the format does not make it ideal for libraries, with blank and journal pages and such, it makes for an ideal gift for budding poets everywhere. It is also perfect for those teaching poetry as they can easily use these prompts as ideas and as a starting point to get the creative juices flowing.

A must-have for the poet in your life (even if it is you)

Get it here: Amazon

Writing to Be Understood: What Works and Why

Title Writing to Be Understood: What Works and Why
Author: Anne Janzer
Length:  226 pages
Publishers: Cuesta Park Consulting (August 7, 2018)
Genre: Non-fiction Writing Skills
Source: Publisher ARC from NetGalley/Personal Copy

Description (excerpted): Have you ever wondered what makes your favorite nonfiction books so compelling, understandable, or enjoyable? They’re connecting with you, as a reader (or listener). This book will help you recognize and apply the methods of your favorite writers to your own work. 

Brilliant insights into how to write non-fiction for your reader! Janzer approaches writing with the reader in mind, which is what we should all do when we write just about anything but sometimes are not sure about the “hows” of it. If you are also wondering about it, or simply want to get better at writing non-fiction (or just writing itself), then this book is sure to help. Janzer uses insights from various fields, ranging from cognitive science and comedy to marketing and technology, as well as from experts across fields (like David Pink and Alan Alda), and then serves it up for us to enjoy and learn!

While theoretical in nature, it is definitely not a dry read. Instead, it is like one of those books you want to keep reading but have to remind yourself to pause and take notes and learn and read something over again. This is definitely a well-researched and well-written book that every writer will benefit from reading.

Get it here at Amazon

Still Writing

Title Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life
Author: Dani Shapiro
Length:  256 pages
Publishers: Atlantic Monthly Press (October 1, 2013)
Genre: Words & Language Reference/Writing
Source: Publisher ARC from NetGalley/Personal copy

Description(excerpted): From the best-selling author of Devotion and Slow Motion comes a witty, heartfelt, and practical look at the exhilarating and challenging process of storytelling. At once a memoir, meditation on the artistic process, and advice on craft, Still Writing is an intimate and eloquent companion to living a creative life.

While Writing to be Understood leans towards non-fiction writing, Shapiro writes for the storyteller and the creative writer in Still Writing. The book is divided into sections titled Beginnings, Middles, and Ends!! I was able to go back and forth between beginnings and endings, and enjoying every bit of reading about writing. I found myself highlighting and bookmarking so much that I realized it might end up becoming most of the book 🙂

Shapiro has written this book as a series of essays, and as the book description says, it is part memoir, part creative meditations, part insights into writing, and then of course, tips and advice on the creative writing process. She writes such that it makes the reader feel she is a confidant, a friend, one you want with over a cup of chai! And even as you feel all warm and fuzzy reading this book, you learn! You learn to learn to approach writing with fresh(er) eyes and with renewed insight. What is more, reading Shapiro’s essays makes you appreciate the power of the short personal essay when it is well-written.

Now I wonder why I have not read her books before!!

Get it here at Amazon

Related Reads and Books

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And Now, the End of This Post

Dear reader, have you read any of the featured books? If yes, then I would love to hear your thoughts on them. If not, any similar reads that you want to recommend? I would love to add those to my own TBR (oh well, it has reached the ends of the galaxy but …..)And last but not least, any and all thoughts on this post are always appreciated.

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