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Month in review

Reviews:
The Alarming Letters from Scottsdale by Warner Law
Brother by James Fredericks
Bubbles Betrothed by Sarah Strohmeyer
Bunny Modern by David Bowman
Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grille by Steven Brust
A Day With My Dad by Lance Waite
Dirt: An American Campaign by Mark LaFlamme
Divine Freefall by Beth Wiseman
50/50 by Dean Karnazes
Game Widow by Wendy Kays
Gateway by Frederik Pohl
How the Day Runs Down by John Langan
If You Give a Cat a Cupcake by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond
Jim the Boy by Tony Earley
Lorna Doone by R. D. Blackmore
Margarettown by Garbrielle Zevin
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Memphis: Objects, Furniture & Patterns by Richard Horn
The Minutemen's Witch by Charles Coleman Finlay
The New Writer's Handbook by Ted Kooser
One Crossed Out by Fanny Howe
The Once and Future Celt by Bill Watkins
Peter Hatches and Egg by Louise Bienvenu-Brialmont
Raindrop Plop! by
Ripley Under Water by Patricia Highsmith
A Skeptical Spirit by Albert E. Cowdrey
Smash Trash by Laura Driscoll
Sunsets and Shooting Stars by Rick Seidel
The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White
Uh-oh, Calico! by Karma Wilson
We Come Not to Praise Washington by Charles Coleman Finlay
Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
What Makes a Rainbow? by Betty Ann Schwartz
Zodiac by Neal Stephenson

Don Quixote:
Book 3
Book 4: Chapters 28-37
Book 4: End of Part 1

Miscellaneous:
Top Ten Lists

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Comments for The New Writer's Handbook 2008

The New Writer's Handbook 2008The New Writer's Handbook 2008: 12/10/08

I'm an aspiring writer. I've been writing fiction for my own entertainment for most of my life. I would like to some day see my work published. Every so often I read through the current advice books to would-be writers. So when I was offered a chance to review The New Writer's Handbook I jumped at it.

According to the back of the book: "This essential collection of readings, the second in a new series, refreshes and upgrades any writer's skills with hands-on advice on literary craft and career development. It features over 60 useful articles ... ideal for fiction and nonfiction writers of all levels seeking professional advancement." Sounds good, doesn't it? The "advice" is actually sixty or so two or three page thoughts on writing from various people in the industry (authors, editors, and so forth). The essays focus more on pep talks than on practical advice or "hands-on" exercises.

I realize that the publishing industry is in flux. I wasn't expecting a step by step recipe but I was hoping for something more concrete. There are a few useful tips near the end of the book about building a blog with a personal brand, how to create a good business card and other marketing things. This advice comes too late.

Probably the best sources of advice come in the profiles at the end of each essay. These profiles contain the links to blogs. The piece, "Starting" by Lois Lowry (p 218-21) is cobbled together from three blog posts. I am a subscriber to her blog and what is presented here in the book is almost unrecognizable. She tends to write long posts full of advice, enthusiasm and heart. The heart is there in "Starting" but it's presented incoherently.

If you need a pep talk to get your writing started, see if your local library has a copy. If you want a book to add to your personal library, get a copy of On Writing by Stephen King instead.

Read more reviews at: Pod People, How Publishing Really Works and Midlist Writer, Greetings from Nowhere and There Now.

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Comment #1: Thursday, December, 11, 2008 at 15:56:49

Phyl

A book that I found really good too, a few years ago, was "How to Get Happily Published," by Judith Appelbaum. I see she's got a webiste now too, which I didn't realize, and will now frequent. That book, though, was the best of any I'd read.

For non-fiction, the absolute best book I've ever read (and am now following in detail as I try to get my own non-fiction book published) is "The Art of the Book Proposal," by Eric Maisel. He teaches how to write the book and how to prepare a proposal, pretty much simulaneously. So on the non-fiction side, I recommend that one to everybody who'll listen."



Comment #2: Thursday December 11, 2008 at 15:33:34

Pussreboots

Thank you for the recommendations. I will add them to my wishlist.



Comment #3: Thursday, December, 11, 2008 at 16:24:04

Deden Luo

nice blog i enjoy reading your blog. i will back for more.

Thanks



Comment #4: Thursday December 11, 2008 at 15:34:40

Pussreboots

Thank you.