Best Books for Writers

From the newly published to the invaluable classic, our list of essential books for creative writers.

  • Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir

    by
    William Zinsser
    Published in 1998
    by Mariner Books

    Anyone undertaking the project of writing a memoir knows that the events, memories, and emotions of the past often resist the orderly structure of a book. Inventing the Truth offers wisdom from nine notable memoirists about their process (Ian Frazier searched through generations of family papers to understand his parents' lives), the hurdles they faced (Annie Dillard tackles the central dilemma of memoir: what to put in and what to leave out), and the unexpected joys of bringing their pasts to the page.

    ISBN: 
    0395901502
  • Aspects of the Novel

    by
    E. M. Forster
    Published in 1956
    by Mariner Books

    In Aspects of the Novel, E. M. Forster delves into the seven elements essential to a novel: story, people, plot, fantasy, prophecy, pattern, and rhythm.

    ISBN: 
    9780156091800
  • Rules for the Dance: A Handbook for Writing and Reading Metrical Verse

    by
    Mary Oliver
    Published in 1998
    by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

    "True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, / As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance," wrote Alexander Pope. "The dance," in the case of Oliver's brief and luminous book, refers to the interwoven pleasures of sound and sense to be found in some of the most celebrated and beautiful poems in the English language, from Shakespeare to Edna St. Vincent Millay to Robert Frost. With a poet's ear and a poet's grace of expression, Oliver shows what makes a metrical poem work, and enables readers, as only she can, to "enter the thudding deeps and the rippling shallows of sound-pleasure and rhythm-pleasure that intensify both the poem's narrative and its ideas."

    ISBN: 
    9780395850862
  • Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir

    by
    Beth Kephart
    Published in 2013
    by Gotham

    Author Beth Kephart explores the many personal and professional challenges of writing memoir. From remaining faithful to the searing language of truth, to navigating the thin line between remembering and imagining, the author offers practical advice for memoirists who seek wisdom regarding the craft as well as their legal rights.

    ISBN: 
    9781592408153
  • Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction

    by
    Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd
    Published in 2013
    by Random House

    This informative and instructive guide examines the three major incarnations of nonfiction: essays, memoirs, and narratives. By offering insightful analysis and expert advice, this entertaining and practical guide to writing nonfiction is ideal for both seasoned and beginner writers.

    ISBN: 
    1400069750
  • First We Read, Then We Write: Emerson on the Creative Process

    by
    Robert D. Richardson
    Published in 2009
    by University of Iowa Press

    In this insightful resource for writers, author Robert D. Richardson explores the acclaimed poet Ralph Waldo Emerson’s literary accomplishments, creative processes, and writing advice.

    ISBN: 
    9781587297939
  • It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences

    by
    June Casagrande
    Published in 2010
    by Ten Speed Press

    Journalist and editor June Casagrande breaks down the semantics of sentences, and explains how words and grammatical constructions relate to each other in logical and artful ways. A meticulous examination of sentence structure, content, and style reveals the building blocks of successful sentences, and how writers can apply this knowledge to their own work.

    ISBN: 
    158008740X
  • Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print

    by
    Renni Browne and Dave King
    Published in 1994
    by Harpercollins

    In this guide to self-editing, professional editors Renni Browne and Dave King share their combined expertise by offering practical techniques and advice for polishing prose and turning manuscripts into published works of fiction.

    ISBN: 
    9780062720467
  • Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose

    by
    Constance Hale
    Published in 2001
    by Broadway Books

    Author Constance Hale describes how to create clear, concise, and dynamic writing by focusing on the essential aspects of grammar such as adjectives, nouns, and implementing stylistic techniques that leverage sentence structure, voice, and rhythm.

    ISBN: 
    0767903080
  • Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You

    by
    Ray Bradbury
    Published in 1992
    by Bantam

    Renowned author Ray Bradbury shares the wisdom, experience, and excitement from his lifetime of writing and demonstrates that success as a writer depends on how well you know one subject: your own life.

    ISBN: 
    9780553296341
  • The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop

    by
    Diane Lockward
    Published in 2013
    by Wind Publications

    In this resource for poets, Lockward offers practical advice and insights about establishing sound, voice, and syntax in poetry while also providing writing prompts and other poems as inspiration.

    ISBN: 
    193613862X
  • The Artful Edit: On the Practice of Editing Yourself

    by
    Susan Bell
    Published in 2007
    by W.W. Norton

    In this resource, the author provides a guide filled with writing examples, strategic tips, exercises, and interviews that explore the complex and necessary art of self-editing.

    ISBN: 
    9780393332179
  • Family Trouble: Memoirists on the Hazards and Rewards of Revealing Family

    by
    Joy Castro
    Published in 2013
    by University of Nebraska Press

    Editor Joy Castro's collection of essays from memoirists explores the complex personal emotions and literary responsibilites writers must negotiate when revealing private information about their families to the reading public.

    ISBN: 
    0803246927
  • Mentor and Muse: Essays from Poets to Poets

    by
    Blas Falconer, Beth Martinelli, and Helena Mesa
    Published in 2010
    by Southern Illinois University Press

    In this anthology Falconer, Martinelli, and Mesa compile essays written by leading poets who explore effective ways of writing and revising poetry.

    ISBN: 
    9780809329892
  • Bound to Last: 30 Writers on Their Most Cherished Book

    by
    Sean Manning
    Published in 2010
    by Da Capo Press

    Numerous authors—from Chris Abani and Shahriar Mandanipour to Sigrid Nunez and Xu Xiaobin— discuss works of literature that inspired them as writers.

    ISBN: 
    9780306819216
  • The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master

    by
    Martha Alderson
    Published in 2011
    by Adams Media

    The author provides insight on how to create works of fiction with powerful stories and focuses on how to devise a Universal Plot, plot lines and subplots, compelling scenes, and character transformation.

    ISBN: 
    9781440525889
  • The Novelist’s Lexicon: Writers On the Words That Define Their Work

    by
    Vila Gillet
    Published in 2011
    by Columbia University Press

    Renowned contemporary authors—including Rick Moody, Etgar Keret, Colum McCann, and Annie Proulx— select and write about a specific word that is meaningful to them. Their essays reveal to the reader the author’s inner-thoughts and quirky musings.  

    ISBN: 
    9780231150804

Pages