A writer's guide that is bound to teach and inspire by example.

BIRD BY BIRD

SOME INSTRUCTIONS ON WRITING AND LIFE

Lamott (Operating Instructions, 1993, etc.) gently explodes the fantasy that writing will solve all of a fledgling author's problems—an ailing bank account, low self-esteem—and at the same time argues that writing "does turn out to be its own reward.''

Beginning with her first exposure to the writing life through her father, Lamott introduces some practical points: shaping credible dialogue; thinking of a first draft as a Polaroid photograph that slowly develops beneath one's fingers. Her cardinal truth is that there is no secret to writing well other than sitting down to do it every day; she also encourages by noting that even the best writers produce "shitty'' first drafts. Offering time-tested tips, such as carrying around index cards to jot down fortuitous phrases and observations and focusing on plot as an outgrowth of character, Lamott intersperses stories and prose from her own experience that delight with insight and descriptive acumen. The incident from which the title and folksy aesthetic have been taken is typical: When, years ago, her 10-year-old brother was panicking, unable to write a report on birds for which he'd been preparing for months, their father calmed him with the advice, "Just take it bird by bird.'' While she suggests finding a writing partner for feedback and describes her own traumatic escapades in taking a novel through several drafts, Lamott offers no advice about revision—the most important skill a working writer must master. Still, paragraph by paragraph, this humorous, insightful, no-nonsense approach will remind novices why they are writing: to tell the truth, to live from the heart, and to share their gift with others.

A writer's guide that is bound to teach and inspire by example.

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 1994

ISBN: 0-679-43520-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1994

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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