A motley assortment of writers eloquently demonstrate that there is no single “writing process”; there are myriad.



Editors at Believer magazine present an eclectic series of interviews.

Some of the writers are household names—at least in the households of serious readers: Don DeLillo, Paula Fox, Maureen Howard, Will Self and Joan Didion among them. Others in the collection are known more to the literati or to small legions of zealous fans. But all have provocative things to say about writing, reading and readers, and most of the conversations are amiable, although Julie Hecht comes off as curmudgeonly and caustic at times. Several of the writers talk about their writing spaces and processes, and several say they write either longhand (Mary Gaitskill) or on a typewriter (Barry Hannah, Joy Williams). Virtually all of them reveal their biases and/or idiosyncrasies. Gary Lutz talks passionately about commas (he likes their precision); Chimomanda Ngoza Adichie points out the power of storytelling; Michael Ondaatje says he never thinks about an audience. Although most of the writers have nothing ill to say of their colleagues, Sarah Schulman zings Rick Moody and Jeffrey Eugenides (among others) but expresses gratitude to Grace Paley, Tillie Olsen and Edmund White for career help. In the whatever-happened-to category, Bruce Jay Friedman, now in his 80s, appears to wax wise and express gentle humility: “I’m really surprised by how little I know,” he says. A number of the authors complain about the demands of teaching and about the reluctance of writing students to read, and very few issue canned comments—though Mark Leyner’s “Fate is the primordial plot device” could qualify.

A motley assortment of writers eloquently demonstrate that there is no single “writing process”; there are myriad.

Pub Date: March 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-938073-25-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Believer Books/McSweeney's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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



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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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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