Book of the Month/February 2022

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One of the characteristics of writers—okay, okay, quirks, have it your way—is that they are frequently junkies when it comes to reading books on how to write. There are books devoted to dialogue, books devoted to plotting, books devoted to story arc, books devoted grammar and sentence structure, books devoted to the writer’s life, and so on, down the street and around the corner. And writers buy and read them all.

And so one day Roy Peter Clark had an idea. Why not a book on all the books on writing? Roy Peter Clark went meta, and out comes this book that is basically a book-by-book review of many of the classics on writing. And, I will confess, listening to this book resulted in me buying about five or six more books on writing. Many of the books he reviewed I had already read and enjoyed, but there were some I had never heard of. And what happens when you hear about a book on writing that you had never heard of? Right, you buy it.

When I go into a bookstore, I gravitate to three distinct sections—theology, politics and culture, and wordsmithing. I do this because—and I want you children to listen closely here—it is the right things to do. Proper, in fact.

Roy Peter Clark is an accomplished writer himself, an accomplished teacher of writing, and when it comes to many of the famous writers of our day, he himself has hobbed with the nobs. In short, he knows what he is talking about. He knows whereof he speaks.

This really is a worthwhile book.