Reader reviews for Reading Like a Writer

This is a hard book to review and rate because I have such conflicting thoughts about the content. On one hand, it did make me really think about structure, dialogue, and gestures of my novel. On the other hand, I feel like I learned nothing concrete--just that I should carefully think about those things, which is kind of frustrating.Overall I'd give it a 3.5. Worth the read definitely, if not for the prod into deeper thinking about the smallest things in your novel.
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Most "how-to-write" books fall into one of two categories; either they are a textbook style list of writing exercises or the emphasize the creativity aspect and suggest things like dream journals. This book, thankfully, falls in neither category. Francine Prose uses this book to show and not tell us what good writing is. She divides the chapters into aspects of writing like sentences and paragraph breaks, but the real joy of this book are the fragments of novels liberally sprinkled through each chapter. From Scott Spencer to Gustave Flaubert and an especially liberal helping of Chekov, Prose gives example after example of what constitutes good writing.I found this book more inspiring and helpful than any other book on creative writing I've read since Stephen King's "On Writing".
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I really enjoyed this. Would be a good tool to expand discussion in book group.
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This book is an oxymoron, a paradox for me - I like it and I hate it; what I like about it I hate and what I hate about it I like. My favourite chapters are the first chapter and the last two chapters. I enjoyed "Learning from Chekhov" the most.
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Prose (got to love the name) examines the benefits of close reading for both readers and writers. She works through the elements of fiction, beginning with words then sentences, paragraphs, dialogue, description, and narrative (showing vs. telling). She devotes an entire chapter to Chekhov. There's a recommended reading list (of all the works she discusses) at the end. I found it entertaining and illuminating.
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Francine Prose writes beautifully about what it means to read. To read at a deeper level. Not the way you do when you're studying for a test, or doing research, but reading as an active participant in the reader/writer dialog. Prose suggests that we read from the writers point of view; challenging us to try to understand what the writer is trying to accomplish and attempting to communicate to us. The text is adorned with lovingly crafted (and presented) bits of literature, deconstructed and analyzed for our benefit. Huge run-on length sentences by Henry James, which roll off the tongue effortlessly, and defy everything we were taught about what a sentence is, or even could be, are among the many things which make this book one that I've recommended in the past, and will turn to again in the future.The appendix contains a wonderful list of "Book to be read immediately".
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Blockbuster!Prose lives up to her name :-)Writers know that reading is critical to learning their art and craft---this book goes beyond proving it---soaring in the heavens of literature...
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This book is pretty amazing--especially for all my literature teacher friends out there! I am enjoying her style, her examples, everything.
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Prose is very good at connecting the big dots. That is, she does a good job at finding great examples of technique, character development, etc. That's where I really found some value in this book, it added some new titles to my "to be read" list that I'm very excited about. If you've ever taken Creative Writing 101 or Journalsim Reporting 101, Prose's concepts will be more of a review (but with GREAT examples) and not much else. But if you like good writing for writing's sake, then this book will whet your appetite for some of the more classic books you may not have read.
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The trick to writing, Prose writes, is reading—carefully, deliberately and slowly. While this might seem like a no-brainer, Prose masterfully meditates on how quality reading informs great writing, which will warm the cold, jaded hearts of even the most frustrated, unappreciated and unpublished writers.
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