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This book, which is both humorous and on point, is perhaps the best book that I ve read about writing Prose refuses to set down any hard and fast rules, knowing that the best stories flout them, but continues to offer her advice in a piecemeal, by example sort of way Her list of books at the end of Reading Like a Writer, and her insistence on reading and doing so carefully, helps us remember why we want to write in the first place Rarely have I read through a book like this so quickly, or am I so eager to do so again. Long Before There Were Creative Writing Workshops And Degrees, How Did Aspiring Writers Learn To Write By Reading The Work Of Their Predecessors And Contemporaries, Says Francine ProseIn Reading Like A Writer, Prose Invites You To Sit By Her Side And Take A Guided Tour Of The Tools And The Tricks Of The Masters She Reads The Work Of The Very Best WritersDostoyevsky, Flaubert, Kafka, Austen, Dickens, Woolf, Chekhovand Discovers Why Their Work Has Endured She Takes Pleasure In The Long And Magnificent Sentences Of Philip Roth And The Breathtaking Paragraphs Of Isaac Babel She Is Deeply Moved By The Brilliant Characterization In George Eliot S Middlemarch She Looks To John Le Carr For A Lesson In How To Advance Plot Through Dialogue, To Flannery O Connor For The Cunning Use Of The Telling Detail, And To James Joyce And Katherine Mansfield For Clever Examples Of How To Employ Gesture To Create Character She Cautions Readers To Slow Down And Pay Attention To Words, The Raw Material Out Of Which Literature Is CraftedWritten With Passion, Humor, And Wisdom, Reading Like A Writer Will Inspire Readers To Return To Literature With A Fresh Eye And An Eager Heart In the added material at the back of READING LIKE A WRITER by Francine Prose, the book is described as like Harold Bloom, but written by and for human beings I think that is a fair description This isn t the most exciting or compelling book, but it is less dry than Bloom And it does have moments of great beauty.You can break Prose s book is really two books in one part, she teaches people how to read a book in such a way as to enjoy the pleasure of the language in the second part, she teaches writers how to improve their writing to make every word earn its place.In the first part,Prose teaches you how to break down a piece of fiction to the smallest pieces and then appreciate how those pieces are built up into a large, wonderful structure the novel Once you appreciate that, and can read with an eye that appreciates that beauty, taking your time, and savoring the author s ability.In the second part, Prose confronts a lot of rules about writing, knocking them down with powerful examples What you are left with is probably Prose s chief rule it s about finding an original voice If a writer can focus on interesting word choice, groundbreaking detail, and contrarian paths, they can surprise readers in a wonderful way Finally, she concludes with a list of 100 books that should be read immediately.This book probably appeals to a small group of writers and word nerds If you fall within that group, you can probably put this book to use, even if it is a bit dry. Before you read another book, read this book first You will never read the same way again You may even change your mind about what to read next Offered as a writer s guide to reading, Prose s book introduces the discipline of close reading, urging us to read attentively, to notice an author s word choices, sentence structure, even paragraph breaks If we want to write well, we must read, and read closely, those who write well And Prose points us to those who do write well She even supplies a reading list at the close of the book Read these as soon as you can, she says, as if to tell us, Here is where the gold is to be found There are extensive passages from classic works quoted in full and accompanied by insightful commentary There are here and there brief accounts of the author s experience in reading, writing, and teaching others how to read and write There are reflections on the lives of writers and excerpts from their correspondence This book is, in many ways, a course in literature, and you will gain immensely from reading it Whatever you are currently reading, finish it, but then, before you pick up another book, pick this one up And read it closely. Fracine Prose has written close to 20 novels over the course of her career When this book was recommended by my writing instructor, I read it totally mesmerized At that time I was in the middle of my second novel and here, the famous Francine Prose was describing how I wrote Contrary to the rules for writing that consume most books on the subject, Prose makes her point with her accustomed elegant English To paraphrase, fiction writing is art For every rule out there, some writer has broken it and it worked There are writers who produce gorgeous story telling without regard to genre or anyone s rules The story is the thing and entertaining the reader is our humble purpose For if we do that, we can influence our culture and prove the pen is mightier than the sword. I am becoming thrifty about book purchases and how many pairs of shoes I own, and aware of how much pie I eat and going outside in any weather conditions Francine Prose s book taught me new things, reminded me of things I knew but had forgotten, and also reinforced my best writing habits as I work on my novel in progress, THREAD I am jealous that her last name is Prose A little joke This book allows readers and writers to understand their romance with words and stories, observation and creation I checked it out at my local library, but I had to have it as a constant companion in my house the way I keep good tea, favorite photos and friends nearby.