Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?
What writers can learn: How to write about ordinary stuff in an unordinary way (b-to-b content writers, I’m looking at you). Each of these books documents ordinary moments in ordinary lives—but with a perspective and treatment that make the stories anything but prosaic.
The War of Art
What writers can learn: How to get things done. Steven writes, “It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write.” Yep.
Start With Why
What writers can learn: How to find a bigger story. People on Amazon will tell you to save your money and just watch the TED talk that preceded the book. But I believe books should be priced to reflect the amount of thinking and toil that goes into them. A book should cost a thousand dollars or more, not $8.99.
Watch the TED talk if you want, but buy the book, too. Don’t be a jerk.
What writers can learn: How to write a sentence. The craft is really nice. And reading good writing from the hand of a master writer is a relief, like you can relax and just enjoy the ride. Plus, I suspect that Elif’s next book will be way better than this one, so you should discover her early.
ONE MAN'S MEAT
What writers can learn: How to blog. This book is a must-read as a prime example of sharp, first-person writing that never veers into indulgence or myopia like a lot of blogging does. If you do nothing else, skip to “Once More to the Lake” (page 198). Read. Weep. Learn.
James and the Giant Peach
What writers can learn: How to feed the imagination. Or, to quote from another Roald Dahl title, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: “A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.” And women.