Writing and Writers

Are you trying to finish your book for National Novel Writing Month? Or maybe you're just looking for an interesting book with a literary element. Enjoy these nonfiction books with writing tips, or fiction titles with authors as characters.

The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher JansmaThe Unchangeable Spots of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma.
This novel starts, “If you believe you are the author of this book, please contact Haslett & Grouse Publishers (New York, New York) at your first convenience” and it plays with reality all the way through. Jansma shows his unique voice as he twists the identities of a friend and literary rival, an unrequited love, and even the narrator himself.
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On Writing  A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen KingOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
Part autobiography, part writing guide, this book covers how King got his start, how he works and comes by ideas, and of course writing advice from a world famous author. Even if this is the only Stephen King you read, I'd recommend it.
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The Angel's Game (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #2) by Carlos Ruiz ZafónThe Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
David Martín, a struggling writer, accepts an irresistible book deal from “the boss.” But as Martín begins his research he finds a dark, labyrinthine mystery that is mirrored in the atmosphere and setting of 1920’s Barcelona. Though the second book in The Cemetery of Forgotten Books series, this book is chronologically first.
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Bird by Bird  Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne LamottBird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
This funny, sarcastic, and, at times, dark book offers much of the advice you may have heard about writing but in an encouraging and unique way.
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The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle WaldmanThe Love Affairs of Nathaniel P by Adelle Waldman
“At home, he’d read Kristen bits from Proust, and she’d get this pinched look on her face…as if there were children in Africa who could have better used those excess words.” Nate is a somewhat isolated, sexually frustrated writer who just received a big advance for his first novel. Not my usual type of read, but it kept pulling me back in.
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Things I Don't Want to Know  On Writing by Deborah LevyThings I Don't Want to Know: On Writing by Deborah Levy
George Orwell’s essay “Why I Write,” answers: sheer egoism, aesthetic enthusiasm, historical impulse, and political purpose. Levy looks at each of these points from her own perspective, creating a writing memoir about her childhood in South Africa, adolescence in Britain, and the balance between self, family, and writing. “To become a writer, I had to learn to interrupt, to speak up, a little louder, and then louder, and then to just speak in my own voice which is not loud at all.”
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A Corner of the World by Mylene Fernandez PintadoA Corner of the World by Mylene Fernandez Pintado
While this story revolves around Marian, a Spanish Literature professor, and Daniel, the young artist whose book she is reviewing, it also offers small glimpses into life in modern day Havana through vignettes about others in their neighborhood.
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Reading Like a Writer  A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine ProseReading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose
What makes great books last? Can you learn to incorporate their techniques into your writing? Prose urges readers to slow down and pay attention, and this book shows you some of the lessons you can pick up from Roth, Eliot, Le Carré and others if you do.
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Mr. Gwyn by Alessandro BariccoMr. Gwyn by Alessandro Baricco
Mr. Gwyn is a celebrated author, but when he says he will never write another book, he devotes himself to creating portraits, but with words instead of paint. At times, this book is more a dream than reality, leading the reader through Mr. Gwyn’s redefinition of himself and the character studies that Mr. Gwyn and the author both create.
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The Thirteenth Tale by Diane SetterfieldThe Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
I’ll admit this one has been on my to-read list far too long. Setterfield plays with the elements of gothic fiction in this story about secrets, ghosts, the pull that writing can have over you, and the mystery of a dying novelist’s unwritten thirteenth tale.
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