For some certain romantic reasons, a segment of the English-language reading population fell in love with Roberto Bolaño in the first few years of this millennium. One invariably glimpsed Bolaño’s award-winning 1998 novel The Savage Detectives on endtables and nightstands after its translation in 2007, with or without bookmarks.[...]
In high school when I was trying to write surrealistic short stories in the vein of Richard Brautigan, despite not really understanding 90 percent of Richard Brautigan, my English teacher recommended I start reading Kurt Vonnegut, so later that day I went down to our city’s sci-fi book/comic book store and bought on her recommendation Breakfast[...]
Umberto Eco, now 83 years old, has some advice to pass along to the young.
In March, the Italian semiotician, philosopher, literary critic, and novelist — and, of course, author of Foucault’s Pendulum – published How to Write a Thesis.
Image by Mark Ostow/Yale Alumni Magazine
Author William Zinsser died at his Manhattan home on Tuesday, May 12, 2015. The 92-year-old left behind one of the classics of writing instruction manuals as his legacy, On Writing Well. Since its first printing in 1976, the book has sold 1.5 million copies, and Zinsser made sure to update the book often.
Nobody ever went broke writing a readable guide to writing in English, especially those that rise to the ranks of standard recommendations alongside Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style and William Zinsser’s On Writing Well.[...]
When it came to giving advice to writers, Kurt Vonnegut was never dull. He once tried to warn people away from using semicolons by characterizing them as “transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing.[...]
Image by Università Reggio Calabria, released under a C BY-SA 3.0 license.
In general, the how-to book—whether on beekeeping, piano-playing, or wilderness survival—is a dubious object, always running the risk of boring readers into despairing apathy or hopelessly perplexing them with complexity.
There may be no more a macabrely misogynistic sentence in English literature than Edgar Allan Poe’s contention that “the death… of a beautiful woman” is “unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world.[...]
Nearly everyone—from the most minimally educated to the most academically accomplished—has experienced at least once that panicked loss for words colloquially known as “writer’s block.” Faced with the glacial expanse of a blank page, or screen, the fingers fumble, heart races, and the brain seizes up.[...]