Friday, November 03, 2006

Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose

This is a book lover’s dream! In every chapter Prose breaks down the art of literature by its dazzling components--the sentence, the paragraph, characterization, gesture, dialogue—and creates an understanding and appreciation for the masters of the craft. The authors, stories, and scenes she uses to illustrate her point are inspired and inspiring—I wanted to run right out and read every author, short story, and novel she cited as examples throughout. One of the final chapters is dedicated to the reading of Chekhov’s short stories and how he broke every rule and convention Prose felt she kept trying to impart on her writing students. I can’t wait to dedicate a little time to Chekhov myself. And I know that I will slow down and savor my reading a little more—pay closer attention to how authors do what they do.

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