Writers on Writing, Volume II : More collected essays from The New York Times

by Jane Smiley (Introduction)

Hardcover, 2003




New York : Times Books, 2001-<2003>


"Glimpses into writers and the circumstances that shape them . . . Valuable gleanings."-Kirkus Reviews In a second volume of original essays drawn from the long-runningNew York Times column,Writers on Writing brings together another group of contemporary literature's finest voices to muse on the challenges and gifts of language and creativity. The pieces range from taciturn, hilarious advice for aspiring writers to thoughtful, soul-wrenching reflections on writing in the midst of national tragedy. William Kennedy talks about the intersecting lives of real and imagined Albany politics; Susan Isaacs reveals her nostalgia for a long-retired protagonist; and Elmore Leonard offers pithy rules for letting the writing, and not the writer, take charge. With contributions from Diane Ackerman, Margaret Atwood, Frank Conroy, Mary Karr, Patrick McGrath, Arthur Miller, Amy Tan, and Edmund White, Writers on Writing, Volume II offers an uncommon and revealing view of the writer's world.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member marywhisner
I like reading what writers have to say about their craft. The essays in this collection are brief (having begun their lives in a newspaper), which makes it a good book for dipping into. Introduction by Jane Smiley. Includes pieces by Margaret Atwood, Dorothy, Gallagher, P.J. O'Rourke, Ann Patchett, Anna Quindlen, and many others. (I rather like seeing the essays arranged in alphabetical order by author, rather than by any theme an editor might have tried to spin.)… (more)
LibraryThing member bolgai
When I realized that the second volume of Writers on Writing existed I immediately put it on my wish list. When it finally arrived I couldn't wait to read it. The essays in this New York Times collection aren't selected to compliment each other in voice, theme or subject. It's pretty much authors talking about whatever strikes them, as long as it has something to do with their present life as writers. Some remember their childhood and making up stories, some reflect on their children's childhood and their struggles with their first book. Some talk about book signings, interviews, impact of current events, music, loneliness, workday schedule, depression and their Selectric typewriter. You name it, it's there. That's what I love about these books - they show the writerly world as it is - diverse and unscripted and un-carefully-selected to match something.
What I like most about these books though is that they make me want to DO things. They make me want to go find the books mentioned on the pages, listen to the music credited with inspiration, write something, anything at all. This is definitely a must-read and I highly recommend it, even if you have no ambition to become one of the writerly world.
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