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ANNOTATIONS, REVIEWS, and CRAFT BOOKS

NAMING THE WORLD, Bret Anthony Johnston

December 14, 2017

Naming the World, Bret Anthony Johnston, editor Penguin Random House, 2007 Naming the World is a craft class in a book. Edited by the writer Bret Anthony Johnston, the book is broken into typical craft chapters: Plot and Narration, Dialogue…

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THE ART OF HISTORY, Christopher Bram

November 9, 2017

The Art of History, Christopher Bram Graywolf Press, 2016 A recent addition to Graywolf’s wonderful “Art of…” series of books, The Art of History is a terrific resource for any writer. Although writers of historical fiction may be the primary…

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Book Review: RAGGED; OR, THE LOVELIEST LIES OF ALL

October 24, 2017

Ragged; or, The Loveliest Lies of All, by Christopher Irvin Reviewed by Nick Fuller Googins For those who tire of life in the Anthropocene, with near-daily headlines reminding us of the many ways our species continues destroying vibrant swaths of…

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HIDDEN MACHINERY, Margot Livesey

October 19, 2017

Hidden Machinery, Margot Livesey Tin House Books, 2017 A collection of ten essays on writing by the great Margot Livesey is a book to be savored, to be read again and again. A thoughtful reader as well as writer, Livesey’s…

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CRASH COURSE, Robin Black

October 12, 2017

 Crash Course, Robin Black Engine Books, 2016 This lovely collection houses a series of essays on writing and on life. Many of the short essays live in the place where writing and life intersect, and as the book progresses, you…

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SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING, Verlyn Klinkenborg

September 26, 2017

Several Short Sentences About Writing, Verlyn Klinkenborg Penguin Random House, 2012 There is much good advice in Klinkenborg’s book, and the way that it is written—in a series of sentences and passages—makes it an easy book to read. It feels…

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THE MAKING OF A STORY, Alice LaPlante

September 13, 2017

The Making of a Story, Alice LaPlante W.W. Norton, 2007 At a whopping 642 pages, LaPlante’s craft book is extremely comprehensive. Each of the fourteen chapters includes well-developed essays on elements of craft, exercises, and readings. The chapters cover plot,…

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Favorite First Sentence: THAT NIGHT, Alice McDermott

September 5, 2017

Favorite First Sentence: That Night, Alice McDermott That night when he came to claim her, he stood on the short lawn before her house, his knees bent, his fists driven into his thighs, and bellowed her name with such passion…

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Book Review: DADDY ISSUES by Alex McElroy

September 1, 2017

Alex McElroy’s chapbook, Daddy Issues, consists of seven short fiction pieces, and each story tackles the role that boys and men play in their families and in the world, paying particular attention to the relationship between fathers and sons. By…

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Book Review: WHAT WE LOSE by Zinzi Clemmons

September 1, 2017

Much of What We Lose, an innovative and engaging debut novel by Zinzi Clemmons, is about being stuck in the in-between. The protagonist, Thandi, is of mixed-race, with an American father and a South African mother. Although Thandi is brought…

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