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Publisher's Summary

In this entertaining and edifying New York Times best-seller, acclaimed author Francine Prose invites you to sit by her side and take a guided tour of the tools and tricks of the masters and to discover why their work has endured.

Written with passion, humor, and wisdom, Reading Like a Writer will inspire listeners to return to literature with a fresh eye and an eager heart; to take pleasure in the long and magnificent sentences of Philip Roth and the breathtaking paragraphs of Isaac Babel; to look to John le Carre for a lesson in how to advance plot through dialogue; and to Flannery O'Connor for the cunning use of the telling detail. And, most importantly, she cautions listeners to slow down and pay attention to words, the raw material out of which all literature is crafted.

©2006 Francine Prose; (P)2007 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"Prose's observations are incandescent, and her examples are thrilling, ranging from Samuel Johnson to Katherine Mansfield, Flannery O'Connor, Raymond Chandler, Stanley Elkin, and Paula Fox." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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  • Performance
  • Story

Well-played, Amazon!

Warning: Listening to this book will compel you to buy/download more books!
Listening to this one is like being in your favorite literature/writing class in college...only there are so many books covered here your college courses surely never covered them all.
Prose's analysis and observations only make you thirst for the original text, which is why I recently ordered the "Tales of Chekov" print set and downloaded Stephen Fry's narration of selected Chekov stories.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Gare
  • Washington, DC, USA
  • 04-13-08

Practical, literate, generous

The treatment that you would expect at an Ivy league modern literature summer seminar. Good examples, truly helps to inform your focus as you read.

27 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great writing is effortless to the reader

Reading like a writer requires the reader to analyze the basic elements of the writing (rhythm, sentence, paragraph, dialogue, gesture, etc.), break them down, critique each part, and reassemble them. It is similar to a mechanic disassembling an engine, knowing each part, and assembling the engine back again. Only by understanding the pieces needed to make a well-constructed story and practicing the techniques, the reader can become a better writer. The author illustrates with many examples of excellent writing, like a long sentence with no adjectives and adverbs and yet flows smoothly in describing the scene. Great writing is effortless to the reader.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Enjoyable Examples

I found that the narrator did not match the tone of the content, and that she somehow devalued it. Overall though, it was inspirational and I will be reading some of the suggested examples.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Jens
  • Australia
  • 03-22-13

very useful

What about Nanette Savard’s performance did you like?

Very good and clear reading with some good acting-reading of the literary texts.

What insight do you think you’ll apply from Reading Like a Writer?

It is an excellent book for every writer, a very interesting approach to creeatrive writing and learning form other writers' tricks. Also, a useful material for discussion for every teacher of Creative Writing. It was a nice way of re-aquainting with literary classics. Highly recommneded!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

I am Not Sure

A professor recommended this book to me to help with my writing career. I am not sure why because most of what was given was written like her life story and only little nuggets of facts were included. I tried to figure out what was so helpful in an 8+ hour listen but only came away with about 4 things. I guess that's better than wasting 8+ hours of my time and coming away with nothing. The narrator was very good.

  • Overall
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  • Story

I try to read or listen to this book once a year.

a great book on reading and writing. very well read ' very well writtem. I recommend

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

I still don't get it.

The material covered by this book is probably better covered by an old school hard copy book rather than by audio book on my daily commute.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

no

didn't like it ...seems to unstructured and long-winded.not what I was looking for in writing skills

0 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Jaroslaw
  • 11-21-10

Disappointing

I expected a series of good examples with deep analysis of what made book work or not work. There were far fewer very bad and too long examples, the analysis was typically slight, and there was too much unnecessary material.

2 of 7 people found this review helpful