5 Classic Books on Writing Every Writer Should Read
A few books have withstood the test of time and passed as truly exceptional resources for writers. We highlight some of these classic books on writing that every writer should read. Grab for yourself a copy of the books to benefit from the wealth of information and education they contain.
The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White
Used extensively by individual writers as well as high school and college students, The Elements of Style – the most widely read and employed English style manual – is now available in a specially bound 50th Anniversary Edition. The new case bound 50th Anniversary Edition includes a brief overview of the book's illustrious history and glorious achievements in the past 50 years as well as the same content as the Fourth Edition that was revised in 1999.
This time-tested classic does not insist on a way of writing beyond clear expression. It will help you to cut out crap, jargon and extra words and remind you of what is required to put words together in a beautiful, coherent and concise manner. The book's precepts are a foundation of direct communication, conveying the principles of English style to millions of readers around the world.
2. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
If you are stuck on a level below your creative potential and you just can’t seem to get things on track toward achieving your most authentic, creative goals, then knowing yourself and the enemy to your success can help you curve out an effective way forward. Pressfield’s book examines the human mind and provokes you into rigorous introspection with the view to inspire you to bring to life the creative potential that burns somewhere inside you.
This classic motivational book examines the human mind in the most profound and intelligent way in the quest for creative fulfillment. It goes beyond standard motivational cliché and will benefit anyone feeling resistance toward pursuing and realizing their inherent creative goals, be they writing or creating any other kind of art
3. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Anne Lamott, as a self proclaimed former "Leona Helmsley of jealousy," wills herself past pettiness to fight writer's block by living "as if I am dying." She counsels writers to form support groups and wisely observes that even if your audience is small, "to have written your version is an honorable thing."
In her book, Lamott is fabulously funny and incredibly generous with her feelings, thoughts and expertise on writing. Bird by Bird will warm your heart and make you feel educated, empowered and rejuvenate enough to resume your writing with a deeper, stronger understanding of the writing process.
Bird by Bird packs gold nuggets of advice for writers and is stunningly lucid and humorous. It will make you laugh together with the author while at the same time learning about hard work and the art of writing from an acclaimed author.
4. Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss
In this classic book, former editor Lynne Truss, dares to say, in her delightfully urbane, witty, and very English way, that it is time to look at our commas and semicolons and see them as the wonderful and necessary things they are. Eats, Shoots & Leaves is a book for people who love punctuation and get upset when punctuation is mishandled.
This book, which made the best-seller list in Britain, is not a grammar book, but a delightful, spirited instructional volume that gives you reason to love punctuation. The book eloquently speaks about the value of punctuation in preserving the nuances of language in a delightful, lucid tone that is liberally sprinkled with outright sarcasm, bone-dry humor and captivating bits of history.
You will learn a lot about the proper use of punctuation and have a good chuckle while at it in reading Eats, Shoots & Leaves.
5. On Writing Well by William Zinsser
On Writing Well is a book for everybody who wants to learn how to write or who needs to do some writing to get through the day, as almost everybody does in the age of the Internet and information technology.
With more than a million copies sold, this volume of On Writing Well has stood the test of time and remains a valuable resource for writers and would-be writers. The book is witty and charming, up-beat and optimistic, filled with apt examples and funny stories. It provides simple formulas for complex problems that makes for a truly delightful and enlightening read.
On Writing Well will teach you the principals, methods and attitudes of writing and provide enlightening biographical information and experiences, whichwill help you write with clarity and confidence.
The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
The Selfish Gene is not exactly about writing or freelancing, but this international bestseller, now classic volume, is a powerful read that will inspire and educate you about the universe and your place in it. Dawkins explores how the selfish gene can also be a subtle gene.
The world of the selfish gene revolves around savage competition, ruthless exploitation, and deceit, and yet, Dawkins argues, acts of apparent altruism do exist in nature. From a philosophical point of view, the book will open your eyes to the fact that you are not alone in the world or a separate entity in life. It will help you understand why people feel and think as "I" and not "we" and help you be a better man or woman.
Anyone interested in the universe and finding out their place in it should read Dawkins' The Selfish Gene. The New York Times observes the book is "The sort of popular science writing that makes the reader feel like a genius."