Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them

Francine Prose

Francine Prose cuts to the heart of the matter: If you want to write, read. The world is, unfortunately, all too full of people who think they know how to write. Prose gets at the craft that separates the wannabes from the ones who actually do. Of course, she makes the assumption that those of us who want to write desire to do so because we love to read, because a well-wrought sentence, a character fully sketched and a compelling narrative arc trip an internal switch and release a sense of both peace and wonder. Like a good writing manual, Prose’s book starts at the sentence level, then moves up through the elements of style. Her examples vary from the canonical to the obscure, as does her list of suggested reading, but her writing is always both enviable and delightful.