The Art of X-ray Reading

The Art of X-ray Reading: How the Secrets of 25 Great Works of Literature Will Improve Your Writing by Roy Peter Clark

PE 1408 .C53 A78 2016

“What are the secrets to great writing? Was Melville simply born with the skill to write? Did Shirley Jackson write “The Lottery” in one sitting? Actually, she did, but that’s beside the point. The truth is, great writers are great readers, and the secret to learning how to write is as simple as learning how to read very, very closely.

In this practical and engaging guide, Roy Peter Clark, bestselling author of Writing Tools, teaches the fine art of X-ray reading. When we X-ray read, we look beneath the surface of a text to discover the strategies that create the effects we experience – such as suspense, humor, or pain; we can then adopt these strategies as our own. In each of the twenty-five chapters, Clark X-rays a classic or contemporary work and then sums up with a handful of succinct writing lessons. You’ll even get a chance to try your own hand at X-ray reading at the end of the book.

The Art of X-ray Reading is a fun, often hilarious guide teeming with pop culture references and fascinating trivia. Honestly, could a book that mentions Breaking Bad, I Love Lucy, and Sharknado and teaches you how to write like Hemingway be anything but a good time?”
– publisher description


The Art of Memoir

The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr

CT 25 .K32 2015

“Credited with sparking the current memoir explosion, Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club spent more than a year at the top of the New York Times list. She followed with two other smash bestsellers: Cherry and Lit, which were critical hits as well.

For thirty years Karr has also taught the form, winning graduate teaching prizes for her highly selective seminar at Syracuse, where she mentored such future acclaimed authors as Cheryl Strayed, Keith Gessen, and Koren Zailckas. In The Art of Memoir, she synthesizes her expertise as professor and therapy patient, writer and spiritual seeker, recovered alcoholic and “black-belt sinner,” providing a unique window into the mechanics and art of the form that is as irreverent, insightful, and entertaining as her own work in the genre.

Anchored by excerpts from her favorite memoirs and anecdotes from fellow writers’ experience, The Art of Memoir lays bare Karr’s own process. (Plus all those inside stories about how she dealt with family and friends get told – and the dark spaces in her own skull probed in depth). As she breaks down the key elements of great literary memoir, she breaks open our concepts of memory and identity, and illuminates the cathartic power of reflecting on the past; anybody with an inner life or complicated history, whether writer or reader, will relate.

Joining such classics as Stephen King’s On Writing and Anne Lamott’s Bird by BirdThe Art of Memoir is an elegant and accessible exploration of one of today’s most popular literary forms – a tour de force from an accomplished master pulling back the curtain on her craft.”
– publisher description