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Writers on Writing, 2: More Collected Essays from the New York Times (2003)

by The New York Times

Other authors: Diane Ackerman (Contributor), Margaret Atwood (Contributor), Ann Beattie (Contributor), Geraldine Brooks (Contributor), Alan Cheuse (Contributor)42 more, Frank Conroy (Contributor), Chitra Divakaruni (Contributor), Leslie Epstein (Contributor), Stephen Fry (Contributor), Alan Furst (Contributor), Dorothy Gallagher (Contributor), Herbert Gold (Contributor), Allegra Goodman (Contributor), Vivian Gornick (Contributor), Andrew Greeley (Contributor), Kathryn Harrison (Contributor), Michael Holroyd (Contributor), A. M. Homes (Contributor), A. E. Hotchner (Contributor), Susan Isaacs (Contributor), Mary Karr (Contributor), William J. Kennedy (Contributor), Beth Kephart (Contributor), Brad Leithauser (Contributor), Elmore Leonard (Contributor), Elinor Lipman (Contributor), David Mamet (Contributor), Patrick McGrath (Contributor), Arthur Miller (Contributor), Honor Moore (Contributor), Marcia Muller (Contributor), P.J. O'Rourke (Contributor), Jay Parini (Contributor), Ann Patchett (Contributor), Anna Quindlen (Contributor), Jonathan Rosen (Contributor), James Sallis (Contributor), John Sedgwick (Contributor), David Shields (Contributor), Susan Richards Shreve (Contributor), Jane Smiley (Introduction), Richard Stern (Contributor), Amy Tan (Contributor), Shashi Tharoor (Contributor), Frederic Tuten (Contributor), Donald E. Westlake (Contributor), Edmund White (Contributor)

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1703133,902 (3.87)5
"Glimpses into writers and the circumstances that shape them . . . Valuable gleanings."-Kirkus Reviews In a second volume of original essays drawn from the long-runningNew York Times column,Writers on Writing brings together another group of contemporary literature's finest voices to muse on the challenges and gifts of language and creativity. The pieces range from taciturn, hilarious advice for aspiring writers to thoughtful, soul-wrenching reflections on writing in the midst of national tragedy. William Kennedy talks about the intersecting lives of real and imagined Albany politics; Susan Isaacs reveals her nostalgia for a long-retired protagonist; and Elmore Leonard offers pithy rules for letting the writing, and not the writer, take charge. With contributions from Diane Ackerman, Margaret Atwood, Frank Conroy, Mary Karr, Patrick McGrath, Arthur Miller, Amy Tan, and Edmund White, Writers on Writing, Volume II offers an uncommon and revealing view of the writer's world.… (more)
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This second volume was a bit of a disappointment to me. Perhaps the first volume was so good as to crowd out any favor for this one. On the other hand, these essays seemed colder, more distant than the earlier ones. There is relatively little of the artists in these works, while the earlier essays seemed heart-felt, quickened by their very life blood. That said, there were several standouts. The essays written around the time of 9/11 by A. M. Homes and Mary Karr were wonderful expositions on the power of art, specifically writing, in the face of unimaginable pain and terror. And both sprung from the depths of their soul The other standout must have been culled from the deepest reaches of the Times' archives - Arthur Miller on politics in the days before America joined World War II. That war is viewed with a gleaming nostalgia from this modern age. But the times were ugly and divisive in ways that right far too true for the last decade in this country. Miller unveils the dirty underside of American sentiment towards immigrants and the plight of the rest of the world, and it's not what you'll find in the movies, at all. ( )
  blackdogbooks | Jul 30, 2021 |
When I realized that the second volume of Writers on Writing existed I immediately put it on my wish list. When it finally arrived I couldn't wait to read it. The essays in this New York Times collection aren't selected to compliment each other in voice, theme or subject. It's pretty much authors talking about whatever strikes them, as long as it has something to do with their present life as writers. Some remember their childhood and making up stories, some reflect on their children's childhood and their struggles with their first book. Some talk about book signings, interviews, impact of current events, music, loneliness, workday schedule, depression and their Selectric typewriter. You name it, it's there. That's what I love about these books - they show the writerly world as it is - diverse and unscripted and un-carefully-selected to match something.
What I like most about these books though is that they make me want to DO things. They make me want to go find the books mentioned on the pages, listen to the music credited with inspiration, write something, anything at all. This is definitely a must-read and I highly recommend it, even if you have no ambition to become one of the writerly world. ( )
  bolgai | Apr 14, 2011 |
I like reading what writers have to say about their craft. The essays in this collection are brief (having begun their lives in a newspaper), which makes it a good book for dipping into. Introduction by Jane Smiley. Includes pieces by Margaret Atwood, Dorothy, Gallagher, P.J. O'Rourke, Ann Patchett, Anna Quindlen, and many others. (I rather like seeing the essays arranged in alphabetical order by author, rather than by any theme an editor might have tried to spin.) ( )
  marywhisner | Jul 24, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
The New York Timesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ackerman, DianeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Atwood, MargaretContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beattie, AnnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brooks, GeraldineContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cheuse, AlanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Conroy, FrankContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Divakaruni, ChitraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Epstein, LeslieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fry, StephenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Furst, AlanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gallagher, DorothyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gold, HerbertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Goodman, AllegraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gornick, VivianContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Greeley, AndrewContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harrison, KathrynContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Holroyd, MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Homes, A. M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hotchner, A. E.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Isaacs, SusanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Karr, MaryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kennedy, William J.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kephart, BethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Leithauser, BradContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Leonard, ElmoreContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lipman, ElinorContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mamet, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McGrath, PatrickContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Miller, ArthurContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moore, HonorContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Muller, MarciaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
O'Rourke, P.J.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Parini, JayContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Patchett, AnnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Quindlen, AnnaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rosen, JonathanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sallis, JamesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sedgwick, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shields, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shreve, Susan RichardsContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Smiley, JaneIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stern, RichardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tan, AmyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tharoor, ShashiContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tuten, FredericContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Westlake, Donald E.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
White, EdmundContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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"Glimpses into writers and the circumstances that shape them . . . Valuable gleanings."-Kirkus Reviews In a second volume of original essays drawn from the long-runningNew York Times column,Writers on Writing brings together another group of contemporary literature's finest voices to muse on the challenges and gifts of language and creativity. The pieces range from taciturn, hilarious advice for aspiring writers to thoughtful, soul-wrenching reflections on writing in the midst of national tragedy. William Kennedy talks about the intersecting lives of real and imagined Albany politics; Susan Isaacs reveals her nostalgia for a long-retired protagonist; and Elmore Leonard offers pithy rules for letting the writing, and not the writer, take charge. With contributions from Diane Ackerman, Margaret Atwood, Frank Conroy, Mary Karr, Patrick McGrath, Arthur Miller, Amy Tan, and Edmund White, Writers on Writing, Volume II offers an uncommon and revealing view of the writer's world.

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Book description
Contains:
  • Poems foster self-discovery / Diane Ackerman
  • A path taken, with all the certainty of youth / Margaret Atwood
  • Essentials get lost in the shuffle of publicity / Ann Beattie
  • Timeless tact helps sustain a literary time traveler / Geraldine Brooks
  • Yes, there are second acts (literary ones) in American lives / Alan Cheuse
  • Footprints of greatness on your turf / Frank Conroy
  • New insights into the novel? Try reading three hundred / Chitra Divakaruni
  • Returning to Proust's world stirs remembrance / Leslie Epstein
  • Forget ideas, Mr: author: what kind of pen do you use? / Stephen Fry
  • In Paris and Moscow, a novelist finds his time and place / Alan Furst
  • Recognizing the book that needs to be written / Dorothy Gallagher
  • How to insult a writer / Herbert Gold
  • Calming the inner critic and getting to work / Allegra Goodman
  • A narrator leaps past journalism / Vivian Gornick
  • They leap from your brain then take over your heart / Andrew Greeley
  • When inspiration stared stoically from an old photograph / Kathryn Harrison
  • A career despite dad's advice / Michael Holroyd
  • See the unimaginable freezes the imagination / A.M. Homes
  • Hemingway's blessing, Copland's collaboration / A.E. Hotchner
  • Returning to the character who started it all / Susan Isaacs
  • Negotiating the darkness, fortified by poets' strength / Mary Karr
  • Hometown boy makes waves / William Kennedy
  • As her son creates his story, a mother waits for the ending / Beth Kephart
  • The glory of a first book / Brad Leithauser
  • Easy on the adverbs, exclamation points and especially hooptedoodle / Elmore Leonard
  • A famous author says: "Swell book! Loved it!" / Elinor Lipman
  • Hearing the notes that aren't played / David Mamet
  • Heroism in trying times / Patrick McGrath
  • Shattering the silence, illuminating the hatred / Arthur Miller
  • Overcome by intensity, redeemed by effort / Honor Moore
  • A novelist's life is altered by her alter ego / Marcia Muller
  • Computers invite a tangled web of complications / P.J. O'Rourke
  • Saluting all the king's mentors / Jay Parini
  • Why not put off till tomorrow the novel you could begin today? / Ann Patchett
  • The eye of the reporter; the heart of the novelist / Anna Quindlen
  • A retreat from the world can be a perilous journey / Jonathan Rosen
  • After six novels in twelve years, a character just moves on / James Sallis
  • Fiction and fact collide, with unexpected consequences / John Sedgwick
  • Confession begets connection / David Shields
  • A storyteller finds comfort in a cloak of anonymity / Susan Richards Shreve
  • Autumnal accounting endangers happiness / Richard Stern
  • Family ghosts hoard secrets that bewitch the living / Amy Tan
  • A bedeviling question in the cadence of English / Shashi Tharoor
  • Still replying to grandma's persistent "And then?" / Frederic Tuten
  • A pseudonym returns from an alter-ego trip, with new tales to tell / Donald E. Westlake
  • Before a rendezvous with the muse, first select the music / Edmund White
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