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Odd Type Writers: From Joyce and Dickens to Wharton and Welty, the Obsessive Habits and Quirky Techniques of Great Authors
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Odd Type Writers: From Joyce and Dickens to Wharton and Welty, the Obsessive Habits and Quirky Techniques of Great Authors

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  210 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Every great writer has a unique way of setting a story to paper. And, it turns out, many of these writers used methods that were just as inventive as the works they produced. Odd Type Writers explores the quirky writing habits of renowned authors, including Truman Capote, Ernest Hemingway, and Alexandre Dumas, among many others.

* To meet his deadline for The Hu
Paperback, 224 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by TarcherPerigee (first published May 7th 2013)
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Average rating 3.51  · 
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 ·  210 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Entertaining, but not as useful as "Daily Rituals: How Artists Work" by Mason Currey. Read Currey's book first and then flip through "Odd Type Writers" if you're dying for more.
Emma Sea
Nov 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
A marvelous light, frothy, enjoyable book. Easy to dip into to read a section when you have a spare moment. Excellent for reading over coffee.
Shawn Bird
Jul 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was included in the first Writerly Kit, along with "The Compass Guidebook to Discoveries while reading" by Janet I. Whitehead. She had put little bookmarks all through Odd Type Writers that linked to commentary and questions about our own writing.

Odd Type Writers serves to inform us that writers have many quirks and diverse writing processes, so whatever works for us, is perfectly fine. All that's important is that one perseveres and does the writing.
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was lots of fun and an easy read. I finished it in about 24 hours. It would be nice if there were more about writers of color- I think all I noticed was a short reference to Langston Hughes writing with green ink.
Andreea (Infinite Text)
Jan 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
This will be a relatively short review as most of its contents would be a ‘spoiler.’ Odd Type Writers focuses on the strange habits of famous authors. Each chapter has a different theme. For instance the topics vary from: authors who write early in the morning versus late at night, what each author’s daily word count for writing is, what preference of ink colour they have, whether they write sitting down or standing up, or how many cups of coffee they had in a day. Balzac for instance would have ...more
Oct 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: writing
I liked the title more than the actual book, but these strange habits, routines and superstitions of famous writers were certainly entertaining.

Should I drink coffee like Balzac and Voltaire, or tea like Simone de Beauvoir and Samuel Johnson? Can I commit to 4,000 words a day like Asimov, or is Graham Greene’s 500 words more my speed?

I found the following pair of scissors-related practices particularly interesting.

James Joyce called himself a “scissors and paste man.” (For me, that qu“scissors
Susan Oleksiw
Jul 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
I admit that I'm a sucker for books about writers, from the shallowest collection of pithy sayings to the longest biographies vying for the Pulitzer Prize. This one falls closer to the former than the latter end of the spectrum, but it is fun as well as giving readers, especially other writers, things to ponder. Johnson gives a separate short chapter to twenty writers but discusses those and others in chapters on general topics such as nightlife and drinking. Some writers could only work with a ...more
Apr 12, 2014 marked it as to-read

Also this.
Edward Sullivan
Dec 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: writing, biography
An interesting and sometimes entertaining collection of essays about well-known writers and there habits, rituals, quirks, superstitions, obsessions, muses, and more.
Craig Cottongim
Jan 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read it the same day I got it. It far exceeded my expectations. It was more interesting than I anticipated. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Don Gorman
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Just a fun quick book to read about writers and their quirky habits.
Sep 24, 2018 marked it as to-read
Chapters on:
Honore de Balzac
Alexandre Dumas
Victor Hugo
Edgar Allen Poe
Charles Dickens

Edith Wharton 1862-1937; "True originality consists not in a new manner but in a new vision. That new, that personal, vision is attained only by looking long enough at the object represented to make it the writer's own." from The Writing of Fiction;
"Edith Wharton's dream home was a mansion seated on top of a hill in Lenox, Massachusetts." from Odd Type Writers
Oct 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: borrowed
I guess the big takeaway from this is… what is not odd, or what is normal?
It’s a series of short chapters, one for each personal habit, divided into sections by type of habit: early riser, late stayer, location, by the numbers, index cards, colour, scissors and so on.
Sylvia Plath wins with the earliest riser - 4am.
It’s the kind of book that is perfect for a library, which is where I found it.
3 stars
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it
I found it very interesting to read this book and I also admired the whole work behind it, it’s huge. Very easy to read and entertaining. Perfect if you wanna have a soft reading and learn facts about great authors at the same time.
Nov 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
An interesting insight into the habits of writers.
Kirsty Keddie
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
A little bit U.S. centric in her choice of authors but great fun to read about the quirks and get an insight into the hard work and habits that created some of our great novels :-)
Pablo Stafforini
Sep 11, 2017 rated it liked it
My excerpts here.
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I live for this! Happy birthday to me!
Sep 18, 2019 rated it liked it
thoroughly informative and truly odd. worth a read if you're inclined to writing, yourself.
Aug 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017-challenge
Interesting look into how some writers set up shop. Reads like a selection of snippets.
Mark McFaddyn
Dec 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
As a writer, I enjoy reading how other writers go about the task: when they write, where they write, how they organize their workspace, writing quirks, and preparation traditions. Sometimes these tidbits inspire me and give me an idea for my own writing process. Others make me laugh. A few cause my brow to wrinkle.

Odd Type Writers: From Joyce and Dickens to Wharton and Welty, the Obsessive Habits and Quirky Techniques of Great Authors is a collection of short chapters describing the
May 31, 2013 rated it liked it
{from my personal book review blog}

Fresh off of the success of her documenting the strange origins of some of the world's most fabulous stories in "Dancing with Mrs. Dalloway," Celia Blue Johnson is at it again with "Odd Type Writers: From Joyce and Dickens to Wharton and Welty, the Obsessive Habits and Quirky Techniques of Great Authors." As the extended title would make easily apparent, the novel creeps back into the bedrooms, studies, libraries, and cabins of even the most reclusive of autho
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
So the premise of this book is the odd writing habits various authors had when writing. The tidbits on the back teased some amusingly odd but cute things and it starts promisingly. The author talked about finding and going inside an old speakeasy club that many famous writers had spent time in. It was well written, easy to read and interesting. The actual book is more like a series of essays than anything else and while I expected odd habits, what's really described seemed fairly obvious to me. ...more
Jun 13, 2016 marked it as to-read
The 13 Best Biographies, Memoirs, and History Books of 2013

Famous authors are notorious for their daily routines — sometimes outrageous, usually obsessive, invariably peculiar. In Odd Type Writers: From Joyce and Dickens to Wharton and Welty, the Obsessive Habits and Quirky Techniques of Great Authors (public library), Brooklyn-based writer Celia Blue Johnson takes us on a guided tour of great writers’ unusual techniques, prompts, and customs of committing thought to paper, from thei
Feb 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book about writer's writing rituals, writing processes and their eccentricities. Did you know Truman Capote preferred to be horizontal when writing and even typed while reclining on a couch? Vladimir Nabokov used index cards to create novels. Gertrude Stein wrote while in her car driving around. Agatha Christie composed while in the bath. Schiller needed the smell of rotten apples and darkened rooms to stimulate his writing muse. James Joyce was nearly blind when he compos ...more
Katie J Schwartz
Did you know that Edgar Allan Poe had a cat named CATTERINA?

Or that Vladimir Nabokov composed Lolita on three-by-five notecards?

Or that Ray Bradbury stress-ate ice cream for hours straight?

I didn't, but after reading Celia Blue Johnson's Odd Type Writers, I'm certainly feeling better about my own writerly quirks and habits. Johnson presents interesting tidbits on quite a few famous, canonized authors, all written down in easy-to-digest mini-essays. Although I occasionally w
Deborah Martinez
Jan 13, 2014 rated it liked it
An entertaining collection of essays about well-known authors. The book is about the authors various quirks and rituals that helped them to write. It was a fun book to read, and great as you could read one chapter (author) at a time. Honore De Balzac consumed up to 50 cups of coffee a day to help him write! Gertrude Stein obtained her first car, a model T Ford in 1917. She quickly discovered that the driver's seat of the car was an ideal spot to write! These are the type of short stories you wil ...more
Fascinating, and pleasant little chapters to read.

I once knew someone who had a time-lock safe for his internet router. And when I was in college someone used to mail his game disks to himself to get a couple of days without distractions. In that vein, one of my favorite stories in the book was of Victor Hugo locking up all his clothes so that he was forced to stay in the house and write, wearing a knit shawl.
Dec 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
A quick, funny read that I managed to whizz through despite never getting past the first 30 pages on my original attempt at reading it. Very interesting to learn the writing habits of some of the greats, particularly those who wrote in purple ink and make collages out of their drafts.
Dec 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
A very light, easy read. Entertaining information about well-known writers. Definitely not an in-depth study of any particular writer, or even the writing process, but a fun 'trivia' read for those interested in books and writers.
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Celia Blue Johnson began her publishing career as a book editor at Random House and Grand Central Publishing. She left editing to focus on writing and running Slice, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit organization that has been featured in Time Out New York, the New Yorker, and the New York Times. She has interviewed several bestselling and award-winning writers for Slice magazine. You can find out more a ...more