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Writers on Writing, Volume II: More Collected Essays from The New York Times

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  136 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
"Glimpses into writers and the circumstances that shape them . . . Valuable gleanings."-Kirkus Reviews

In a second volume of original essays drawn from the long-running New 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 tacit
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 1st 2004 by Times Books (first published 2003)
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Cameron Wiggins
May 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book consists of 41 essays by writers that range from Margaret Atwood, Frank Conroy, Elmore Leonard, Andrew Greeley, P. J. O’Rourke, Ann Patchett, Arthur Miller, Donald Westlake, and Amy Tan. If you are looking for a writing instruction book, this book is not for you. All of the essays are approximately six pages long. The authors write about whatever their heart fancies. These subjects range from the Selectric typewriter, to childhood memories, to writers block, to music, to current events ...more
Jan 05, 2015 rated it liked it
This is an interesting collection of short essays from a variety of authors, each ruminating on some aspect of the writing life. In the introduction, Jane Smiley recommended reading the book in either one sitting or over a single weekend, so that one can better allow the different voices "to come and go, to blend, to harmonize with and to echo one another." I concur.

Jan 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I enjoyed the essays, but at times I thought they were a bit condescending. I guess if I was published in the New York Times I would be full of myself too:)
C.G. Fewston
Sep 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Some essays are worth it. Some are not. But a recommend nevertheless.
Aug 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Incredibly inconsistent, but there were some good quotes to pull for teaching, as well as entire essays to set aside.
Mar 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
This morning I finally finished read Writers on Writing Volume II from The New York Times. That book has been part of my writing practice for a few months now, one essay at a time, and I really enjoyed it. Some essays were more fitting for where I am than others because the topics range the gamut of genres and styles, but all in all, I really enjoyed seeing the practices and thought processes of various writers.

Here are a few quotes I underlined:

So much of life falls between the seams of the sa
Apr 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2010
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 ...more
May 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is not the how-to-write manual that many beginning writers seem to be seeking. I sometimes go to book readings and I am continually amazed (and bored) by the people who cross-examine writers about how they write. If you are a frustrated writer who is hoping to find some magic formula about how it's done, this book isn't for you. If you are a writer who is looking for kindred souls, you will be blown away and feel comforted by how much the writing process of writers like William Sarayon ...more
P.M. Bradshaw
Mar 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Short blurbs, anecdotes, lessons, and stories about writing from the literary likes of Frank Conroy, Arthur Miller, Donald Westlake, David Mamet, Ann Beattie, Elmore Leonard, Margaret Atwood, Stephen Fry, Ann Patchett, Amy Tan, P.J. O’Rourke, and about 35 others.

If you like reading, this book is filled with many a gem. My favorite was Donald Westlake discussing his somewhat complicated relationship Richard Stark, the pseudonym under which he wrote his “Parker” series of novels. Interesting, int
Sep 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2009
This is short 3-4 page essays from a range of writers on the subject of writing that originally appeared in the New York Times. I get the feeling that since this is volume II the better essays were probably used in the first. There are a few good ones sprinkled in here, but also a lot of self-importance and people describing how they came up with characters that you've never heard of and could care less about.
The main idea: writing is hard and lonely work. If you are going through a bit of writ
Ellen Keim
Jan 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, writing
I love reading advice and insights from other writers as well as getting some ideas for new writers to try. This book fits the bill well. I didn't like all the essays equally well, but that's usually the case with collections of anything.
Amy Ridenour
Jul 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed the range of voices and glimpses into diverse writer's lives, including some authors I wasn't aware of.
Tim Suddeth
Dec 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing, non-fiction
Good individual essays from writers about their writing.
Becky Belisle
Oct 26, 2016 rated it did not like it
Probably the worst thing I have ever read
Elisabeth Kauffman
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent SECOND collection of essays on the craft of writing. Worth the time for anyone who is working out what it means to be a writer.
Aug 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Inspiring for the writer. A collection of essays about the process and thought that goes into this creative endeavor.
Jan 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: writers
Very insightful; gave many great pointers about the writing process; it was amusing to read about the frustrations that writers usually encounter
Jan 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
For anybody who loves to write and/or to read, these essays by noted writers about their craft are gems.
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The New York Times is a daily newspaper published in New York City and distributed internationally. Founded in 1851, the newspaper has won 112 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other news organization. Its website receives 30 million unique visitors per month.
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