~post by Julie
Several Short Sentences About Writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg
The writing book for the writer who’s read all the writing books. Klinkenborg is all about sentences. Make every sentence justify its existence. Let the unspoken between sentences speak for itself. This book is written in what I can best describe as free verse. There are no solid paragraphs, instead sentences whose line breaks come at Klinkenborg’s discretion. The result is a fluid reading experience that demonstrates what Klinkenborg preaches. I now keep this book on my kitchen table with three different bookmarks stuck inside to reference various passages as I work. BONUS: Get the whole gift set, including this book & other goodies.
Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
This is the book for the writer who could use a little encouragement. Natalie Goldberg’s style is pretty much the opposite of Klikenborg’s: just put your pen to your paper, set a timer and WRITE. Don’t worry about punctuation, spelling, grammar, the margins or anything but burning through to the core of what you have to say. I love moving back and forth between these two books. When I feel I’ve wasted hundreds of notebooks in vain of ever producing a single worthwhile sentence and I’m ready to give it all up, I flip through Writing Down the Bones. Goldberg saves me every time. BONUS: Pair with Goldberg’s brand new book, The True Secret of Writing.
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
Welcome to the most unpretentious book on writing you’ll ever meet. Whatever you may think of Stephen King’s novels, the truth is the man writes stories people want to read. In On Writing, he shares his life as a writer, from childhood through the accident that nearly killed him, and just a ton of straightforward, no-bullshit advice on how to sit down, shut up and write. Favorite take away from this book: while recovering from his near-fatal accident, in excruciating pain and unable to sit for more than an hour or two at a time, King pulled a chair up to his desk and wrote. Which gives me absolutely no excuse for skipping writing time to sleep in. BONUS: Pair with King’s brand new novel, Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining.
Daily Rituals: How Writers Work by Mason Currey
A book about how the pros do it. If there’s one thing I enjoy more than reading writing guides, it’s reading about the lives of writers. How many words did they write a day? How many hours spent writing? Did they write in the morning? All night? This little book collects the writing practices of a wide variety of authors, from Kafka to Faulkner to Anne Rice to Woody Allen. This is the book I want in my stocking this year (hint, hint, Secret Santa).
Wretched Writing: A Compendium of Crimes Against the English Language by Kathryn & Ross Petras
This is a great book to give to a writer who’s feeling down on her art. However bad your writing may be, Wretched Writing proves it could be so much worse! This book is a read-aloud favorite around here for its terrible sex scenes, overdone hyperboles, mixed metaphors and other examples of the English language mangled by the hands of writers who clearly have not read any Klinkenborg or King.
Elements of Style by William Strunk & E. B. White
Every writer should have this book on her shelf. Period. One cannot write a masterpiece without first understanding the basic elements of our language. The standard edition with the silver cover serves the purpose, but if you’re looking for something a bit more gift-y, you can’t go wrong with the edition illustrated by Maira Kalman
Writers should look up all the words, all the time. I bought one of these puppies with a gift card about ten years ago. It’s the best thing I’ve done for my writing (aside from sitting down and writing). BONUS: Pair with a copy of Infinite Jest. And when the recipient unwraps it, be sure to refer to it as the OED. You’ll get all the cool points.
This year we put together a few hand-selected gift sets on our website to make shopping a bit easier. Support the literary aspirations of the writer in your life with this sweet little set for scribblers. If there’s one thing a writer can’t have too many of, it’s notebooks. And pens. And insightful, inspirational books about the craft. Includes: Several Short Sentences About Writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg; Dispatches Ruled Notebook; Retro Pens
We just received a beautiful new shipment of pens from Lamy, a company in Germany. Ballpoint, Rollerball and Fountain available. We love them. They’re only available in the store right now, which you’ll appreciate once you come down and scrawl on the little display pad. They’re quite lovely and come in a range of vibrant colors. Personally, I want one of the fountain pens (SECRET SANTA!)