The Quotable Writer: Words of Wisdom from Mark Twain, Aristotle, Oscar Wilde, Robert Frost, Erica Jong, and More

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9780071355766: The Quotable Writer: Words of Wisdom from Mark Twain, Aristotle, Oscar Wilde, Robert Frost, Erica Jong, and More

Gordon's collection of approximately 1000 quotes is divided into 53 themes including censorship, grammar, humor, ideas, inspiration, plagiarism, talent, spelling, and the writing of history. The list of quotees from publishing, journalism, poetry, fiction, and non-fiction is long, while quotes like the following dubious one from Chateaubriand, are short: "The original writer is not one who imitates nobody, but one whom nobody can imitate." Or this from Thomas Hardy: "If Galileo had said in verse that the world moved, the Inquisition would have left him alone." Quotations usually contain quotee, source title, and date. Gordon says that his book is meant to help writers by providing all kinds of practical advice about writing and publishing. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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Review:

Rare is the writer who does not have a quotation tacked up above his or her desk. Sometimes it is inspiration that a writer seeks, sometimes cajoling. At times, one needs a bit of humor; at other times, advice. "Writing is the worst part of being a writer," quips James Atlas. "We have the power to bore people long after we are dead," muses Sinclair Lewis. "Don't try to save junk just because it took you a long time to write it," warns David Eddings.

These snippets, culled from other writers' experience, provide company for the solitary scribe. Yes, you are alone, they seem to say, but, no, you are not really alone. Well, William A. Gordon's office must hum like a cocktail party. I mean, the guy must buy thumbtacks by the case. Gathered here are the 1,000 most "memorable, thought-provoking, humorous, and/or important quotations from Gordon's collection, arranged into more than 50 categories, including "critics," "humor," "inspiration," and "self-publishing." The Quotable Writer is sure to provide hours of entertainment. That is, unless you choose to heed Lillian Hellman, quoted by Gordon: "If I had to give young writers advice," she told The New York Times in 1960, "I'd say, don't listen to writers talking about writing." --Jane Steinberg

From the Back Cover:

The Quotable Writer

Words of Wisdom from Mark Twain, Aristotle, Oscar Wilde, Robert Frost, Erica Long, and more.

"The difference between the right word and the almost right word ... is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug."

­­Mark Twain

"Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamppost what it feels about dogs."

­­British playwright Christopher Hampton

"No passion on Earth, neither love nor hate, is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft."

­­H.G. Wells

"The best writing is that which doesn't call attention to itself."

­­William Appel and Denise Sterrs, The Truth About Fiction Writing

"All the fun's in how you say a thing."

­­Robert Frost

What do Aristotle, Erica Jong, and Calvin Coolidge have in common? They all had something interesting to say about writing, books, and editing. Now this wonderful compendium brings together their words and over 1000 other choice quotations on writing wisdom, wit, and lore from the great, the near-great, and the infamous. Organized into alphabetical sections from "Biography" to "Writers and Writing," The Quotable Writer is an inspirational window into the writing world for readers and new writers, a source of wry commentary to bring a smile to even the most jaded insider, and a ready sourcebook for those seeking a quote to add spice to their own speech or writing.

"If it can't be read aloud, it's no damn good."

­­John Braine, Writing a Novel

The book you hold in your hands is almost impossible not to read aloud. Witty and wise, these words from writers and others on the craft, practice, and business of writing beg to be shared.

From Herman Melville to George Orwell, from Benjamin Disraeli to Fran Leibowitz, The Quotable Writer hopscotches the centuries and callings of writers to bring you the most apt, telling, and entertaining things people have said about writing, editing, and books.

Organized into dozens of sections that include "Grammar," "Originality," "How to Get Published," and "Screenwriting," The Quotable Writer gives you not just a wealth of witty rejoinders, wise sayings, and smart remarks for almost any occasion, but also useful professional advice on the intricacies of the art, methods, and commerce of writing.

Whether you seek a great comeback, support in an argument, or a cross-section of opinion on almost all writing-related topics, this little warehouse of writing wisdom has it. You'll discover how writers regard editors, rejection, fame, and critics. You'll read what great thinkers, great writers, great editors, and other mere mortals have said about censorship, genius, irony, and insults.

From composer Max Reger's reaction to a negative review­­"I am sitting in the smallest room in my house. I have your review in front of me. Soon it will be behind me"­­to Andre Maurois' pronouncement that "in literature, as in love, we are astonished at what is chosen by others," this remarkable compendium showcases not only the range of opinion, but the variety of ways in which it's expressed.

Perfect for those who want a look into the world of the writer, those seeking spice and leavening for speech or writing of their own, and the ideal companion for writers themselves, The Quotable Writer is a rich treasure trove, one you'll enjoy mining time and again.

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