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Ninety-six alphabetically arranged author profiles include biographical information, critical commentary, and illustrations.
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These wonderfully illustrated volumes delve, at a level accessible and interesting to high-school readers, into the major works of English-language writers of many genres. Combined, the 96 writers discussed here have sold billions of books. All but a few of them are American. Fiction writers who are covered include Jean M. Auel, Arthur C. Clarke, Michael Chabon, Tom Clancy, Frank Herbert, Stephen King, Gary Paulsen, Mario Puzo, Anne Rice, J. K. Rowling, and John Updike. Nonfiction writers include Dave Barry, Bill Bryson, John Feinstein, Jon Krakauer, Frank McCourt, and David McCullough. Lynda Barry and Matt Groening are cartoonists. Billy Collins and Rita Dove are poets, while Neil Simon and August Wilson are playwrights. The genre index in volume 11 makes finer distinctions such as biographers, children's book writers, espionage writers, essayists, historians, and romance fiction writers. Other indexes list literary works; artists responsible for the artwork reproduced throughout; film and television productions; literary characters; and people, places, and events. In addition, there is a detailed index of writers.
Length and format of articles vary by writer, but the 18-page entry for Isaac Asimov will serve as an example. It begins with birth and death places and dates, a photograph, a one-phrase "identification," and a paragraph summarizing Asimov's significance. Several pages each are devoted to his life and his work, with 5 important novels or series discussed in somewhat greater detail in the "Reader's Guide to Major Works." The entry concludes with short evaluative descriptions of 4 other works and a resource section describing the Isaac Asimov Archive at Boston University and two Asimov Web sites. Sidebars cover films based on Asimov's works, highlights in Asimov's life, some inspirations behind Asimov's work, and a very selective (he wrote more than 500 books) list of books with publication dates. At least a dozen attractive photographs--of robots, Asimov himself, paintings by Andy Warhol and Rufino Tamayo, a still from the film I, Robot, etc.--enliven the entry. As with the companion sets, Great American Writers: Twentieth Century (2002) and Great World Writers: Twentieth Century (2004), the illustrations throughout are a cornucopia of delights.
There is no attempt at serious literary criticism here, just information designed to entice young adult and adult browsers to sample new writers and to learn more about their favorites. Highly recommended for high-school and public libraries. Craig Bunch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Grade 6 Up–Designed to complement Great American Writers: Twentieth Century (2002) and Great World Writers: Twentieth Century (2003, both Marshall Cavendish), this alphabetically arranged encyclopedia offers information on 96 contemporary writers, primarily British and North American, whose works tend to mine populist as well as artistic veins–usually with bestselling results. Each extensive, readable entry opens with stage-setting biographical and critical comments, then goes on in successive sections to describe the writers life and career to date, examine his or her dominant themes in a critical light, summarize and evaluate major works, and close with leads to Web-based resources of interest. Each entry also features sidebars about literary influences or other topics, as well as several sharply reproduced portraits, film stills, and works of art with meaty captions. A comprehensive index and several specialized ones fill the final volume. While it would be easy to second-guess some choices here–why, for instance, such one-hit wonders as William Gibson and William Least Heat-Moon, but not Terry Pratchett or Sue Grafton (particularly as the introduction points to the rise of the female private investigator as a major modern development)–the assortment of scriptwriters and cartoonists, humorists, nonfiction writers, and journalists who join the canonical likes of Anne Rice, John Grisham, J. K. Rowling, Douglas Adams, Jean M. Auel, P. D. James, and company add unusual scope to this resource.–John Peters, New York Public Library
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Book Description Cavendish Square, 2006. Library Binding. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110761476016