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Good Prose

The Art of Nonfiction

Kidder, Tracy

(Book - 2013)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Good Prose
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"Good Prose" is an inspiring book about writing--about the creation of good prose--and the record of a warm and productive literary friendship.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2013
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781400069750
1400069750
Branch Call Number: 808.02 K
Characteristics: xix, 195 p. ; 25 cm.
Additional Contributors: Todd, Richard 1949-

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Jun 29, 2013
  • ser_library rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

interesting for readers too

Feb 14, 2013
  • Cdnbookworm rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This book is not only a look at writing nonfiction, but also editing it, and the relationship between the writer and the editor. Todd is Kidder's longtime editor (40 years working together) and here they look at the same writing from both sides of it. The talk about their relationship in particular, but also about the writer-editor relationship in general.
There are chapters on different types of nonfiction writing: narrative, memoir, and essay, as well as a chapter on the issue of accuracy. With a few big publicity books getting exposed as more fictional then they made themselves out to be, this chapter was a particularly interesting one as they looked at the nuances of nonfiction, particularly memoir.
There is also a chapter on style, and the different types. They talked about the need to find your own style and to work to refine it, to individualize it. The next chapter is a more general one on the art of nonfiction, the financial side of it, and how the writer balances the two.
They also talk about being edited and about editing from both sides. Todd has written a book as well, and had Kidder look at it and give some comments, so he talked about how it felt to have things turned around from their usual relationship. This chapter also includes their personal history together.
At the end, the include a section on usage and grammar which I found very interesting. Lots of mentions both here and earlier of Fowler's Modern English Usage, a book I wasn't familiar with. I used the Canadian Guide to Modern English by Corbin, Perrin, and Buxton myself (my mother had used it in her university days as well, and I bought my own copy used when I went to university). Their point about using something to guide one to proper usage is a good one. They also give a good bibliography of writing books at the end.
A very interesting book, with insights into both writing and the author's own lives.

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