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review 2016-02-07 00:00
The Art of X-Ray Reading
The Art of X-Ray Reading - Roy Peter Cla... The Art of X-Ray Reading - Roy Peter Clark I’m a voracious reader, but this book made me feel like I’ve never truly read a book. I mean that in the most complimentary way. I didn’t realize how much I was missing when I read, until I read this book. It’s a very eye-opening experience that lead to many aha moments and a ton of "OMG, I can't believe I missed that!" moments.

Each chapter focuses on a specific work and at the end of each chapter is a writing lesson. These lessons are the key elements that the reader should take away from that chapter. At the end of the book is a section called “Great Sentences From Famous Authors” and this is a chance to practice your new x-ray reading skills. Following this exercise are the “Twelve Steps to Get Started As An X-Ray Reader” which is a good reference to help new x-ray readers begin reading on a whole new level.

Out of the 25 works mentioned in this book, I’ve only read about half of them. Now that I have a new pair of x-ray reading glasses on, I want to reread these (as well as some of the others) with fresh eyes. I love The Great Gatsby, but wow, did I miss a lot! I missed the themes and symbolism, especially. I’m a Charles Dickens fan and I read Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, but somehow I missed her parallel to A Christmas Carol. How in the world did I miss that? (I knew the concept of intertextuality, but I didn’t know that’s what it was called.) I love it when I notice it in literature, but I’m sure there are many times when it slips by me unnoticed.

One of the most eye-opening experiences was the chapter about Hemingway. Although I never read A Farewell to Arms, I did read The Sun Also Rises. I was very disappointed in it, so I gave it a low two-star rating. I noticed it received a lot of high ratings and I couldn’t understand why. I wasn’t fond of his terse prose and Hemingway fans are always saying that if you don’t like Hemingway, then you don’t understand him. I thought they were just being pretentious snobs, but after reading The Art of X-Ray Reading, I realize that I truly didn’t understand Hemingway. I missed his rhythm and his intentional repetition and omission of words. I was too busy reading on the level of the story that I wasn’t reading it on the level of the text.

This is one of those books that you’ll not only want to add to your home library, especially aspiring writers, but also a book that you’ll want to read more than once. I checked this book out at my local library, but I already know that I’ll be buying it, rereading it and write in it. I want to absorb everything Roy Peter Clark teaches in this book (and his other books) and internalize it completely. I highly recommend this book to avid readers and aspiring writers.
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review 2013-10-15 18:02
Review: How to Write Short by Roy Peter Clark
How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times - Roy Peter Clark

Initial reaction: Great read. I was impressed with the way Clark broke down the advantages to writing short and taking inspiration from shorter forms of text in order to improve one's writing. Some of these cues I've already incorporated in my own writing without realizing it, but it also gave me pointers as to how to think better using those skills.

Full review:

I'll admit that I haven't read that many guides to economizing writing in the contemporary spectrum, but Roy Peter Clark does a fine job of giving great pointers on how to do so in "How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times." In the narrative, he explains just how our society is full of fast writing - from Twitter, to song lyrics and poetry, to status updates and quick notes. He explains that knowing how to utilize measures of quick writing can actually help improve your writing in general, and uses the narrative to explain the whys and hows of doing this.

I'll admit much of this I knew from my own writing style, because of a love for poetry and music, but he does a great job of walking through each of the different facets of writing short and how it is useful. He also shows how people can be inspired by short writing and provides tips at the end of each chapter on how to put it into practice. I would rank it among my favorite guides, much like my read of his "Help for Writers", to writing and would highly recommend it.

Overall score: 4/5 stars

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Little, Brown and Company.

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text 2013-10-14 17:00
Currently working on the reviews for... 10/14/2013
William Gibson - Gary Westfahl
Sins & Needles - Karina Halle
All of You - Christina Lee
Out of Play - Nyrae Dawn,Jolene Perry
Japanese Animation: East Asian Perspectives -
How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times - Roy Peter Clark
"You Can Tell Just By Looking": And 20 Other Myths about LGBT Life and People - Michael Bronski,Ann Pellegrini,Michael Amico
Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do - Meredith Maran

This is more for my own personal notes, but I'm currently crafting reviews for the following books above for this week.  Some of these are carrying over from where I didn't get to them last week, so I'm prioritizing those first.

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review 2013-10-07 00:00
How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times
How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times - Roy Peter Clark Initial reaction: Great read. I was impressed with the way Clark broke down the advantages to writing short and taking inspiration from shorter forms of text in order to improve one's writing. Some of these cues I've already incorporated in my own writing without realizing it, but it also gave me pointers as to how to think better using those skills.

Full review:

I'll admit that I haven't read that many guides to economizing writing in the contemporary spectrum, but Roy Peter Clark does a fine job of giving great pointers on how to do so in "How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times." In the narrative, he explains just how our society is full of fast writing - from Twitter, to song lyrics and poetry, to status updates and quick notes. He explains that knowing how to utilize measures of quick writing can actually help improve your writing in general, and uses the narrative to explain the whys and hows of doing this.

I'll admit much of this I knew from my own writing style, because of a love for poetry and music, but he does a great job of walking through each of the different facets of writing short and how it is useful. He also shows how people can be inspired by short writing and provides tips at the end of each chapter on how to put it into practice. I would rank it among my favorite guides, much like my read of his "Help for Writers", to writing and would highly recommend it.

Overall score: 4/5 stars

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Little, Brown and Company.
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text 2013-09-30 22:58
Upcoming Reading List - 9/30/13
From Where I Stand - Robert Zimmermann
A Study in Silks - Emma Jane Holloway
How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times - Roy Peter Clark
On Every Street (The Artists Trilogy, #0.5) - Karina Halle
Japanese Animation: East Asian Perspectives -
Animated Life: A Lifetime of tips, tricks, techniques and stories from an animation Legend (Animation Masters Title) - Floyd Norman
The Road to Her - K.E. Payne
Steelheart - Brandon Sanderson
Shooting Scars - 'Karina Halle'
Tear You Apart - Megan Hart

Because I want to let you guys know what I'm planning to read in the upcoming week, and because the cover flow on the BookLikes panel is so nifty. I might do other features like this on BL in the future, just not sure how often it will be.  No particular order to these, I'll post up to 10 titles, though I'm not sure if I'll be able to read all of these this week (I average reading a book a day, but sometimes it's more or less depending on how much time I have and the length of the book.)

 

Oh, and I won my first two BookLikes Giveaways today.  One of the books I'm reading this week is the one I won (I'll have to wait for the other in the mail.)  Yay! =)

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