Writing about writing about writing – on and off the shelves

I have a number of books spread over the shelves that are written by authors I have fiction books from. I don’t plan to put these to the test. I’ve previously read them and placed them on the shelves. Some of these are collected non-fiction or essays which may include writing advice. Some are writing advice books. But in common they are by authors I generally collect anyway.

I also have a large discard pile (I’ve been putting a box of books outside the house for people to help themselves. Pre-Covid I’d take a bag of books to the charity shop round the corner as soon as it was full. I think I need to do an online version of that soon)

So for a sense of completeness, I’ve listed both here. (Note that most of the discard pile have come from second-hand shops/Abebooks. When you read a writing advice book they often refer to other writing advice books and that often leads to purchases!)

On a bit of a tangent – this year my challenge to myself was to not buy any books. My TBR is massive. You’d think this was easier this year than most other years with the whole Covid thing. But I’ve allowed myself a couple of purchases of books by friends – you have to support your friends, especially right now!

You can easily see from this post that when I say I have too many writing books I’m really not exaggerating…

I don’t plan on writing anything about these books – but drop me a comment if you’d like to know something about any of them. And, as usual, if you’re an indie author or a publisher and would like me to review a writing book drop me a line.

Books spread on the shelves already

in no particular order

Orhan Pamuk – The Naive And Sentimental Novelist

Neil Gaiman – The View From The Cheap Seats

Angela Carter – Shaking A Leg

Terry Pratchett – A Slip Of The Keyboard

Virginia Wolf – A Room Of One’s Own

Ursula Le Guin – Steering The Craft (Excellent for intermediate writers, not a beginner’s book)

Ursula Le Guin – Dreams Must Explain Themselves

Jorge Luis Borges – The Craft Of Verse

Jorge Luis Borges – On Writing

Jorge Luis Borges – Total Non-Fiction Library

Jorge Luis Borges – Professor Borges

Cat Valente – Indistinguishable From Magic

Stephen King – On Writing (The classic – a memoir and writing advice. Worth reading)

George Orwell – Essays

Jeff VanderMeer – Booklife (Excellent advice for building a career as a writer)

Jeff VanderMeer – Wonderbook (If you’re a visual learner this is the writing book for you)

Jeff VanderMeer – Why Should I Cut Your Throat

Jeff VanderMeer – Monstrous Creatures

Thomas Ligotti – The Conspiracy Against The Human Race

Umberto Eco – On Literature

Umberto Eco – Six Walks In The Fiction Woods

Italo Calvino – Why Read The Classics

Italo Calvino – Six Memos To The New Millenium

Douglas Adams – The Salmon Of Doubt

Tom Bissell – Magic Hours

Alexander Chee – How To Write An Autobiographical Novel

Alan Garner – The Voice That Thunders

Javier Grillo Maxuarch – Shoot This One

Philip Pullman – Daemon Voices

Stephen Volk – Coffinmaker’s Blues

Discard Pile

Also in no particular order

Christopher Booker – The Seven Basic Plots (I can’t see myself re-reading this and it’s massive so an easy win for shelf space)

Gioia & Gwynn – The Art Of The Short Story (also massive)

Peter Selgin – 179 Ways To Save A Novel

Robie Macauley – Techniques In Fiction

John Freeman – Creative Writing

Kingsly Amis – The King’s English

Fairfax & Moate – The Way To Write

James McGreet – Before You Write Your Novel

David Marsh – For Who The Bell Tolls

Corner-Bryant & Price – On Editing

Fay Weldon – Why Will No-one Publish My Novel

Patricia Highsmith – Plotting & Writing Suspense Fiction

Joe Moran – First You Write A Sentence

Jane Smiley – 13 Ways Of Looking At A Novel (also huge so great space saver to discard)

Richard Cohen – How To Write Like Tolstoy

Jack Woodford – Trial & Error

John Yorke – Into The Woods

Gary Provost – 100 Ways To Improve Your Writing

Graves & Hodge – The Reader Over Your Shoulder

Donovan – 10 Core Practises For Better Writing

Carey – Mind The Stop (This is an excellent little book but the Gordon books on the same subject are better)

Published by suttope

Pete W Sutton is a writer and editor. His two short story collections – A Tiding of Magpies and The Museum for Forgetting – were shortlisted for Best Collection in the British Fantasy Awards in 2017 & 2022 respectively. His novel – Seven Deadly Swords – was published by Grimbold Books. He has edited several short story anthologies and is the editor for the British Fantasy Society Horizons fiction magazine.

3 thoughts on “Writing about writing about writing – on and off the shelves

  1. Addicted to 2nd hand book shops 😉 I reviewed books from 2010 to 2016 (on my former blog BRSBKBLOG) and my TBR (To Be Read) has enough books on it that if I were not to buy any books for 3 or 4 years I wouldn’t run out of unread books – and of course I buy a lot of books (except for this year) – thanks for stopping by!


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