How Fiction Works, by James Wood
From the publisher: In the tradition of E. M. Forster’s Aspects of the Novel and Milan Kundera’s The Art of the Novel, How Fiction Works is a scintillating and searching study of the main elements of fiction, such as narrative, detail, characterization, dialogue, realism, and style. In his first full-length book of criticism, one of the most prominent critics of our time takes the machinery of story-telling apart to ask a series of fundamental questions: What do we mean when we say we ‘know’ a fictional character? What constitutes a ‘telling’ detail? When is a metaphor successful? Is realism realistic? Why do most endings of novels disappoint?

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The Autobiographer’s Handbook: The 826 Valencia Guide to Writing Your Memoir
From the publisher: In The Autobiographers Handbook, you’re invited to a roundtable discussion with today’s most successful memoirists. Let Nick Hornby show you how the banal can be brilliant. Elizabeth Gilbert will teach you to turn pain into prose. Want to beat procrastination? Steve Almond has the answer. Learn about memory triggers (Ishmael Beah: music) and warm-up exercises (Jonathan Ames: internet backgammon). These writers may not always agree (on research: Tobias Wolff, yes, Frank McCourt, no) but whether you’re a blossoming writer or a veteran wordsmith, this book will help anyone who has ever dreamed of putting their story on paper, on writing themselves into existence.

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