Book Notes: Several Short Sentences About Writing

January 03, 2023 [books] #writing #book-notes

Book: Several Short Sentences About Writing
Author: Verlyn Klinkenborg

After putting it off for months, I finally got to this one during the winter break when I was in-between books. I am averse to pointed advice from strangers, and I will not be taking the opinions from a book written the way this strange way. So I thought. But the suggestions made sense, the prose persuasive, and I found myself taking notes. I began to wonder if I was liking it because it was appealing to my existing prejudices. I stopped then and looked up the author, Verlyn Klinkenborg, to see what his more mainstream work was like. That's when I discovered his review of Kim Stanley Robinson's The High Sierras and a few of his pieces from the New York Times. I found it more than reassuring. I am now a fan. This is someone who knows what he is talking about.

Good writing is intentional. Every word is where it is because the author has deliberately placed it there. This is one of the two high-utility takeaways — among many — from the book. The other one is instead of just obsessing over meaning of a text, you need to pay attention to the structure and literal significance of the prose. This has already started informing how I read. It is more rewarding than one would think.

This is a rare book worth reading and re-reading.


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