The 5 best books for writers

Jarrett came home from work the other day waving a new book, which one of the editors at his office said was essential reading for writers. Excuse me, I said, but we have that book already, and I could have told you all about it if I had known you wanted more reading assignments.

(I’m always telling Jarrett, “You really should read this book—you’d like it!” when I finish a book. I think his backlog of books I really, really think he should read is really, really long and really, really ignored.)

I was in such a huff that someone had beat me to recommending On Writing Well that I pulled out my yellowing copy from the shelf and forced on him a dramatic reading of my favorite quotes as we ate dinner. (I’ve learned that the best place to trap someone is at the dinner table, and I think this is a free and fair trade for all the cooking I do.)

Anyway, as Jarrett sat rapt, or maybe bored, I told him all about how, at my first job as an editorial assistant at a NYC publisher, one of the executive editors had called me into her corner office, handed me a stack of 10 books about writing, and told me to start there, but that I could come back for more soon.

I had been working as a paralegal at a law firm beforehand, so I thought it was the coolest thing ever that I got to read books about writing instead of police reports. But 10 books is no small stack, and I didn’t know where to start.

best books for writers

So consider this my starter stack for you—these are the 5 books I’d most recommend to any writer, whether an aspiring writer, an established writer, or anyone who has to write or blog for a living. These are the best books for writers; the best books to teach you how to get published; the best books to make you feel less alone and hair-pull-y all the time.

Maybe others have beat me to recommending some of these books on writing to you, but I promise not to get huffy about it, and I hope you’ll still find one or two new gems here:


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9 Books That Will Make You a Better Writer

craft writing books to make you a better writer

Today I’m over on Bustle Books, sharing a list of my favorite books on writing and publishing. I think that, all too often, aspiring authors overlook craft books, thinking that it’s more worthwhile to read within your genre and soak up the style and form of someone else’s writing.

But there’s so much more to honing your craft than reading good books. There are underlying principles to all good writing, regardless of the genre, and it can take an entire lifetime to not only identify them, but execute them well. And who the heck has that much time? Especially with all the added pressure these days for authors to network, use social media, and build platforms.

So think of these books as your shortcut to learning the ins and outs of writing. Each of them is a master class in everything from decluttering your prose, to conquering procrastination, to building a platform, to plain old staying sane.

Read the full article here to see which books I think are essential for writers!