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koth's reading log



  • Write - The Guardian

    Writing a novel can be a slow, painful and lonely process. Many writers never manage to achieve their goal. This inspirational book will help you to rediscover the joy of your craft and rekindle your creative fire. Leading contemporary authors offer you support, guidance and encouragement as well as a fascinating insight into the craft of writing: Jill Dawson - getting started; Andrew Miller - creating characters; Meg Rosoff - finding your voice; DBC Pierre - convincing dialogue; Adam Foulds - description with meaning; Kate Mosse - the importance of plot; Mark Billingham - creating suspense; ML Hyland - revising and rewriting. Learn the do's and don'ts of great writing, from: Diana Athill, Margaret Atwood, Roddy Doyle, Geoff Dyer, Anne Enright, Richard Ford, Esther Freud, Neil Gaiman, David Hare, PD James, AL Kennedy, Hilary Mantel, Michael Moorcock, Andrew Motion, Joyce Carol Oates, Annie Proulx, Ian Rankin, Will Self, Helen Simpson, Colm Toibin, Rose Tremain and Jeanette Winterson.There are unique insights into the making of modern classics, by the authors themselves: Martin Amis on "Time's Arrow"; Sue Townsend on "The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole"; Susan Hill on "The Woman In Black"; AS Byatt on "Possession"; Edna O'Brien on "The Country Girls"; Hanif Kureishi on "The Buddha of Suburbia"; Iain Banks on "The Wasp Factory"; Charles Frazier on "Cold Mountain"; Andrea Levy on "Small Island"; Terry Pratchett on "Unseen Academicals"; Margaret Drabble on "The Millstone"; Mohsin Hamid on "The Reluctant Fundamentalist"; Douglas Coupland on "Generation X"; Jim Crace on "Quarantine"; Zoe Heller on "Notes On A Scandal"; Irvine Welsh on "Trainspotting"; Russell Hoban on "Ridley Walker". And a few final tips - not all entirely serious - from Blake Morrison, Charlie Brooker and Hilary Mantel.

    If you can read this, you're too close!

  • Understand Ethics - Mel Thompson

    This book is the essential introduction to the history of Western thought. Covering all the key thinkers, both ancient and modern, and all the major branches of philosophy, it will give you new insights about the world we live in. Packed full of examples and clear explanations, and with key terms defined and explained, it is ideal whether you are student looking for a quick refresher or just want to explore this fascinating topic out of personal interest.

    If you can read this, you're too close!

  • The Productive Writer: Tips & Tools to Help You Write More, Stress Less & Create Success - Sage Cohen

    Take Control of Your Writing Life
    The creative process can be treacherous, even for the most experienced writer. Facing the blank page, staying inspired, sustaining momentum, managing competing priorities and coping with rejection are just a few of the challenges writers face regularly.

    "The Productive Writer" is your guide to learning the systems, strategies and psychology that can help you transform possibilities into probabilities in your writing life.

    If you can read this, you're too close!

  • The Hammer of Darkness - L.E. Modesitt Jr.

    Martin Martel is an exile in trouble with the gods...

    'You know about the gods, Martel. The ones like Apollo who can kill with a gesture, manipulate your feelings with a song, throw thunderbolts if they feel like it...'

    Are the gods really gods? Or men and women with larger-than-life powers playing god over a planet that wasn't really a planet?

    Whatever the answer, Martin Martel must battle the gods for his life, love, and the fate of the galaxy.

    If you can read this, you're too close!

  • Father Brown Stories - G.K. Chesterton

    Immortalized in these famous stories, G. K. Chesterton's endearing amateur sleuth has entertained countless generations of readers. For, as his admirers know, Father Brown's cherubic face and unworldly simplicity, his glasses and his huge umbrella, disguise a quite uncanny understanding of the criminal mind at work. This edition includes seven tales from a number of G. K. Chesterton's "Father Brown" books.

    If you can read this, you're too close!

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  • Losing the Head of Philip K. Dick: A Bizarre But True Tale of Androids, Kill Switches and Left Luggage - David Dufty

    Probably the Strangest Story You Will Read This Year In 2005 a group of young robot designers and computer scientists dreamed up a fantastic, audacious idea: to build an android modelled on Philip K. Dick, the iconic sci-fi guru. After countless hours tinkering with fake flesh and animatronic motors and turning the writer's opus into a computer brain, the android was brought eerily to life. It would watch people as they approached, recognize their faces, answer their questions in Dick's own words. Then, things went horribly wrong. A roboticist on his way to Google HQ for a special presentation left the android's head on a flight to Las Vegas. The head of Philip K. Dick was lost. In a story that could have been lifted from one of Philip K. Dick s celebrated novels, which have been made into such films as Blade Runner, Total Recall, and The Adjustment Bureau, David Dufty brings to light the incredible but true events surrounding the android s creation and disappearance. Along the way, he explores how the science of robotic resurrection will soon meet our very real future.

    If you can read this, you're too close!

  • How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One - Stanley Fish

    Some appreciate fine art; others appreciate fine wines. Stanley Fish appreciates fine sentences. The New York Times columnist and world-class professor has long been an aficionado of language. Like a seasoned sportscaster, Fish marvels at the adeptness of finely crafted sentences and breaks them down into digestible morsels, giving readers an instant play-by-play.

    In this entertaining and erudite gem, Fish offers both sentence craft and sentence pleasure, skills invaluable to any writer (or reader). How to Write a Sentence is both a spirited love letter to the written word and a key to understanding how great writing works; it is a book that will stand the test of time.

    If you can read this, you're too close!

  • Altar of Bones - Philip Carter

    Siberia 1939. Lena Orlova plans a daring escape from a grim Soviet gulag to the one place in Russia's icy wilderness she knows is safe: a cave concealing the legendary Altar of Bones.
    San Francisco, Present Day. Zoe Dmitroff discovers that she is the last in a line of women who have been entrusted with a secret so great many have died preserving it.


    Propelled into a dangerous quest to discover exactly what she was born to protect, Zoe is soon running for her life from those wanting to harness the Altar's powers. Only ex-Special Ops soldier Ry O'Malley can help her survive, but with time running out and the web closing in , Zoe has a devastating choice to make.


    The ultimate thriller of our time, Altar of Bones spans the generations, crosses continents and unearths the dark secret behind one of the world's biggest unsolved conspiracies.

    If you can read this, you're too close!

  • Reading Like A Writer - Francine Prose

    Long before there were creative writing workshops and degrees, how did aspiring writers learn to write? By reading the work of their predecessors and contemporaries, says Francine Prose.

    In READING LIKE A WRITER, Prose invites you to sit by her side and take a guided tour of the tools and the tricks of the masters. She reads the work of the very best writers––Dostoyevsky, Flaubert, Kafka, Austen, Dickens, Woolf, Chekhov––and discovers why these writers endure. She takes pleasure in the long and magnificent sentences of Philip Roth and the breath–taking paragraphs of Isaac Babel; she is deeply moved by the brilliant characterization in George Eliot's MIDDLEMARCH. She looks to John Le Carré for a lesson in how to advance plot through dialogue, to Flannery O'Connor for the cunning use of the telling detail, and to James Joyce and Katherine Mansfield who offer clever examples of how to employ gesture to create character. She cautions readers to slow down and pay attention to words, the raw material out of which literature is crafted. Written with passion, humor, and wisdom, READING LIKE A WRITER will inspire readers to return to literature with a fresh eye and an eager heart.

    If you can read this, you're too close!

  • Thinking of Answers: Questions in the Philosophy of Everyday Life - A.C Grayling

    In his acclaimed columns in the London "Times "and "Prospect," A. C. Grayling often responds to provocative questions posed by editors and readers. These questions serve as the basis for the essays in "Thinking of Answers," among them searching examinations of the following:

    · Are human beings especially prone to self-deception?
    · If beauty existed only in the eye of the beholder, would that make it an unimportant quality?
    · Are human rights political?
    · Can ethics be derived from evolution by natural selection?
    · If both sides in a conflict passionately believe theirs is a just cause, does this mean the idea of justice is empty?
    · Does being happy make us good? And does being good make us happy?

    As in his previous books on philosophy for the general public, including "Meditations for the Humanist "and "Life, Sex and Ideas," rather than presenting a set of categorical answers, Grayling offers suggestions for how to think about every aspect of the question at hand and arrive at one's own conclusion. Nobody can read "Thinking of Answers "without being fully engaged, for Grayling challenges with his intellect and inspires with his humanity.

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  • How on earth are you reading books every 2-3 days?

  • corblimey wrote: »
    How on earth are you reading books every 2-3 days?

    Don't watch much TV :)

    If you can read this, you're too close!

  • Plot Versus Character: A Balanced Approach to Writing Great Fiction - Jeff Gerke

    What's more important to a story: a gripping plot or compelling characters? Literary-minded novelists argue in favor of character-based novels while commercial novelists argue in favor of plot-based stories, but the truth of the matter is this: The best fiction is rich in both.
    Enter "Plot Versus Character." This hands-on guide to creating a well-rounded novel embraces both of these crucial story components. You'll learn to:

    Create layered characters by considering personality traits, natural attributes, and backgrounds
    Develop your character's emotional journey and tie it to your plot's inciting incident
    Construct a three-act story structure that can complement and sustain your character arc
    Expose character backstory in a manner that accentuates plot points
    Seamlessly intertwine plot and character to create a compelling page-turner filled with characters to whom readers can't help but relate
    And much more

    Filled with helpful examples and friendly instruction, "Plot Versus Character" takes the guesswork out of creating great fiction by giving you the tools you need to inject life into your characters and momentum into your plots.

    If you can read this, you're too close!

  • The Girl Who Would Be King - Kelly Thompson

    Separated by thousands of miles, two young women are about to realize their extraordinary powers which will bind their lives together in ways they can't begin to understand.

    Protecting others. Maintaining order. Being good. These are all important things for Bonnie Braverman, even if she doesn't understand why. Confined to a group home since she survived the car accident that killed both her parents, Bonnie has lived her life until now in self-imposed isolation and silence; but when an opportunity presents itself to help another girl in need, Bonnie has to decide whether to actually use the power she has long suspected she has. Power that frightens her.

    Across the country, Lola LeFever is inheriting her own power by sending her mother over a cliff...literally. For Lola the only thing that matters is power; getting it, taking it, and eliminating anyone who would get in the way of her pursuit of it. With her mother dead and nothing to hold her back from the world any longer, Lola sets off to test her own powers on anyone unfortunate enough to cross her. And Lola's not afraid of anything.

    One girl driven to rescue, save, and heal; the other driven to punish, destroy, and kill.

    And now they're about to meet.

    If you can read this, you're too close!

  • Hey Rube: Blood Sport, the Bush Doctrine & the Downward Spiral of Dumbness - Hunter S. Thompson

    Insightful, incendiary, outrageously brilliant, such was the man who galvanized American journalism with his radical ideas and gonzo tactics. For over half a century, Hunter S. Thompson devastated his readers with his acerbic wit and uncanny grasp of politics and history. His reign as "The Unabomber of contemporary letters" (Time) is more legendary than ever with Hey Rube. Fear, greed, and action abound in this hilarious, thought-provoking compilation as Thompson doles out searing indictments and uproarious rants while providing commentary on politics, sex, and sports -- at times all in the same column.

    With an enlightening foreword by ESPN executive editor John Walsh, critics' favorites, and never-before-published columns, Hey Rube follows Thompson through the beginning of the new century, revealing his queasiness over the 2000 election ("rigged and fixed from the start"); his take on professional sports (to improve Major League Baseball "eliminate the pitcher"); and his myriad controversial opinions and brutally honest observations on issues plaguing America -- including the Bush administration and the inequities within the American judicial system.

    Hey Rube gives us a lasting look at the gonzo journalist in his most organic form -- unbridled, astute, and irreverent.

    If you can read this, you're too close!

  • corblimey wrote: »
    How on earth are you reading books every 2-3 days?

    Lol, that's exactly what I was thinking looking at this list! I was reading it thinking "(Cor blimey!) How the hell can anyone read this many books over the course of a month?"

    Even if I read from 7.30 to 10.00 every night there is no way I could read as fast as you do koth!

    Have you done a speed reading course or can you recommend a book? Also in terms of the books on writing, I assume you are writing? Is speed reading these books a good idea? How do you take notes?

  • Lol, that's exactly what I was thinking looking at this list! I was reading it thinking "(Cor blimey!) How the hell can anyone read this many books over the course of a month?"

    Even if I read from 7.30 to 10.00 every night there is no way I could read as fast as you do koth!

    Have you done a speed reading course or can you recommend a book? Also in terms of the books on writing, I assume you are writing? Is speed reading these books a good idea? How do you take notes?

    I'd say it's closer to 4-5 days to read a book, presuming a minimum of 300 pages in a book and not greater than 600. It takes me about an hour to do about 80 pages in most books.

    I haven't done any speed reading courses. Just picked up a book in the local bookstore called How to be a Super reader. It helps improve speed, memory and comprehension.

    The writing books generally aren't very technical, so they generally are easy enough to take general notes on. But there are one or two books that I'm dipping in and out of that don't lend themselves to speed reading as they require the reader to do plenty of writing exercises, so naturally those ones will take more time to get through.

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  • Bad Pharma - Ben Goldacre

    ‘Bad Science’ hilariously exposed the tricks that quacks and journalists use to distort science, becoming a 400,000 copy bestseller. Now Ben Goldacre puts the $600bn global pharmaceutical industry under the microscope. What he reveals is a fascinating, terrifying mess.

    Doctors and patients need good scientific evidence to make informed decisions. But instead, companies run bad trials on their own drugs, which distort and exaggerate the benefits by design. When these trials produce unflattering results, the data is simply buried. All of this is perfectly legal. In fact, even government regulators withhold vitally important data from the people who need it most. Doctors and patient groups have stood by too, and failed to protect us. Instead, they take money and favours, in a world so fractured that medics and nurses are now educated by the drugs industry.

    Patients are harmed in huge numbers.

    Ben Goldacre is Britain’s finest writer on the science behind medicine, and ‘Bad Pharma’ is a clear and witty attack, showing exactly how the science has been distorted, how our systems have been broken, and how easy it would be to fix them.

    If you can read this, you're too close!

  • Monkeys with Typewriters: How to Write Fiction and Unlock the Secret Power of Stories - Scarlett Thomas

    Exploring how fiction works, this manual shows you how you can learn to understand it well enough to crack open any fictional narrative, and, if you like, start creating your own. Have you ever had your heart broken, or broken someone else's heart? Have you ever won an argument but later realized you were wrong? Have you ever tripped in public or spilled wine on someone else's carpet? Have you ever tried to help someone who didn't want to be helped—or even someone who did? Have you ever been in trouble, big or small? Have you ever felt trapped? Have you ever gossiped, felt bad about it, and then found that you've been the subject of gossip yourself? Have you ever basically felt like a chimp in a pair of jeans, caught up in endless drama and with no idea of how the universe works? This is an ode to secret power of stories, and a guide to cracking those powers open.

    If you can read this, you're too close!

  • How was Bad Pharma?:)

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  • Jernal wrote: »
    How was Bad Pharma?:)
    I found it really interesting. A little tough at times as I don't have scientific/medical training. But it was definitely surprised at some of the misdirection that goes on in medical trials.

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  • Now and Then: The Poems of Gil Scott-Heron - Gil Scott-Heron

    One glance at Now and Then and it becomes evident that this is not merely a collection of a songwriter's lyrics. The song-poems of this undisputed "bluesologist" triumphantly stand on their own, evoking the rhythm and urgency which have distinguished Gil Scott-Heron's career. This, the first ever collection of his poems to be published in Britain, carries the reader from the global topics of political hypocrisy and the dangers posed by capitalist culture to painfully personal themes and the realities of modern day life. His message is black, political, historically accurate, urgent, uncompromising and mature and as relevant now as it was when he started, back in the early seventies.

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  • Hellboy - Odder Jobs - Various authors

    As part of the ongoing Dark Horse celebration of Hellboy in 2004, Christopher Golden (author of the Hellboy novels The Lost Army and The Bones of Giants) has brought together a stellar array of talents to further the Hellboy canon. Lavishly illustrated by creator Mike Mignola!
    Introduction / Frank Darabont;
    * The Brotherhood of the Gun / Frank Darabont;
    * From an Enchanter Fleeing / Peter Crowther;
    * Down in the Flood / Scott Allie;
    * Newford Spook Squad / Charles de Lint;
    * Water Music / David J. Schow;
    * The Vampire Brief / James L. Cambias;
    * Unfinished Business / Ed Gorman, Richard Dean Starr;
    * Saint Hellboy / Tom Piccirilli;
    * Sleepless in Manhattan / Nancy Kilpatrick;
    * The Wish Hounds / Sharyn McCrumb;
    * Act of Mercy / Thomas E. Sniegoski;
    * The Thrice-named Hill / Graham Joyce;
    * Of Blood, of Clay / James A. Moore;
    * A Full and Satisfying Life / Ray Garton;
    * The Glass Road / Tim Lebbon;
    * Tasty Teeth / Guillermo del Toro, Matthew Robbins

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  • Chapter After Chapter - Heather Sellers

    Writing a Book is a Journey--don't get lost along the wayWriting a book requires a focus, a sense of knowing and trusting in yourself and your work. And it requires an unflinching commitment to staying the course. "Chapter After Chapter" shows you how to build on your good writing habits, accrue and recognize tiny successes, and turn your dedication to the craft into the book you always knew you could write if you could just stay with it.

    Heather Sellers, author of "Page After Page," draws on her first-hand experience as a novelist, poet, memoirist, and children's book author to help you prepare for whatever roadblocks you might encounter while writing the book of your dreams. You'll discover how to celebrate the momentum of slow and steady, stay in love with your book project through soggy middles and long revisions, and embrace the nakedness that is creative expression.

    And you'll realize you've got exactly what it takes to write your book!

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  • Seven Deadly Sins - Corey Taylor

    'I was 22 years old, a hard-on with a pulse: wretched, vice-ridden, too much to burn and not enough minutes in a hour to do so'

    The action begins in West Des Moines, Iowa, where Corey Taylor, frontman of heavy metal bands Slipknot and Stone Sour, systematically set about committing each of the Seven Deadly Sins. He has picked fights with douche bags openly brandishing guns. He has set himself on fire at parties and woken up in dumpsters after cocaine binges. He lost his virginity at eleven. He got rich and famous and immersed himself in booze, women, and chaos until one day he realised, suddenly, that he didn't need any of that at all.

    Now updated with a brand new chapter, Seven Deadly Sins is a brutally honest look at 'a life that could have gone horribly wrong at any turn', and the soul-searching and self-discovery it took to set it right.

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  • Make Good Art - Neil Gaiman

    In May 2012, bestselling author Neil Gaiman delivered the commencement address at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, in which he shared his thoughts about creativity, bravery, and strength. He encouraged the fledgling painters, musicians, writers, and dreamers to break rules and think outside the box. Most of all, he urged them to make good art.

    The book Make Good Art, designed by renowned graphic artist Chip Kidd, contains the full text of Gaiman’s inspiring speech.

    Video available here:

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  • How to Be a Writer: Building Your Creative Skills Through Practice and Play - Barbara Baig
    Athletes practice. Musicians practice. As a writer you need to do the same. Whether you have dreams of writing a novel or a memoir or a collection of poems, or you simply want to improve your everyday writing, this innovative book will show you how to build your skills by way of practice.

    Through playful and purposeful exercises, you'll develop your natural aptitude for communication, strengthening your ability to come up with things to say, and your ability to get those things into the minds (and the hearts) of readers. You'll learn to: Train and develop your writer's powers--creativity, memory, observation, imagination, curiosity, and the subconsciousUnderstand the true nature of the relationship between you and your readersFind your writer's voiceGet required writing projects done so you have more time for the writing you "want" to doAnd much more Empowering and down-to-earth, "How to Be a Writer" gives you the tools you need, and tells you what (and how) to practice so that you can become the writer you want to be.

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  • Folk Art - Tamara Tjardes

    Another addition to "The World's Greatest Art" series, this intriguing new book covers the folk art of South and North America and aboriginal traditions. The influences section also refers to the many folk traditions throughout the world and offers an intriguing insight into tribal, early and contemporary folk art.

    If you can read this, you're too close!

  • How Not to Write a Novel: 200 Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs If You Ever Want to Get Published - Howard Mittelmark & Sandra Newman

    "What do you think of my fiction book writing?" the aspiring novelist extorted.

    "Darn," the editor hectored, in turn. "I can not publish your novel! It is full of what we in the business call 'really awful writing.'"

    "But how shall I absolve this dilemma? I have already read every tome available on how to write well and get published!" The writer tossed his head about, wildly.

    "It might help," opined the blonde editor, helpfully, "to ponder how NOT to write a novel, so you might avoid the very thing!"

    Many writing books offer sound advice on how to write well. This is not one of those books. On the contrary, this is a collection of terrible, awkward, and laughably unreadable excerpts that will teach you what to avoid--at all costs--if you ever want your novel published.

    In "How Not to Write a Novel," authors Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman distill their 30 years combined experience in teaching, editing, writing, and reviewing fiction to bring you real advice from the other side of the query letter. Rather than telling you how or what to write, they identify the 200 most common mistakes unconsciously made by writers and teach you to recognize, avoid, and amend them. With hilarious "mis-examples" to demonstrate each manuscript-mangling error, they'll help you troubleshoot your beginnings and endings, bad guys, love interests, style, jokes, perspective, voice, and more. As funny as it is useful, this essential how-NOT-to guide will help you get your manuscript out of the slush pile and into the bookstore.

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  • The Poet- - Michael Connelly

    Jack McEvoy is a Denver crime reporter with the stickiest assignment of his career. His twin brother, homicide detective Sean McEvoy, was found dead in his car from a self-inflicted bullet wound to the head--an Edgar Allen Poe quote smeared on the windshield. Jack is going to write the story. The problem is that Jack doesn't believe that his brother killed himself, and the more information he uncovers, the more it looks like Sean's death was the work of a serial killer. Jack's research turns up similar cases in cities across the country, and within days, he's sucked into an intense FBI investigation of an Internet pedophile who may also be a cop killer nicknamed the Poet. It's only a matter of time before the Poet kills again, and as Jack and the FBI team struggle to stay ahead of him, the killer moves in, dangerously close.

    In a break from his Harry Bosch novels--including The Concrete Blonde and The Last Coyote--Edgar-winning novelist Michael Connelly creates a new hero who is a lot greener but no less believable. The Poet will keep readers holding their breath until the very end: the characters are multilayered, the plot compelling, and the denouement a true surprise. Connelly fans will not be disappointed. --Mara Friedman

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