Category Archives: Writing

Posts about writing

Biographies of remarkable authors

Part of celebrating our great writers is ‘lifting the hood’ and getting an understanding of why they write.  Understanding the ‘back story’ of our favourite authors enables us to understand their motivation and their inspiration, which in turn inspires us.  Here are our recommendations of biographies and autobiographies of some pretty remarkable authors.

https-::covers.booko.info:300:birdI know why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

An autobiography like no other, Maya Angelou wrote it in seven volumes, ‘Caged Bird’ being the first.  The book covers themes such as racism, discrimination, abuse and extreme poverty but also joy, hope, achievement and celebration.  In the first volume of her autobiography, Angelou takes the reader on a journey of her childhood with her grandmother in the American south of the 1930’s.  Here, she learns the power and prejudice of the white folks of the town.  Years later, Maya learns that love of herself, the kindness of others and the inspiration of great authors could help set her free.

https-::covers.booko.info:300:bradburyThe Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury by Sam Weller

Accomplished journalist Sam Weller met Ray Bradbury while writing a cover story for the Chicago Tribune Magazine and spent hundreds of hours interviewing Bradbury, his editors, family members, and longtime friends. With unprecedented access to private archives, he uncovered never–before–published letters, documents, and photographs that help tell the story of this literary genius and his remarkable creative journey. The result is a richly textured, detailed biography that illuminates the origins and accomplishments of Bradbury’s fascinating mind.

https-::covers.booko.info:300:pimpPimp: The Story of My Life by Iceberg Slim

This is the story of Iceberg Slim’s life as he saw, felt, tasted, and smelled it. A trip through hell by the one man who lived to tell the tale. The dangers of jail, addiction, and death that are still all too familiar. By telling the story of one man’s struggles and triumphs in an underground world, Pimp shows us the game doesn’t change, it just has a different swagger.

 

 

https-::covers.booko.info:300:mythThe Brontë Myth by Lucasta Miller

I wasn’t aware of any myths surrounding the lives of Emily, Charlotte and Anne during their lifetimes but apparently there was such a fascination with them that myths (or lies) abounded!  Some examples included Charlotte being seen as a ‘sex-starved hysteric’, Emily being attracted to both sexes and there were those that denied her authorship of Wuthering Heights, attributing it to her brother Bramwell.  Sounds much like our fascination with the Hollywood stars of current day!  A great read for fans of the incredibly talented sisters.

 

https-::covers.booko.info:300:thunderboltThe Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson

In this hilarious memoir, Bryson travels back to explore the kid he once was and the weird and wonderful world of 1950s America. He modestly claims that this is a book about not very much: about being small and getting much larger slowly. But, for the rest of us, it is a laugh-out-loud book that will speak volumes – especially to anyone who has ever been young.

 

https-::covers.booko.info:300:aynMy Years with Ayn Rand by Nathaniel Branden

I wasn’t 100% sure about reading this book as anything written by an ex-lover doesn’t seem particularly….fair.  I’m not a huge fan of the kiss and tell.  I am, however, a big fan of Rand’s work (The Fountainhead in particular).  Branden is an American psychotherapist and this book charts their relationship but also details Rand’s philosophy of objectivism.  Definitely an interesting read for fans for Rand’s work and gives an interesting perspective into her private life.

 

Make sure you’re following us on Pinterest. More biographies can be found on our Pinterest board: https://au.pinterest.com/officialbooko/autobiographies-biographies/

 

So… you want to be a writer

I think just about everyone has flirted with this, haven’t they?  I still have a screenplay for a TV series floating around in my head.  I am POSITIVE it will be a huge hit, if only audiences weren’t so stuck on reality TV.  One of my friends went on so many dates in one year that I convinced her to write a book about it.  And on it goes…..

If you have some great ideas for writing, whether it’s writing a blog, a novel or a TV series like me, there is a book to help inspire you and guide you.  Some of my favourites in this list include hearing advice from some of the masters themselves.  We need to start with a book that appeared on my bookshelf when I was about 10 (odd gift for a child) but it was pretty useful during creative writing classes:

https-::covers.booko.info:300:ElementThe Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr and E.B. White

This book is an essential part of your ‘books on writing’ collection.  It contains the basics: grammar, writing in your active voice and omitting superfluous words.  This book’s unique tone, wit and charm have conveyed the principles of English style to millions of readers. Use the fourth edition of “the little book” to make a big impact with your writing.

 

 

https-::covers.booko.info:300:StephenOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Part of what makes this book so entertaining is hearing about King’s own rags-to-riches story.  Find out what books and films influenced the young writer, his first idea for a story and the true life tale that inspired Carrie. King gives an excellent masterclass on writing – how to use the tools of the trade from building characters to pace and plotting as well as practical advice on presentation.

 

 

https-::covers.booko.info:300:WritingThe Writing Life by Annie Dillard

Largely accepted to be one of the best books about writing, The Writing Life is brutal in its honesty about the difficulty of the writing process.  Dillard encourages you to carve up your most ‘perfect paragraphs’ if they don’t do their job, which is to communicate the entirety of the idea.  “This writing that you do, that so thrills you, that so rocks and exhilarates you, as if you were dancing next to the band, is barely audible to anyone else.”

 

 

https-::covers.booko.info:300:MotherMother Tongue: English and how it got that way by Bill Bryson

It’s crucial for any writer to understand their own language.  Bryson steers us through why island, freight, and colonel are spelled in such unphonetic ways, why four has a u in it but forty doesn’t, plus bizarre and enlightening facts about some of the patriarchs of this peculiar language.

 

 

 

https-::covers.booko.info:300:zenZen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

While there are plenty of books that talk to the challenges of writing, Bradbury’s enthusiasm for writing is infectious.  That’s what makes this book such enjoyable reading.  In a series of essays, Bradbury discusses his career and his compulsion to write. Nine essays discuss the joy of writing, the writing process, inspiration, creativity, and the circumstances surrounding the writing of several of his works.  “Think of Shakespeare and Melville and you think of thunder, lightning, wind.  They all knew the joy of creating in large or small forms, on unlimited or restricted canvasses. These are the children of the gods. They knew fun in their work. No matter if creation came hard here or there along the way, or what illnesses and tragedies touched their most private lives. … If you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer.”  Brilliant.

 

https-::covers.booko.info:300:HazelThe Writing Experiment by Hazel Smith

Finding inspiration to write creatively can be one of the most challenging aspects of the writing process.  Experienced writing teacher Hazel Smith demystifies the process of creative writing, providing exercises and examples to show how it can be systematically learnt.

 

 

 

More tips for aspiring writers can be found on our Pinterest board, Tips for Writers!