Archive for February, 2013

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

On WritingOn Writing by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Stephen King starts On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft with snapshots of his life growing up and how it related to making him the writer he is today. On Writing is not told as your typical How-To book, it’s not full of exercises or speech on how your dream of becoming a writer will happen with ease. Stephen tells a story about writing and what it takes to become a writer. He explains what skills you will need to have in your “tool box” and gives you ways to get and ways sharpen those tools to give you the best possible chance to become a good writer. He also gives examples on how to get an agent and how to get your work published. One of the most interesting parts of the book for me was the section on editing your work and improving the flow of the story. His most important advice in the book is that if you want to be a good writer “YOU MUST READ A LOT AND YOU MUST WRITE A LOT!”

By the time I got done reading this book I had a real sense of how much work and dedication it takes to become a writer. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to become a writer.

I’m more than a little embarrassed to admit this, but this is the first book I have read by Stephen King, although, I have enjoyed many of the movies that have been based on his books. However, I am confident that by the end of the year On Writing will not be the only book I have read by Mr. King.

Personally I have never had a desire to become a writer though I have taken a couple writing classes (for fun) and I also participated in National Novel Writing Month in 2012 (and succeeded in writing a book in the month of November). NaNo was also something I did for fun, though it was less fun but more satisfying than I thought it would be. NaNo is something else I would recommend to everyone, wannabe writer or not.

After reading On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft I have a realistic view of what it takes to become a writer (if I wanted to). So I give a tip of my hat to Stephen and to all the other writers out there that write the books that transports me to all those wonderful (and horrible) places.

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Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern

Sh*t My Dad SaysSh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I can’t remember where I heard about this book. However it sounded interesting to me. It’s about a guy who, at age 28, moves back in with his parents. While living with his parents he starts sharing, on social media, some of the things his dad says. The quotes he shares becomes so popular that he is asked to write a book. From the little bit I knew, or thought I knew about the book, I thought it was going to be a “grumpy old man” type thing. Since I aspire to one day becoming a grumpy old man, I thought this would be a great read. That’s not quite how the book came across to me.

When I finished the book I was left with mixed feelings about it. The book has a lot of quotes from the dad mixed in with stories of the interactions between the dad and son throughout their lives. To be honest I found a few of the stories funny and found myself laughing out loud at several of the quotes. To me personally the book felt like the son is a bit passive aggressive towards his dad. On one hand it really shows the dad as a good man who loves his son. On the other hand it looks like the dad is a man that wasn’t capable of talking to his son, at any age, without inserting the word F*ck or g*d damn into every sentence. Since I don’t have the book in front of me (as I write this review) I’ll have to paraphrase an example: as a child playing hide and seek, hiding under his dad’s desk, his dad’s quote was something like “Go the f*ck away I’m doing stuff.” Coming from a grumpy old man to his 28 year old son this could be funny. But coming from a father to his young child … not so much.

Even though this book gave me a few laughs in places, overall, I found it to be a waste of time. Good thing this is a short book and didn’t waste much time. Most people could finish this in a single sitting.

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