Bartlett Reads / Carrie / Nonfiction / Reading Lists

Bartlett Reads 2013: Write Your Life

We are celebrating the inaugural Bartlett Reads community reading event by reading the New York Times bestselling book The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband by local author David Finch. This September, the community will come together to read the book, and attend events based on the themes in the book.

Have you ever thought about writing a memoir? These books can help!

Writing Your Life by Mary Borg

To many, the task of writing about one’s life seems daunting and difficult. Where does one begin? What stories will inspire your children and grandchildren, and which will simply amuse them? “Writing Your Life: A Guide to Writing Autobiographies” breaks down the barriers of personal narrative with an easy-to-follow guide that includes thought-provoking questions, encouraging suggestions, memory-jogging activities, tips for writing, advice on publishing one’s stories in print and online, and examples of ordinary people’s writing. Writing Your Life has already helped thousands write their life stories, and this fourth edition is sure to help today’s generations preserve their memories and wisdom for many generations to come.

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up by Lee Gutkind

From rags-to-riches-to-rags tell-alls to personal health sagas to literary journalism everyone seems to want to try their hand at creative nonfiction. Now, Lee Gutkind, the go-to expert for all things creative nonfiction, taps into one of the fastest-growing genres with this new writing guide. Frank and to-the-point, with depth and clarity, Gutkind describes and illustrates each and every aspect of the genre, from defining a concept and establishing a writing process to the final product. Offering new ways of understanding genre and invaluable tools for writers to learn and experiment with, ‘You Can’t Make This Stuff Up’ allows writers of all skill levels to thoroughly expand and stylize their work.

Storycraft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction by Jack Hart

Now in Storycraft, Jack Hart, a former managing editor of the Oregonian who guided several Pulitzer Prize-winning narratives to publication, delivers what will certainly become the definitive guide to the methods and mechanics of crafting narrative nonfiction. Hart covers what writers in this genre need to know, from understanding story theory and structure, to mastering point of view and such basic elements as scene, action, and character, to drafting, revising, and editing work for publication. Revealing the stories behind the stories, Hart brings readers into the process of developing nonfiction narratives by sharing tips, anecdotes, and recommendations he forged during his decades-long career in journalism. From there, he expands the discussion to other well-known writers to show the broad range of texts, styles, genres, and media to which his advice applies. With examples that draw from magazine essays, book-length nonfiction narratives, documentaries, and radio programs, Storycraft will be an indispensable resource for years to come.

Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir by Beth Kephart

Writing memoir is a deeply personal, and consequential, undertaking. As the acclaimed author of five memoirs spanning significant turning points in her life, Beth Kephart has been both blessed and bruised by the genre. In Handling the Truth, she thinks out loud about the form–on how it gets made, on what it means to make it, on the searing language of truth, on the thin line between remembering and imagining, and, finally, on the rights of memoirists. Drawing on proven writing lessons and classic examples, on the work of her students and on her own memories of weather, landscape, color, and love, Kephart probes the wrenching and essential questions that lie at the heart of memoir. A beautifully written work in its own right, Handling the Truth is Kephart’s memoir-writing guide for those who read or seek to write the truth.

Crafting the Personal Essay: A Guide for Writing and Publishing Creative Nonfiction by Dinty W. Moore

Crafting the Personal Essay is designed to help you explore the flexibility and power of the personal essay in your own writing. This hands-on, creativity-expanding guide will help you infuse your nonfiction with honesty, personality, and energy. You’ll discover: An exploration of the basics of essay writing; Ways to step back and scrutinize your experiences in order to separate out what may be fresh, powerful, surprising or fascinating to a reader; How to move past private “journaling” and write for an audience; How to write eight different types of essays including memoir, travel, humor, and nature essays among others; and Instruction for revision and strategies for getting published. Brimming with helpful examples, exercises, and sample essays, this indispensable guide will help your personal essays transcend the merely private to become powerfully universal.

Carrie

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