The Loft Bookshelf - Books on the Craft Recommended for Students
Featured Items
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Bird by Bird
Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Paperback      ISBN: 0385480016

For a quarter century, more than a million readers--scribes and scribblers of all ages and abilities--have been inspired by Anne Lamott's hilarious, big-hearted, homespun advice. Advice that begins with the simple words of wisdom passed down from Anne's father--also a writer--in the iconic passage that gives the book its title:

"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'"

An essential volume for generations of writers young and old, Bird by Bird is a modern classic. This twenty-fifth anniversary edition will continue to spark creative minds for years to come.
The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot
The Art of Subtext
Beyond Plot
Paperback      ISBN: 1555974732

Charles Baxter inaugurates The Art of, a new series on the craft of writing, with the wit and intelligence he brought to his celebrated book Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction.

Fiction writer and essayist Charles Baxter's The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot discusses and illustrates the hidden subtextual overtones and undertones in fictional works haunted by the unspoken, the suppressed, and the secreted. Using an array of examples from Melville and Dostoyevsky to contemporary writers Paula Fox, Edward P. Jones, and Lorrie Moore, Baxter explains how fiction writers create those visible and invisible details, how what is displayed evokes what is not displayed.

The Art of Subtext is part of The Art of series, a new line of books by important authors on the craft of writing, edited by Charles Baxter. Each book examines a singular, but often assumed or neglected, issue facing the contemporary writer of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. The Art of series means to restore the art of criticism while illuminating the art of writing.
In Short: A Collection of Brief Creative Nonfiction
In Short
A Collection of Brief Creative Nonfiction
Paperback      ISBN: 0393314928

Something is going on out there. Almost simultaneously, many of our finest writers are experimenting with a new nonfiction form: brief pieces that are literary and personal rather than informational, complete in themselves, and short--very short. Although the form has not had a name until now, the writers who are attracted to it include the known--Tim O'Brien, Barry Lopez, Terry Tempest Williams, Michael Ondaatje--as well as just-discovered voices in the field of creative nonfiction, a genre that is transforming the essay.

Delights and surprises await the reader in this rich gathering of Shorts. From Diane Ackerman's fascination with hummingbirds, to Andrei Codrescu's idiosyncratic view of nostalgia, to Albert Goldbarth's free-wheeling riff on the universe, each Short--ranging from several paragraphs to 2,000 words--becomes a sharply focused lens on an outer world or an inner sensibility.

In Short, reflecting almost every way in which nonfiction can be written, is for all readers (and writers) who thrive on imaginative play and aesthetic satisfaction. Pick up this book; open it up. See if you can resist it.

Bryson's Dictionary for Writers and Editors
Bryson's Dictionary for Writers and Editors
Paperback      ISBN: 0767922700

From one of America's most beloved and bestselling authors, a wonderfully useful and readable guide to the problems of the English language most commonly encountered by editors and writers.

What is the difference between "immanent" and "imminent"? What is the singular form of graffiti? What is the difference between "acute" and "chronic"? What is the former name of "Moldova"? What is the difference between a cardinal number and an ordinal number? One of the English language's most skilled writers answers these and many other questions and guides us all toward precise, mistake-free usage. Covering spelling, capitalization, plurals, hyphens, abbreviations, and foreign names and phrases, Bryson's Dictionary for Writers and Editors will be an indispensable companion for all who care enough about our language not to maul, misuse, or contort it.

This dictionary is an essential guide to the wonderfully disordered thing that is the English language. As Bill Bryson notes, it will provide you with "the answers to all those points of written usage that you kind of know or ought to know but can't quite remember."
Growing Up White: A Veteran Teacher Reflects on Racism
Growing Up White
A Veteran Teacher Reflects on Racism
Hardcover      ISBN: 1578868378

Growing Up White is for everyone who wants to know more about our schools, our community, our country, and ourselves. Julie Landsman takes the reader on an inventory of her life, pulling from events and scenes, a set of lessons learned. She discloses honestly and unflinchingly the privileges she has experienced as a white person and connects those to her presence in city classrooms where she taught for over 25 years. As a teacher Julie made mistakes, learned from them, made more and concludes that understanding race in America is an ongoing process. Her book is rich with suggestions for working in our schools today, where we find a primarily white teaching force and an expanding population of students of color. She believes that these students make our schools rich and exciting places in which to work. Landsman also believes that white teachers can reach their students in deep and positive ways. Because she invites you to go along with her in revealing the basis of her upbringing and her choices, the story itself is engaging. Readers arrive at the final chapters with an appreciation not only for the complexity of our history as individuals around race, gender and class but with real hope in education as a way to create a place where all children get a fair chance at success. Julie can be reached at jlandsman@goldengate.net.

The Spooky Art: Thoughts on Writing
The Spooky Art
Thoughts on Writing
Paperback      ISBN: 0812971280

"Writing is spooky," according to Norman Mailer. "There is no routine of an office to keep you going, only the blank page each morning, and you never know where your words are coming from, those divine words." In The Spooky Art, Mailer discusses with signature candor the rewards and trials of the writing life, and recommends the tools to navigate it. Addressing the reader in a conversational tone, he draws on the best of more than fifty years of his own criticism, advice, and detailed observations about the writer's craft.

Praise for The Spooky Art

"The Spooky Art shows Mailer's brave willingness to take on demanding forms and daunting issues. . . . He has been a thoughtful and stylish witness to the best and worst of the American century."--The Boston Globe

"At his best--as artists should be judged--Mailer is indispensable, an American treasure. There is enough of his best in this book for it to be welcomed with gratitude."--The Washington Post

" The Spooky Art] should nourish and inform--as well as entertain--almost any serious reader of the novel."--Baltimore Sun

"The richest book ever written about the writer's subconscious."--The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Striking . . . entrancingly frank."--Entertainment Weekly

Praise for Norman Mailer

" Norman Mailer] loomed over American letters longer and larger than any other writer of his generation."--The New York Times

"A writer of the greatest and most reckless talent."--The New Yorker

"A devastatingly alive and original creative mind."--Life

"Mailer is fierce, courageous, and reckless and nearly everything he writes has sections of headlong brilliance."--The New York Review of Books

"The largest mind and imagination in modern] American literature . . . Unlike just about every American writer since Henry James, Mailer has managed to grow and become richer in wisdom with each new book."--Chicago Tribune

"Mailer is a master of his craft. His language carries you through the story like a leaf on a stream."--The Cincinnati Post
The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation Into the Writing Life
The Right to Write
An Invitation and Initiation Into the Writing Life
Paperback      ISBN: 1585420093

What if everything we have been taught about learning to write was wrong? In The Right to Write, Julia Cameron's most revolutionary book, the author of the bestselling self-help guide The Artist's Way, asserts that conventional writing wisdom would have you believe in a false doctrine that stifles creativity. With the techniques and anecdotes in The Right to Write, readers learn to make writing a natural, intensely personal part of life. Cameron's instruction and examples include the details of the writing processes she uses to create her own bestselling books. She makes writing a playful and realistic as well as a reflective event. Anyone jumping into the writing life for the first time and those already living it will discover the art of writing is never the same after reading The Right to Write.

A Writer's Time: Making the Time to Write
A Writer's Time
Making the Time to Write
Paperback      ISBN: 0393312631

This book, based on his writing seminars, research into dreams and creativity, and film development, is, as the New York Times states, "crammed with the sort of useful advice that it seems to take some people years to learn."
The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction: 50 North American Stories Since 1970
The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction
50 North American Stories Since 1970
2nd Edition    Paperback      ISBN: 1416532277

Fifty remarkable short stories from a range of contemporary fiction authors including Junot Diaz, Amy Tan, Jamaica Kincaid, Jhumpa Lahiri, and more, selected from a survey of more than five hundred English professors, short story writers, and novelists.

The Best American Short Stories
The Best American Short Stories
Paperback      ISBN: 0618197354

Presents a collection of stories selected from magazines in the United States and Canada