Reviews of Writing Books

The Internet Writing Journal, April 1999

Woe is I by Patricia T. O'Connor

Riverhead Books, August 1998.
Paperback, 227 pages.
ISBN: 1573226254
Ordering information:
Amazon.com. | Amazon.co.uk


Cover of Woe is I
by Patricia T. O'Connor Woe is I, by former New York Times Book Review editor Patricia T. O' Conner, is targeted at the grammarphobe. In a light-hearted yet informative tone, the book addresses numerous concepts of the English language with which writers often struggle. Each chapter in the book addresses a new grammar topic. The "Therapy for Pronoun Anxiety" chapter addresses pronouns, which the author says, "are usually small (I, me, he, she, it), but they're among the biggest troublemakers in the language." The "Comma Sutra" chapter provides information on correct punctuation and the "Death Sentence" chapter focuses on clichés. Other grammar topics addressed in the book include plurals, possessives, verbs, words to avoid and commas. The reference also includes a glossary of grammar terms.

O'Connor provides instruction for improving one's grammar with a witty style that helps the lessons go down a bit easier. Also included are catchy rhymes which help the reader remember the lessons. An appealing and entertaining way to learn the rules of grammar.


The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in the Wild West from 1840-1900 by Candy Moulton

Writer's Digest Books, March 1999.
Hardcover, 325 pages.
ISBN: 0898798701
Ordering information:
Amazon.com. | Amazon.co.uk


The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life
in the Wild West from 1840-1900
by Candy Moulton This historical reference for writers provides information on living in the Old West that would normally require several trips to the library to find. The book covers various aspects of the days of living in the Wild West including geography, land ownership, Native American territories, treaties, wars, clothing, food, architecture, furnishing, marriage, family, medicine, education, employment, entertainment, literature, language, travel, communication, crime, law, coins and money. The book also provides a guide to additional resources on the Old West, including website links and a comprehensive chronology of events that occurred in the Old West between 1840-1900.

This book presents historical information in a manner appropriate to writers by focusing on the lifestyle, so writers can easily find what they need and incorporate the concepts into their nonfiction, story or novel. A comprehensive resource that should be on every historical writer's desk.


Writing Personal Poetry by Sheila Bender

Writer's Digest Books, March 1999.
Trade Paperback, 220 pages.
ISBN: 1877749168
Ordering information:
Amazon.com. | Amazon.co.uk


Writing Personal Poetry
by Sheila Bender This inspirational guide helps beginners to learn how to write poems through discussions, exercises and examples. The book begins with tools to create poems, such as creating lists of images for our five senses, which can later be developed into complete poems. The latter sections of the book provide information on how to shape and create poems, through instruction and examples of poetry. The book also provides information about resources where poets can further their studies.

Poet and poetry instructor, Sheila Bender, does a wonderful job of conveying the value of poetry, and teaching you how to free yourself from your work or chores to create poems that capture your personal moods and views of the world. A fun and uplifting book for beginning poets.


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