Best Books for Writers

From the newly published to the invaluable classic, our list of essential books for creative writers.

by Lynne Truss

Published in 2004 by Gotham

Author and former editor Lynne Truss emphasizes the importance of using semicolons, commas, and other punctuation properly. Truss's historical anecdotes and witty examples make learning these rules enjoyable.

by Steven Pressfield

Published in 2012 by Black Irish Entertainment

Author Steven Pressfield offers a practical guide to identify the enemy within and create a "battle plan" to overcome the obstacles faced in creative endeavors.

by Kerry Cohen

Published in 2014 by Writer's Digest Books

Author and memoirist Kerry Cohen offers advice and provides guidelines for depicting the characters in your memoir with honesty and compassion, including how to choose which secrets to reveal and how to render the people in your life artfully on the page. 

by Deborah Levy

Published in 2014 by Bloomsbury

Author Deborah Levy responds to George Orwell's classic 1946 treatise "Why I Write" from a female writer's perspective. Levy includes personal history and discusses how her experiences have shaped her novels.

by Lori A. May

Published in 2014 by Bloomsbury

The Write Crowd offers tips and examples of how writers contribute to the literary community, the success of others, and their own well-rounded writing life. 

by Peter Turchi

Published in 2014 by Trinity University Press

In the follow-up to Maps of the Imagination: Writer as Cartographer, Peter Turchi presents the similarities between writing and puzzle-making, as well as puzzle-solving.

by Louise DeSalvo

Published in 2014 by St. Martin's Press

Award-winning teacher and writer Louise DeSalvo offers advice on how to explore the complexities of craft by getting to know your stories, and yourself, more fully over a longer period of time. Included are anecdotes from writers such as John Steinbeck, Junot Díaz, and Salman Rushdie.

by Literary Arts

Published in 2014 by Tin House Books

Tin House Books has compiled an anthology of speeches made by renowned authors and storytellers from the lecture series at Literary Arts, which celebrates its thirtieth anniversary this year. Featured writers include Ursula K. Le Guin, Margaret Atwood, and Wallace Stegner.

by Joyce Carol Oates

Published in 2003 by Ecco

Award-winning author Joyce Carol Oates answers essential questions about narrative craft, and provides valuable lessons on how language, ideas, and experience come together to create a work of art.

by David Grambs and Ellen S. Levine

Published in 2014 by W. W. Norton

Unlike your typical dictionary, this one concerns itself primarily with the observable—from shapes, to buildings, to people. With a reverse definition-to-term format, it is easy to find the descriptive word you're seeking. This expanded and updated edition includes examples of passages from authors including Khaled Hosseini, Zadie Smith, and Donna Tartt.