Best Books for Writers

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

by Mary Ruefle

Published in 2012 by Wave Books

The lectures in this collection by poet Mary Ruefle were delivered to a group of poetry graduate students over the course of fifteen years. A finalist for the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award, the lectures include "Poetry and the Moon," "Someone Reading a Book is a Sign of Order in the World," and "Lectures I Will Never Give."

by James Wood

Published in 2008 by Farrar, Strauss and Giroux

What do we mean when we say we "know" a fictional character? When is a metaphor successful? Book critic and author James Wood addresses various techniques of storytelling and offers a study of the magic of fiction.

by Kenneth Koch

Published in 1999 by Touchstone

The late prize-winning author Kenneth Koch muses on the nature of poetic inspiration, how poems are written and revised, and what happens in the mind while reading a poem. Koch also discusses over ninety works of poetry from poets such as Homer, Sappho, Federico García Lorca, Gary Snyder, and John Ashbery.

by Joni Rodgers

Published in 2013 by Stella Link Books

Author of the bestselling memoir Bald in the Land of Big Hair, Joni Rodgers shares words of wisdom for aspiring writers and her opinions on where the publishing industry is headed. 

by Lauren Sussman

Published in 2014 by Adams Media

English professor Lauren Sussman provides the tools necessary to correct the common grammatical mistakes we all make. This handbook covers everything from verbs and pronouns to punctuation and sentence structure. 

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.