50 Books to Help You Become a Better Writer


[tweetmeme]No matter what you do for a living, being able to write well is a useful skill. But in today’s abbreviated social media world, where 140 characters is the maximum length of a tweet and 80 characters is said to be the optimum Facebook post, (according to Buddy Media), it’s more important than ever to write clearly and concisely to reach your target audience effectively.

There are numerous books available to help you become a better writer. Online Writing Courses has put together a list of 50 books – divided into the following categories:

  • Classics
  • Composition and rhetoric
  • Genre and medium
  • Literary criticism, reading and analysis
  • Notable writers

I’ve read a few of the books on the list including The Elements of Style by William F. Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White. This is the classic writing manual I read in college. More recently, I read and can recommend On Writing Well by William Zinsser. This is an easy-to-read classic writing guide – especially useful for those wanting to write as economically as possible without losing meaning.

Other books on the list that I recommend include: Words Fail Me by Patricia T. O’Connor and The Copywriter’s Handbook by Robert W. Bly.

What is your favorite book about writing?

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “50 Books to Help You Become a Better Writer

  1. I feel me stupid but where are those 50?
    and why to frighten the beginning writers to death by this number?
    Is it some kind of quote?

    I’m related to technical writing and I’ve read and, so, can advise
    “Clear Technical Writing” by John A. Brogan

    It’s the only book I managed to read out to the end during the last 10 (or might be more) years.
    It has very few instructions and a lot of exercises how to re-write, proof-read (well, technical) sentences to shorter ones.
    Just delete delete, delete words on 200 pages….

    • You can access the list of 50 books by clicking on the hyperlink “Online writing courses.” Sorry I didn’t make that clear! I certainly didn’t mean to frighten beginning writers by suggesting you have to read all 50 books! I’ve only read a handful on the list. Thanks for suggesting the John Brogan book.

      Gloria

  2. “it’s more important than ever to write clearly and concisely to reach your target audience effectively.”

    That;s the point.
    I’m not native English speaker.
    There are investigations telling that readers do not pass above fist 2 words of a sentence.

    Well, I also do not have writing experience. I’m not sure that I shall read even one book
    Anyway, I think they all revolve around some obvious principles:
    – Write short sentences (but not shorter when the sense or clearness are lost)
    – Use simple words (but not simpler)
    – Write active (avoiding passive, subjunctives,)
    – Delete words mercilessly
    What else?
    This sentence from which I cited my first phrase is long.
    It is almost 40% of all article

    Could it possible to re-write it by a few short sentences, I wonder?
    Also I read somewhere that brackets should be avoided

    • I’m not sure what “investigations” you’re referring to regarding the first two words of a sentence. That’s a pretty scary thought! 😉 I do think you’ve got the right idea. Write short sentences and simple words that get the point across. However, longer sentences are ok. It’s actually good to mix up long and short sentences to create visual variety. If you were to read only one book, I’d recommend On Writing Well. That’s just my opinion! Have a great day.
      Gloria

  3. Here’s another plug for William Zinsser and On Writing Well. As a college writing student I believe we used the first edition of this fabulous book, and I’ve depended upon it ever since. My writing and business communications students all are required to “ingest” Zinsser’s principles of clarity, conciseness, and simplicity. All who are serious about writing need to read this book and keep it on their shelves and, of course, practice the principles.

    • I agree with you! I loved this book. Zinsser’s principles are particularly relevant today for social media marketers, who have to keep things clear and to the point!

      Gloria

Comments are closed.