Publish date:

What’s on Anne Lamott’s Bookshelf?

In each issue of Writer’s Digest, we tend to ask our cover interview subject a seemingly minor question for a sidebar—but in my opinion, it can be one of the most intriguing parts of the whole piece.

What’s on his/her bookshelf?

Image placeholder title

The responses range from the expected (Sue Grafton, Double Indemnity) to the unexpected (James Patterson, Ulysses) to the simply awesome (Diablo Cody, Ramona Quimby, Age 8).

In our newest issue, on sale Tuesday, we feature an interview with Anne Lamott. Here, for your viewing pleasure, are five picks from her bookshelf (followed by a tidbit from the interview for the short fiction gurus in the room, and a writing prompt).

Reading through this sidebar every month, it’s hard not to fantasize: If it were you, which books would you list? (Feel free to share your picks in the Comments section—after all, you are what you read, right?)

* * *


5 Picks From Anne Lamott’s Bookshelf

"Charles Portis is one of my very, very favorite American literary heroes. He wrote The Dog of the South; he’s famous for True Grit."

"I love Drop City by T.C. Boyle, and I think he’s one of America’s pure, great, clean, exciting storytellers."

"Pippi Longstocking was what launched me into my life as a feminist and a woman of laughter."

"My favorite book that my father wrote is called Anti-California: Report From Our First Parafascist State, about the years when Reagan was governor. That’s a book I really love and have read a number of times."

"If I had to pick one book by a woman that I love above all others, it would be Middlemarch by George Eliot."

And Lamott’s thoughts and process on shorter works versus novels:

“[It’s] so much easier, because there’s a foreseeable beginning, middle and end. If I’m working on a story, then I would typically scrawl it all down on a Monday, and on a Tuesday, I’d start cleaning it up … and the third day I would get very firm and adult-like and disciplined, and try to make myself edit it all much more tightly, and be much more self-indulgent. By the fourth day I become desperate to show it to people, and that’s always alarming for me, because I’m really not ready then. … And on Friday, I’m a whole different person, and I’m cutting stuff out. With a novel, there’s no easy way to separate out the assignment—it’s like trying to move a hockey puck in super slow-mo down the ice.”

* * *


WRITING PROMPT: Recyclables
Feel

free to take the following prompt home or post your
response (500
words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring) in the Comments section below.
By posting, you’ll be automatically entered in our occasional
around-the-office swag drawings. If you’re having trouble with the
captcha code sticking, e-mail your story to me at
writersdigest@fwmedia.com, with “Promptly” in the subject line, and I’ll
make sure it gets up.

You buy a used car. On the way home, you make a stop and are forced into buying something else you never even knew was sold used.

--

How Writers Can Succeed in the Future of Digital Publishing?
?Join
WD publisher Jane Friedman live tomorrow to get the lowdown on
where the industry is headed in a time of digital revolution—and how to
succeed and adapt no matter what the future holds.?
Click
here
for more info.
?

How I Broke Into the Traditional Publishing World as an Indie Author

How I Broke Into the Traditional Publishing World as an Indie Author

Learn the process indie author Amanda Aksel went through in getting her novel Delia Suits Up traditionally published, including questions she asked herself and weighing one strategy against the other.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: 6 New WDU Courses, An Upcoming Webinar, a Competition Deadline, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce 6 new WDU Courses, an upcoming webinar, a competition deadline, and more!

Working With a Nonfiction Book Publisher Throughout the Process

Working With a Nonfiction Book Publisher Throughout the Process

A publisher accepting your manuscript is just the beginning, not the end. Author Rick Lauber discusses how to work with a nonfiction book publisher from query letter to release date and beyond.

From Script

Writing Empowered Superheroes in CWs Supergirl and Understanding Animation From the Trenches (From Script)

In this week’s round-up brought to us by Script Magazine, story editor Katiedid “Did” Langrock speaks with Reckless Creatives podcast. Plus, one-on-one interview with CWs Supergirl actress turned scribe Azie Tesfai about her groundbreaking episode and more!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: The Characterless Character

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: The Characterless Character

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so this series helps identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is writing a characterless character.

When Is My Novel Ready to Read: 7 Self-Editing Processes for Writers

When Is My Novel Ready to Read: 7 Self-Editing Processes for Writers

Fiction editor and author Kris Spisak ties together her seven processes for self-editing novels, including editorial road-mapping, character differentiation analysis, reverse editing, and more.

Poetic Forms

Englyn Unold Crwca: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the englyn unold crwca, a Welsh quatrain form.

5 Things for Writers to Keep in Mind When Writing About Spies

5 Things for Writers to Keep in Mind When Writing About Spies

A spy thriller requires more than a compelling story and clever plot twists—the characters need to feel real. Author Stephanie Marie Thornton offers 5 tips for constructing believable spy characters.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Unexpected Team Up

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Unexpected Team Up

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, it's time for a little unexpected team work.