Although she wrote this book of advice on writing nearly 80 years ago, Dorothea Brande’s Becoming a Writer is excellent encouragement and good medicine if you’re engaged in or contemplating writing in any fashion. Unlike many books of writing craft, this one deals primarily with intangibles that afflict beginning writers, and since I’m struggling with many of them myself I found it helpful. Most of all, I appreciated Brande’s perspective that one should not let frustrations like writer’s block or wondering if you’re any good get in the way of a desire to write, and that rather than being paralyzed by doubt and slain by your inner critic, you can find ways around common missteps and around common pitfalls. I’d recommend this book if you’re the type of person who enjoys reading about writing.
Because I’m always on the lookout for good pieces of poetry and whatnot for the kids to memorize, I picked up Committed to Memory: 100 Best Poems to Memorize. After reading through it, I was left wondering what makes these poems the best to memorize? I did find a few that I think would be good to know, but was surprised at those omitted from the list. The selections seemed heavily focused on American poetry and that of one era, rather than a good collection of the poetry and prose that are most often quoted or alluded to in other literature, or that which has been most often learned in the past. Because my own education was sadly lacking in this type of memorization, I often wish I had a list of things the average educated person should know by heart. If any readers are aware of such a list or a book that has a more rigorous criteria for selection than this one, please let me know!
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