The Writer Who Stayed

William Zinsser. Paul Dry (Consortium, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-58988-080-1
These 58 essays written for the American Scholar’s Web site span topics both personal and cultural, from Zinsser’s experiences during WWII to an app for Central Park. Readers who crave more of the advice Zinsser provided in his 1976 guide On Writing Well will find an abundance: in addition to 12 craft essays, Zinsser drops tips throughout: “Writers! Never forget to tell us what’s up with the bears.” The essays in “Faraway Places” are mostly with travel, but the destinations almost incidental; Zinsser prefers to discuss how “civilized” white people write about whatever “unknown land” they travel to, not the people or cultures who call that place home. The order of the essays within their categories feels somewhat slapdash, though these shifts feel appropriate to the Internet culture Zinsser was writing for and about. His reminiscing does become tiring when reading the book cover to cover, particularly in the “Tech Age” section, but enjoyed in small chunks, Zinsser’s sharp observations provide a welcome perspective. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/2012
Release date: 11/01/2012
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