The Art of X-ray Reading

The Art of X-ray Reading

How the Secrets of 25 Great Works of Literature Will Improve your Writing

Book - 2016 | First edition
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Where do writers learn their best moves? They use a technique that Roy Peter Clark calls X-ray reading, a form of reading that lets you penetrate beyond the surface of a text to see how meaning is actually being made. In THE ART OF X-RAY READING, Clark invites you to don your X-ray reading glasses and join him on a guided tour through some of the most exquisite and masterful literary works of all time, fromThe Great Gatsby to Lolita to The Bluest Eye, and many more. Along the way, he shows you how to mine these masterpieces for invaluable writing strategies that you can add to your arsenal and apply in your own writing. Once you've experienced X-ray reading, your writing will never be the same again. --Publisher.
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Company, ©2016
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780316282178
Branch Call Number: 808.042 CLA 2016
Characteristics: viii, 326 pages ; 22 cm

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" Many writers have testified to the relationship between plot and character in all kinds of narrative writing, often with a focus on the suffering of protagonists. Vonnegut suggests: 'Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them---in order that the reader may see what they are made of'.......Bond is kidnapped, beaten, and tortured in the most bizarre ways by the most brutal and vicious enemies. In ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE, his bride is murdered. GOLDFINGER threatens to cut him from groin to brain with a laser." " ' Anger was washed away in the river along with any obligation.' " " ' There is nothing more atrociously cruel than an adored child.' " " ' ALL ART IS PROPOGANDA, George Orwell' "; " 'FLANNERY O'CONNOR, The Complete Stories, Flannery O'Connor ' "; " ' THE GREAT GATSBY, F. Scott Fitzgerald' "; " ' HIROSHIMA, John Hersey' "; " ' THE BLEAK HOUSE, Charles Dickens ' "; " ' SLOUCHING TOWARD BETHELEM, Joan Didion ' " " ' MADAME BOVARY ' "; " ' KING LEAR, MACBETH, OTHELLO, ROMEO AND JULIET, William Shakespeare' "; " ' MISS LONELYHEARTS & THE DAY OF THE LOCUST, Nathaniel West.' " " ' THE COLLECTED WORKS OF WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS.' "

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djfwolfert
May 05, 2018

An involved and nuanced look at 25 different examples of significant literary techniques and devices. As a writer, I found this a great source of new storytelling devices, and as a reader, I found this an insightful look at why different stories have been written they way they were.

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rixonkj
Apr 24, 2018

Clark is a good teacher, I can tell by the way he writes. His prose is clear and accessible, which is a great quality for a book about how to write! The approach of this book, examining literature in order to discover what has worked for past great works, is a great place to start if you're learning to write, and this book provides a broad survey of great works and a lot of insight into techniques past writers have used. I do wish there were actual writing exercises to go with each chapter--if there were, I would strongly recommend it as a textbook for self-directed study of writing.

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ms_mustard
Aug 31, 2016

read this for some insights into the literature - not for the writing lessons. a good read

1
1aa
Aug 29, 2016

Many examples of certain techniques, and exercises for discovering them for oneself. One has to take notes to take it all in a make genuine use of them.

a
abcDena
Mar 18, 2016

I read this in one night flat, it was so good! Roy Clark not only inspired me to keep writing and try some new things, but made me go back to some of the novels from which he draws lessons. Especially Nabokov's Lolita and Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar.

Excellent resource for writers in need of a little perspective or inspiration. Clark's style is readable and engaging.

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