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Book Reviews
January, 2008

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Book Reviews - October
For only the best in how-to
By  IN House Staff

une into IN reviews for the best of How-To books about writing -- all genres -- from high adventure to haiku, from fact to fiction, cookbooks to commentary and much, much more. Always check IN to see what's in. We only publish the best and our rating scale below is based upon the values of the three Es: Ease-of-Read, Educational, and Entertaining.

If you have a how-to write book that you would like us to read and possibly write a review about (we only publish reviews of books that we deem are best of the best) please send it to us. Our snail mail address is located in our 'About' area.


Title: Picture Writing: A New Approach To Writing For Kids And Teens
Author: Anastasia Suen
Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books
ISBN: 1-58297-072-6
Reviewer: Shelley Pence
IN Rating:

Is there a recipe to writing, or possibly just a secret ingredient or two?  No, this book isn’t a magic pill, but it does provide a comprehensive look into the world of children’s literature.   The result is a wealth of information that any writer can gain from. Whether you are a beginning author struggling to draft a picture book or an experienced novelist researching a young adult biography, this book has something for you.

Picture Writing  offers solid tools and advice to help authors when facing any variety of frustrations that can arise during the writing process.  From the general steps of story design to how best to have the reader of a young adult biography relate to your book’s setting, this book has it all. Through a nicely crafted mixture of explanation and illustration Suen helps to ease any confusion facing the children’s author.

Along with solid guidance in the writing process, Picture Writing also explains the business aspects of writing for this unique market.  Suen provides a glimpse into how editors, reviewers, and booksellers perceive their industry.  These perspectives are a solid tool to use in critiquing and analyzing any work prior to submission. 

Anasastia Suen’s recipe for writing is well worth exploring.

Shelley Pence is a freelance writer and book reviewer.

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If you like this review, take a look at 'Our Members Library Of Recommended Reading' for books that have made a significant difference in our members' writing careers.

Title: The Rise of the Creative Class
Author: Richard Florida
Publisher: Best Books
ISBN: 1-58297-072-6
Reviewer: Brian J. Flanagan
IN Rating:

I know respectable authors who’d kill for the buzz on this book. What’s everyone talking about? The lunatics have been put in charge of the asylum and… profits are way (way) up. Not another bloated thought-piece or business fad of the week, this is a substantial, provocative, often inspiring work. The author serves up a stimulating blend of fresh thinking, sober judgment, amusing anecdote, and remarkable, quotable insight.

A Professor of Regional Development at Carnegie Mellon, he also backs up his arguments with a good measure of scholarly research -- enough to persuade, not so much as to induce coma. And he’s fun to read. Contrary to what many esteemed academic fuddy-duddies will tell you, e.g., the 60s were not the source of all evil. Florida makes the case that, for all its failed social experiments, the daily congress of so many creative individuals in one  hotbed of radicalism resulted in the birth of the personal computer and with it a quaint little village called Silicon Valley. Not bad, for a bunch of dopey dreamers, eh?

Brian J Flanagan is a freelance writer and editor.

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If you like this review, take a look at 'Our Members Library Of Recommended Reading' for books that have made a significant difference in our members' writing careers.

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Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

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