Good Prose by Tracy Kidder
The Art of Nonfiction

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 1 Critic Review

...a book focusing on the writer-editor relationship inevitably feels somewhat dusty in the age of the blog and the tweet...
-WSJ online



Good Prose is an inspiring book about writing—about the creation of good prose—and the record of a warm and productive literary friendship. The story begins in 1973, in the offices of The Atlantic Monthly, in Boston, where a young freelance writer named Tracy Kidder came looking for an assignment. Richard Todd was the editor who encouraged him. From that article grew a lifelong association. Before long, Kidder’s The Soul of a New Machine, the first book the two worked on together, had won the Pulitzer Prize. It was a heady moment, but for Kidder and Todd it was only the beginning of an education in the art of nonfiction.
Good Prose explores three major nonfiction forms: narratives, essays, and memoirs. Kidder and Todd draw candidly, sometimes comically, on their own experience—their mistakes as well as accomplishments—to demonstrate the pragmatic ways in which creative problems get solved. They also turn to the works of a wide range of writers, novelists as well as nonfiction writers, for models and instruction. They talk about narrative strategies (and about how to find a story, sometimes in surprising places), about the ethical challenges of nonfiction, and about the realities of making a living as a writer. They offer some tart and emphatic opinions on the current state of language. And they take a clear stand against playing loose with the facts. Their advice is always grounded in the practical world of writing and publishing.
Good Prose—like Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style—is a succinct, authoritative, and entertaining arbiter of standards in contemporary writing, offering guidance for the professional writer and the beginner alike. This wise and useful book is the perfect companion for anyone who loves to read good books and longs to write one.

Praise for Good Prose
“Smart, lucid, and entertaining.”—The Boston Globe
“You are in such good company—congenial, ironic, a bit old-school—that you’re happy to follow [Kidder and Todd] where they lead you.”—The Wall Street Journal
“[A] well-structured, to-the-point, genuinely useful, and fun-to-read guide to writing narrative nonfiction, essays, and memoir . . . Crisp, informative, and mind-expanding.”—Booklist  
“A gem . . . The finer points of creative nonfiction are molded into an inspiring read that will affect the would-be writer as much as Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird or Stephen King’s On Writing. . . . This is a must read for nonfiction writers.”—Library Journal
“As approachable and applicable as any writing manual available.”—Associated Press

From the Hardcover edition.

About Tracy Kidder

See more books from this Author
TRACY KIDDER graduated from Harvard University and studied at the University of Iowa. He has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Award, and many other literary prizes. The author of My Detachment, Mountains Beyond Mountains, Home Town, Old Friends, Among Schoolchildren, House, and The Soul of a New Machine, Kidder lives in Massachusetts and Maine. MICHAEL FRENCH has published twenty books, including fiction for adults and young adults, biographies, and art criticism. He has adapted many acclaimed adult works for young people. Michael French divides his time between Santa Barbara, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Published January 15, 2013 by Random House. 224 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Good Prose
All: 1 | Positive: 0 | Negative: 1

WSJ online

Below average
Reviewed by Scott Stossel on Jan 18 2013

...a book focusing on the writer-editor relationship inevitably feels somewhat dusty in the age of the blog and the tweet...

Read Full Review of Good Prose: The Art of Nonfic... | See more reviews from WSJ online

Reader Rating for Good Prose

An aggregated and normalized score based on 107 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review