I know I'm already signed up for a social-life massacre, here - reading 52 books will leave me little time for "extracurricular activities," so to speak - but here are some titles I plan on cracking open while I'm reading all the others. I don't plan to finish these, necessarily, but I think they'll supplement my main 52 quite nicely. Check them out. Let me know if I can add any. 

"The routine is as much a part of the creative process as the lightning bolt of inspiration, maybe more. And this routine is available to everyone." (7)

"The routine is as much a part of the creative process as the lightning bolt of inspiration, maybe more. And this routine is available to everyone." (7)

The Creative Habit: Learn It And Use It For Life

I first saw this book in the hands of a college roommate, Sammy, when she was reading it in our apartment, before class. She was an artist--I guess all of us in that apartment were--but she was the studio artist, and I remember her pulling late-nights in the art department down on Columbia. Later, some years after we graduated, I recall seeing this book on her bookshelf, thinking back to those sleepy days in our apartment: Sammy, over a teacup, the teabag label drifting over the cup edge and her fingers propping open The Creative Habit, as if just for morning reading. Light floated lazily through our tall, stretching windows, and the world seemed barely awake, except for our thoughts and dreams.  

The Creative Habit, written by professional dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp, (Simon & Schuster, 2003), is a book that will inspire you to make creativity not just an ambition, but a routine, a regimen, a joy. Written to all varieties of artists, The Creative Habit will teach you about yourself and encourage you to become a better person, not just an inspired artist.


"What happened to punctuation? Why is it so disregarded when it is self-evidently so useful in preventing enormous mix-ups?" (25)

Eats, Shoots & Leaves

My Pop gifted this book to me about ten years ago, at Christmas. Ashamedly, I've never picked it up. This is the year. This is the day. Every day? Every month? In a world where grammar seems slipping to the wayside, (in a seminar I recently attended, "'But Can You Teach Comp?': The Creative Writer in the Composition Classroom," we discussed whether it was absolutely necessary - or expected - for college students to learn correct rules of grammar), it does seem important that we all, as civilized human beings, know how to use an apostrophe at the end of a possessive noun. Or, ah, a question mark? Or what about an ampersand? You get the idea. This & That. Etc. (Etcetera). 

Time to learn the rules, just. . . the funny way. By reading this book. 

Written by Lynne Truss with illustrations by Pat Byrnes. (Gotham Books, 2004). 


"The title of this book itself is an imitation. The famous phrase to which the phrase refers is 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.' (xxii)

The Sincerest Form: Writing Fiction By Imitation

Nicholas Delbanco, director of the MFA program at The University of Michigan, is the author of more than twenty books of fiction and nonfiction. With The Sincerest Form, he outlines a method for imitating just a few of the literary greats: Andrea Barrett, John Barth, Charles Baxter, Raymond Carver, Richard Ford, Ernest Hemingway, Bharati Mukherjee, Lorrie Moore, Flannery O'Connor, Tim O'Brien, Bernard Malamud and Jamaica Kincaid. The book is written in two parts, the first a detailed overview and explanation of techniques and methods of the (aforementioned) authors, the second an anthology of twelve short stories with writing exercises, following. (Short stories include: "Sexy," by Jhumpa Lahiri, "How to Date a Browngirl, Blackgirl, Whitegirl, or Halfie," by Junot Diaz, and "Why I Live at the P.O.," by Eudora Welty). 

Written by Nicholas Delbanco. (McGraw-Hill, 2004).