The Joy of Reading The Joy of Writing

FOUR STARSI finished reading Pierre Berton‘s The Joy of Writing, and it’s a good book. In it he tells the story of his writing life, all the ins and outs of being a professional writer. Even when he’s talking about stuff that may not seem interesting, such as how to get a good agent, he makes it interesting and fun to read. He gives good advice with plenty of illustrations from his manuscripts. It’s a personal yet practical guide to writing non-fiction for both the beginner and experienced writer. A must-read for journalists who want to write books, and a good read regardless.

Reading this “guide for writers, disguised as literary memoir,” I’m definitely encouraged to read at least one more book by Pierre Berton. Any recommendations? (The book he wrote on the War of 1812 looks like a good one.)

Margaret Laurence Story

“So you’re a writer,” an examing physician remarked jovially to the late, great novelist Margaret Laurence. “When I retire, I intend to become a writer myself.” To which Margaret replied, cheerfully, “Yes, and when I retire, I intend to become a brain surgeon.”

That’s from Pierre Berton‘s The Joy of Writing, which I began reading last night. It’s the first of his books I’ve read, though I’ve been meaning to pick up one of his books for years. He’s an excellent writer. I’m surprised how funny he can be. I’ve laughed out loud, tears-running-down-my-face laughter, a few times already.