A Journalist’s Bookshelf

When I talk to community groups, college journalism classes and wanna-be journalists, I often hand out this list of books to help them find some direction in their writing. These books have definitely helped me. Many are dog-eared with yellow Post-Its and ink underlines highlighting some gem I’ve found.

May you find a few gems, too.



“Draft No. 4,” John McPhee

“Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose,’’ Constance Hale

The Mindful Writer: Noble Truths of the Writing Life,’’ Dinty W. Moore

Writers On Writing,’’ edited by Robert Pack and Jay Parini

“On Writing,” Stephen King

“The Invisible City: A New York Sketchbook,’’ Pete Hamill

“The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative,’’ Vivian Gornick

“Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies For Every Writer,’’ Roy Peter Clark

“Writing For Your Readers: Notes on the Writer’s Craft from the Boston Globe,” Donald Murray

“Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers’ Guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University,” edited by Mark Kramer and Wendy Call

“Somebody Told Me: The Newspaper Stories of Rick Bragg,’’ Rick Bragg

Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life,’’ Dani Shapiro

“The Sound On The Page,’’ Ben Yagoda

“A Writer’s Coach: The Complete Guide To Writing Strategies That Work,’’ Jack Hart

“Intimate Journalism: The Art and Craft of Reporting Everyday Life,” Walt Harrington

“The Art of Fiction,’’ John Gardner

“Writing For Story: Craft Secrets of Dramatic Nonfiction by Two-Time Pulitzer Prize Winner,’’ Jon Franklin

Writing Down The Bones,” Natalie Goldberg

“Bird by Bird,’’ Annie Lamott