First You Write a Sentence: The Elements of Reading, Writing... and Life

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Penguin Books, Limited, Sep 27, 2018 - Authorship - 230 pages
'What a lovely thing this is: a book that delights in the sheer textural joy of good sentences ... Any writer should read it' Bee Wilson

'Thoughtful, engaging, and lively ... when you've read it, you realise you've changed your attitude to writing (and reading)' John Simpson, formerly Chief Editor of the OED and author of The Word Detective

The sentence is the common ground where every writer walks. A poet writes in sentences, but so does the unsung author who came up with Items trapped in doors cause delays. A good sentence can be written (and read) by anyone if we simply give it the gift of our time, and it is as close as most of us will get to making something truly beautiful.

Enter acclaimed author Professor Joe Moran. Using minimal technical terms, First You Write a Sentence is his unpedantic but authoritative explanation of how the most ordinary words can be turned into verbal constellations of extraordinary grace. Using sources ranging from the Bible and Shakespeare to George Orwell and Maggie Nelson, and scientific studies of what can best fire the reader's mind, he shows how we can all write in a way that is clear, compelling and alive.

Whether dealing with finding the ideal word, building a sentence or constructing a paragraph, First You Write a Sentence informs by light example: much richer than a style guide, it can be read not just for instruction but for pleasure and delight. And along the way it shows how good writing can help us notice the world, make ourselves known to others and live more meaningful lives. It's an elegant gem in praise of the English sentence.

'Moran is a past master at producing fine, accessible non-fiction' Helen Davies, Sunday Times

'Joe Moran has a genius for turning the prosaic poetic' Peter Hennessy

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User Review  - waldhaus1 - LibraryThing

While ending with twenty rules about writing the book outs is really the authors travelogue about finding voice and clarity with the written word. It was a pleasure to read. An appreciated gift ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dtw42 - LibraryThing

A bit pretentious in places, perhaps. But the author certainly practised what he preached, because it was lucid and pleasurable to read - indeed, I found myself reading bits of it aloud … to myself. Read full review

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About the author (2018)

Joe Moran is Professor of English and Cultural History at Liverpool John Moores University and is the author of seven books, including Queuing for Beginners: The Story of Daily Life from Breakfast to Bedtime, Armchair Nation: An Intimate History of Britain in Front of the TV, Shrinking Violets: The Secret Life of Shyness and First You Write a Sentence. He writes for, among others, the Guardian, the New Statesman and the Times Literary Supplement.

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