The Best Language eBooks




How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One
by Stanley Fish
How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One
Format: PDF
Size: 3.1 MB
Pages: 176

Some appreciate fine art; others appreciate fine wines. Stanley Fish appreciates fine sentences. The New York Times columnist and world-class professor has long been an aficionado of language. Like a seasoned sportscaster, Fish marvels at the adeptness of finely crafted sentences and breaks them down into digestible morsels, giving readers an instant play-by-play.

In this entertaining and erudite gem, Fish offers both sentence craft and sentence pleasure, skills invaluable to any writer (or reader). How to Write a Sentence is both a spirited love letter to the written word and a key to understanding how great writing works; it is a book that will stand the test of time.

 



How Reading Changed My Life
by Anna Quindlen
How Reading Changed My Life
Format: PDF
Size: 1.7 MB
Pages: 96

A recurring theme throughout Anna Quindlen's How Reading Changed My Life is the comforting premise that readers are never alone."There was waking, and there was sleeping. And then there were books, " she writes, "a kind of parallel universe in which anything might happen and frequently did, a universe in which I might be a newcomer but never really a stranger. My real, true world." Later, she quotes editor Hazel Rochman: "Reading makes immigrants of us all. It takes us away from home, but, most important, it finds homes for us everywhere." Indeed, Quindlen's essays are full of the names of "friends, " real or fictional-Anne of Green Gables and Heidi; Anthony Trollope and Jane Austen, to name just a few-who have comforted, inspired, educated, and delighted her throughout her life. In four short essays Quindlen shares her thoughts on the act of reading itself ("It is like the rubbing of two sticks together to make a fire, the act of reading, an improbable pedestrian task that leads to heat and light"); analyzes the difference between how men and women read ("there are very few books in which male characters, much less boys, are portrayed as devoted readers"); and cheerfully defends middlebrow literature:
Most of those so-called middlebrow readers would have readily admitted that the Iliad set a standard that could not be matched by What Makes Sammy Run? or Exodus. But any reader with common sense would also understand intuitively, immediately, that such comparisons are false, that the uses of reading are vast and variegated and that some of them are not addressed by Homer.
The Canon, censorship, and the future of publishing, not to mention that of reading itself, are all subjects Quindlen addresses with intelligence and optimism in a book that may not change your life, but will no doubt remind you of other books that did. -Alix Wilber(less)

 



Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques
by Michael Michalko
Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques
Format: PDF
Size: 7.4 MB
Pages: 416

Rethink the Way You Think
In hindsight, every great idea seems obvious. But how can you be the person who comes up with those ideas?
In this revised and expanded edition of his groundbreaking Thinkertoys, creativity expert Michael Michalko reveals life-changing tools that will help you think like a genius. From the linear to the intuitive, this comprehensive handbook details ingenious creative-thinking techniques for approaching problems in unconventional ways. Through fun and thought-provoking exercises, you’ll learn how to create original ideas that will improve your personal life and your business life. Michalko’s techniques show you how to look at the same information as everyone else and see something different.
With hundreds of hints, tricks, tips, tales, and puzzles, Thinkertoys will open your mind to a world of innovative solutions to everyday and not-so-everyday problems.

 



My Reading Life
by Pat Conroy
My Reading Life
Format: PDF
Size: 6 MB
Pages: 337

Bestselling author Pat Conroy acknowledges the books that have shaped him and celebrates the profound effect reading has had on his life.

Pat Conroy, the beloved American storyteller, is a voracious reader. Starting as a childhood passion that bloomed into a life-long companion, reading has been Conroy’s portal to the world, both to the farthest corners of the globe and to the deepest chambers of the human soul. His interests range widely, from Milton to Tolkien, Philip Roth to Thucydides, encompassing poetry, history, philosophy, and any mesmerizing tale of his native South. He has for years kept notebooks in which he records words and expressions, over time creating a vast reservoir of playful turns of phrase, dazzling flashes of description, and snippets of delightful sound, all just for his love of language. But for Conroy reading is not simply a pleasure to be enjoyed in off-hours or a source of inspiration for his own writing. It would hardly be an exaggeration to claim that reading has saved his life, and if not his life then surely his sanity.
In My Reading Life, Conroy revisits a life of reading through an array of wonderful and often surprising anecdotes: sharing the pleasures of the local library’s vast cache with his mother when he was a boy, recounting his decades-long relationship with the English teacher who pointed him onto the path of letters, and describing a profoundly influential period he spent in Paris, as well as reflecting on other pivotal people, places, and experiences. His story is a moving and personal one, girded by wisdom and an undeniable honesty. Anyone who not only enjoys the pleasures of reading but also believes in the power of books to shape a life will find here the greatest defense of that credo.

BONUS:  This ebook edition includes an excerpt from Pat Conroy's The Death of Santini.

 



Thinking with Type
by Ellen Lupton
Thinking with Type
Format: PDF
Size: 3.1 MB
Pages: 176

The organization of letters on a blank sheet — or screen — is the most basic challenge facing anyone who practices design. What type of font to use? How big? How should those letters, words, and paragraphs be aligned, spaced, ordered, shaped, and otherwise manipulated? In this groundbreaking new primer, leading design educator and historian Ellen Lupton provides clear and concise guidance for anyone learning or brushing up on their typographic skills.

Thinking with Type is divided into three sections: letter, text, and grid. Each section begins with an easy-to-grasp essay that reviews historical, technological, and theoretical concepts, and is then followed by a set of practical exercises that bring the material covered to life. Sections conclude with examples of work by leading practitioners that demonstrate creative possibilities (along with some classic no-no's to avoid).

 



The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World
by Chris Guillebeau
The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World
Format: PDF
Size: 3 MB
Pages: 170

If you've ever thought, "There must be more to life than this, " "The Art of Non-Conformity" is for you.

Based on Chris Guillebeau's popular online manifesto "A Brief Guide to World Domination, " "The Art of Non-Conformity" defies common assumptions about life and work while arming you with the tools to live differently. You'll discover how to live on your own terms by exploring creative self-employment, radical goal-setting, contrarian travel, and embracing life as a constant adventure.

Inspired and guided by Chris's own story and those of others who have pursued unconventional lives, you can devise your own plan for world domination-and make the world a better place at the same time.

 



How to Win Friends and Influence People
by Dale Carnegie
How to Win Friends and Influence People
Format: PDF
Size: 5.1 MB
Pages: 288

You can go after the job you want… and get it! You can take the job you have… and improve it! You can take any situation you're in… and make it work for you!

Since its release in 1936, How to Win Friends and Influence People has sold more than 15 million copies. Dale Carnegie's first book is a timeless bestseller, packed with rock-solid advice that has carried thousands of now famous people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives.

As relevant as ever before, Dale Carnegie's principles endure, and will help you achieve your maximum potential in the complex and competitive modern age.

Learn the six ways to make people like you, the twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking, and the nine ways to change people without arousing resentment.

 



The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers
by John Gardner
The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers
Format: PDF
Size: 4 MB
Pages: 224

This classic guide, from the renowned novelist and professor, has helped transform generations of aspiring writers into masterful writers — and will continue to do so for many years to come.  
John Gardner was almost as famous as a teacher of creative writing as he was for his own works. In this practical, instructive handbook, based on the courses and seminars that he gave, he explains, simply and cogently, the principles and techniques of good writing. Gardner’s lessons, exemplified with detailed excerpts from classic works of literature, sweep across a complete range of topics — from the nature of aesthetics to the shape of a refined sentence. Written with passion, precision, and a deep respect for the art of writing, Gardner’s book serves by turns as a critic, mentor, and friend. Anyone who has ever thought of taking the step from reader to writer should begin here.

 



Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages
by Guy Deutscher
Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages
Format: PDF
Size: 5.4 MB
Pages: 304

A masterpiece of linguistics scholarship, at once erudite and entertaining, confronts the thorny question of how-and whether-culture shapes language and language, culture

Linguistics has long shied away from claiming any link between a language and the culture of its speakers: too much simplistic (even bigoted) chatter about the romance of Italian and the goose-stepping orderliness of German has made serious thinkers wary of the entire subject. But now, acclaimed linguist Guy Deutscher has dared to reopen the issue. Can culture influence language-and vice versa? Can different languages lead their speakers to different thoughts? Could our experience of the world depend on whether our language has a word for "blue"?

Challenging the consensus that the fundaments of language are hard-wired in our genes and thus universal, Deutscher argues that the answer to all these questions is-yes. In thrilling fashion, he takes us from Homer to Darwin, from Yale to the Amazon, from how to name the rainbow to why Russian water-a "she"-becomes a "he" once you dip a tea bag into her, demonstrating that language does in fact reflect culture in ways that are anything but trivial. Audacious, delightful, and field-changing, Through the Language Glass is a classic of intellectual discovery.

 



The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide To Staying Out of the Rejection Pile
by Noah Lukeman
The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide To Staying Out of the Rejection Pile
Format: PDF
Size: 3.7 MB
Pages: 208

The First Five Pages

Editors always tell novice writers that the first few pages of a manuscript are crucial in the publishing process — and it's true. If an editor or agent (or reader) loses interest after a page or two, you've lost him or her completely, even if the middle of your novel is brilliant and the ending phenomenal. Noah Lukeman, an agent in Manhattan, has taken this advice and created a book that examines just what this means, and I have to tell you, it's one of the best I've read.

I've written (and seen published) pretty close to a dozen novels in as many years — some are still to be published and will be out shortly; others are already out of print after four years. But I wish I had read Lukeman's book, The First Five Pages, when I began writing fiction.

I'm glad I did now. It has helped, immediately. I'm already embarrassed about some of the goofs I made in my writing — and I've been revising recent prose with his advice in mind.

First off, Lukeman is a literary agent who once was an editor, and his editorial eye is sharp. If every novelist and short story writer in this country had Lukeman as an editor, we'd have a lot more readable prose out there.

He writes:

Many writers spend the majority of their time devising their plot. What they don't seem to understand is that if their execution — if their prose — isn't up to par, their plot may not even be considered.

This bears repeating, because in all the books I've read on writing, this is an element that is most often forgotten in the rush to come up with snappy ideas and sharp plot progressions. You can always send a hero on a journey, after all, but if no reader wants to follow him, you've wasted your time.

In a tone that can be a bit professorial at times, Lukeman brings what prose is — and how it reads to others — into sharp focus. He deals with dialogue, style, and, most importantly, sound.

Sound.

How does prose sound?

It must have rhythm, its own kind of music, in order to draw the reader into the fictive dream. Lukeman's tips and pointers are genuinely helpful, and even important with regard to the sound of the prose itself.

Lukeman also brings in on-target exercises for writers of prose and the wonderful advice for novelists to read poetry — and often.

Those first five pages are crucial, for all concerned. But forget the editor and agent and reader. They are important for you, the writer, because they determine the sharpness of your focus, the completeness of your vision, the confidence you, as a writer, need to plunge into a three- or four- or five-hundred-page story.

The First Five Pages should be on every writer's shelf. This is the real thing. P#151;Douglas Clegg

Douglas Clegg is the author of numerous novels and stories, including The Halloween Man and the collection The Nightmare Chronicles. In addition, Clegg is the author of the world's first publisher-sponsored Internet email novel, Naomi.

 



The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time
by Jeff Deck, Benjamin D. Herson
The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time
Format: PDF
Size: 4.8 MB
Pages: 269

The signs of the times are missing apostrophes.
The world needed a hero, but how would an editor with no off-switch answer the call? For Jeff Deck, the writing was literally on the wall: “NO TRESSPASSING.” In that moment, his greater purpose became clear. Dark hordes of typos had descended upon civilization… and only he could wield the marker to defeat them.
Recruiting his friend Benjamin and other valiant companions, he created the Typo Eradication Advancement League (TEAL). Armed with markers, chalk, and correction fluid, they circumnavigated America, righting the glaring errors displayed in grocery stores, museums, malls, restaurants, mini-golf courses, beaches, and even a national park. Jeff and Benjamin championed the cause of clear communication, blogging about their adventures transforming horor into horror, it’s into its, and coconunut into coconut.
But at the Grand Canyon, they took one correction too far: fixing the bad grammar in a fake Native American watchtower. The government charged them with defacing federal property and summoned them to court — with a typo-ridden complaint that claimed that they had violated “criminal statues.” Now the press turned these paragons of punctuation into “grammar vigilantes,” airing errors about their errant errand..
The radiant dream of TEAL would not fade, though.  Beneath all those misspelled words and mislaid apostrophes, Jeff and Benjamin unearthed deeper dilemmas about education, race, history, and how we communicate. Ultimately their typo-hunting journey tells a larger story not just of proper punctuation but of the power of language and literacy — and the importance of always taking a second look.

 



Hamlet's BlackBerry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age
by William Powers
Hamlet's BlackBerry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age
Format: PDF
Size: 4.7 MB
Pages: 267

A crisp, passionately argued answer to the question that everyone who's grown dependent on digital devices is asking: "Where's the rest of my life?"

At a time when we're all trying to make sense of our relentlessly connected lives, this revelatory book presents a bold new approach to the digital age. Part intellectual journey, part memoir, Hamlet's BlackBerry sets out to solve what William Powers calls the conundrum of connectedness. Our computers and mobile devices do wonderful things for us. But they also impose an enormous burden, making it harder for us to focus, do our best work, build strong relationships, and find the depth and fulfillment we crave.

Hamlet's BlackBerry argues that we need a new way of thinking, an everyday philosophy for life with screens. To find it, Powers reaches into the past, uncovering a rich trove of ideas that have helped people manage and enjoy their connected lives for thousands of years. New technologies have always brought the mix of excitement and stress that we feel today. Drawing on some of history's most brilliant thinkers, from Plato to Shakespeare to Thoreau, he shows that digital connectedness serves us best when it's balanced by its opposite, disconnectedness.

Using his own life as laboratory and object lesson, Powers demonstrates why this is the moment to revisit our relationship to screens and mobile technologies, and how profound the rewards of doing so can be. Lively, original, and entertaining, Hamlet's BlackBerry will challenge you to rethink your digital life.

 



Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality
by Scott Belsky
Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality
Format: PDF
Size: 4.5 MB
Pages: 256

How the world's leading innovators push their ideas to fruition again and again

Edison famously said that genius is 1 percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration. Ideas for new businesses, solutions to the world's problems, and artistic breakthroughs are common, but great execution is rare.

According to Scott Belsky, the capacity to make ideas happen can be developed by anyone willing to develop their organizational habits and leadership capability. That's why he founded Behance, a company that helps creative people and teams across industries develop these skills.

Belsky has spent six years studying the habits of creative people and teams that are especially productive-the ones who make their ideas happen time and time again. After interviewing hundreds of successful creatives, he has compiled their most powerful-and often counterintuitive-practices, such as:

•Generate ideas in moderation and kill ideas liberally
•Prioritize through nagging
•Encourage fighting within your team

While many of us obsess about discovering great new ideas, Belsky shows why it's better to develop the capacity to make ideas happen-a capacity that endures over time.

 



Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace
by David Lipsky
Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace
Format: PDF
Size: 5.7 MB
Pages: 320

In David Lipsky’s view, David Foster Wallace was the best young writer in America. Wallace’s pieces for Harper’s magazine in the ’90s were, according to Lipsky, “like hearing for the first time the brain voice of everybody I knew: Here was how we all talked, experienced, thought. It was like smelling the damp in the air, seeing the first flash from a storm a mile away. You knew something gigantic was coming.”

Then Rolling Stone sent Lipsky to join Wallace on the last leg of his book tour for Infinite Jest, the novel that made him internationally famous. They lose to each other at chess. They get iced-in at an airport. They dash to Chicago to catch a make-up flight. They endure a terrible reader’s escort in Minneapolis. Wallace does a reading, a signing, an NPR appearance. Wallace gives in and imbibes titanic amounts of hotel television (what he calls an “orgy of spectation”). They fly back to Illinois, drive home, walk Wallace’s dogs. Amid these everyday events, Wallace tells Lipsky remarkable things — everything he can about his life, how he feels, what he thinks, what terrifies and fascinates and confounds him — in the writing voice Lipsky had come to love. Lipsky took notes, stopped envying him, and came to feel about him — that grateful, awake feeling — the same way he felt about Infinite Jest. Then Lipsky heads to the airport, and Wallace goes to a dance at a Baptist church.

A biography in five days,  Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself is David Foster Wallace as few experienced this great American writer. Told in his own words, here is Wallace’s own story, and his astonishing, humane, alert way of looking at the world; here are stories of being a young writer — of being young generally — trying to knit together your ideas of who you should be and who other people expect you to be, and of being young in March of 1996. And of what it was like to be with and — as he tells it — what it was like to become David Foster Wallace.

 



Reality Hunger: A Manifesto
by David Shields
Reality Hunger: A Manifesto
Format: PDF
Size: 3.9 MB
Pages: 219

An open call for new literary and other art forms to match the complexities of the twenty-first century.

Reality TV dominates broadband. YouTube and Facebook dominate the web. In Reality Hunger: A Manifesto, his landmark new book, David Shields (author of the New York Times best seller The Thing About Life Is That One Day You’ll Be Dead) argues that our culture is obsessed with “reality” precisely because we experience hardly any.

Most artistic movements are attempts to figure out a way to smuggle more of what the artist thinks is reality into the work of art. So, too, every artistic movement or moment needs a credo, from Horace’s Ars Poetica to Lars von Trier’s “Vow of Chastity.” Shields has written the ars poetica for a burgeoning group of interrelated but unconnected artists in a variety of forms and media who, living in an unbearably manufactured and artificial world, are striving to stay open to the possibility of randomness, accident, serendipity, spontaneity; actively courting reader/listener/viewer participation, artistic risk, emotional urgency; breaking larger and larger chunks of “reality” into their work; and, above all, seeking to erase any distinction between fiction and nonfiction.

The questions Reality Hunger explores — the bending of form and genre, the lure and blur of the real — play out constantly all around us. Think of the now endless controversy surrounding the provenance and authenticity of the “real”: A Million Little Pieces, the Obama “Hope” poster, the sequel to The Catcher in the Rye, Robert Capa’s “The Falling Soldier” photograph, the boy who wasn’t in the balloon. Reality Hunger is a rigorous and radical attempt to reframe how we think about “truthiness,” literary license, quotation, appropriation.

Drawing on myriad sources, Shields takes an audacious stance on issues that are being fought over now and will be fought over far into the future. People will either love or hate this book. Its converts will see it as a rallying cry; its detractors will view it as an occasion for defending the status quo. It is certain to be one of the most controversial and talked-about books of the year.

 



Written in Stone: A Journey Through the Stone Age and the Origins of Modern Language
by Christopher Stevens
Written in Stone: A Journey Through the Stone Age and the Origins of Modern Language
Format: PDF
Size: 4.8 MB
Pages: 272

Half the world’s population speaks a language that has evolved from a single, prehistoric mother tongue. A mother tongue first spoken in Stone Age times, on the steppes of central Eurasia 6, 500 years ago. It was so effective that it flourished for two thousand years. It was a language that spread from the shores of the Black Sea across almost all of Europe and much of Asia. It is the genetic basis of everything we speak and write today — the DNA of language.

Written in Stone combines detective work, mythology, ancient history, archaeology, the roots of society, technology and warfare, and the sheer fascination of words to explore that original mother tongue, sketching the connections woven throughout the immense vocabulary of English — with some surprising results.

In snappy, lively and often very funny chapters, it uncovers the most influential and important words used by our Neolithic ancestors, and shows how they are still in constant use today — the building blocks of all our most common words and phrases.

 



The Anatomy of Curiosity
by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, Brenna Yovanoff
The Anatomy of Curiosity
Format: PDF
Size: 5.4 MB
Pages: 304

The follow-up to the acclaimed title The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff.

In an unassuming corner of Brooklyn, a young woman learns to be ladylike, to love context, and to speak her mind from a very curious sort of tutor.

In a faraway land convulsed by war, a young soldier hears the desert’s curious hum as he disarms bombs with the person he doesn’t know how to love.

In a place so shriveled by drought that any drowning is a curiosity, a young writer tries again and again to tread water beneath the surface of a vast and unusual sea.

Three new stories — complete with commentary on the creative process — from three acclaimed young adult authors working at the height of their powers.

Curious?

 



The Hero Within: Six Archetypes We Live By
by Carol S. Pearson
The Hero Within: Six Archetypes We Live By
Format: PDF
Size: 6 MB
Pages: 338

In this newly revised edition of the bestselling classic The Hero Within, Carol S. Pearson gives us a unique vocabulary to explore the link between ancient archetypes and our contemporary lives.

Works like Joseph Campbell's The Hero With a Thousand Faces have introduced readers to the significance of myth and archetype in our lives. Carol Pearson's bestselling The Hero Within takes us further by combining literature, anthropology, and psychology to clearly define, with insight and understanding, the six heroic archetypes that exist in all of us: the Innocent, the Orphan, the Wanderer, the Warrior, the Martyr, and the Magician. This substantially revised edition features new chapters that illuminate these archetypes, showing how to reach our fullest potential by achieving a balance between work, family, and the self.

"An excellent and useful book about the course our psychological and development can take… {Pearson's} is an evolutionary archetypal psychology". — Jean Shinoda Bolen, M. D., author of Goddess in Everywoman and Gods in Everyman

 



The Givenness of Things: Essays
by Marilynne Robinson
The Givenness of Things: Essays
Format: PDF
Size: 5.4 MB
Pages: 304

The spirit of our times can appear to be one of joyless urgency. As a culture we have become less interested in the exploration of the glorious mind, and more interested in creating and mastering technologies that will yield material well-being. But while cultural pessimism is always fashionable, there is still much to give us hope. In The Givenness of Things, the incomparable Marilynne Robinson delivers an impassioned critique of our contemporary society while arguing that reverence must be given to who we are and what we are: creatures of singular interest and value, despite our errors and depredations.

Robinson has plumbed the depths of the human spirit in her novels, including the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning Lila and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead, and in her new essay collection she trains her incisive mind on our modern predicament and the mysteries of faith. These seventeen essays examine the ideas that have inspired and provoked one of our finest writers throughout her life. Whether she is investigating how the work of the great thinkers of the past, Calvin, Locke, Bonhoeffer-and Shakespeare-can infuse our lives, or calling attention to the rise of the self-declared elite in American religious and political life, Robinson's peerless prose and boundless humanity are on display. Exquisite and bold, The Givenness of Things is a necessary call for us to find wisdom and guidance in our cultural heritage, and to offer grace to one another.

 






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