Writing to Change the World

Writing to Change the World

4.9 9
by Mary Pipher
     
 

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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Reviving Ophelia, Another Country, and The Shelter of Each Other comes an inspirational book that shows how words can change the world.

Words are the most powerful tools at our disposal. With them, writers have saved lives and taken them, brought justice and confounded it, startedSee more details below

Overview

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Reviving Ophelia, Another Country, and The Shelter of Each Other comes an inspirational book that shows how words can change the world.

Words are the most powerful tools at our disposal. With them, writers have saved lives and taken them, brought justice and confounded it, started wars and ended them. Writers can change the way we think and transform our definitions of right and wrong.

Writing to Change the World is a beautiful paean to the transformative power of words. Encapsulating Mary Pipher's years as a writer and therapist, it features rousing commentary, personal anecdotes, memorable quotations, and stories of writers who have helped reshape society. It is a book that will shake up readers' beliefs, expand their minds, and possibly even inspire them to make their own mark on the world.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this very personal writing guide, Pipher talks about the importance of point of view in writing, and she has a definite point of view here, tilting to the left: the world is in a bad way, and writers can serve as a "rescue team for our tired, overcrowded planet" by "tell[ing] stories that connect readers to all the people on earth." Pipher offers some good examples of how to accomplish this, particularly in a thoughtful and clever essay that presents the U.S. as a patient in a therapeutic case study ("Diagnosis: Post-traumatic stress disorder, multiple addictions"). And she offers useful advice in her sections on defining success (measured not in terms of sales but in terms of "giv[ing] our time and talents to help others") and revising, which she compares to pruning and weeding. There are dozens of pithy and inspiring quotes from a variety of writers, among them Woody Allen, Joan Didion and Eudora Welty. Those, along with Pipher's chipper you-can-do-it tone, will encourage idealistic aspiring writers, who will surely find inspiration in her assertion that writing can heal the world. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Psychologist Pipher (Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls) offers a guide to literary activism, or, as she terms it, change-writing. How one feels about this phrase will determine one's reaction to her book as a whole. Pipher's tone is sentimental, bordering on the melodramatic, and she has never met a cliche or a Buddhist teaching she doesn't like. It is also not clear how the techniques of writing to change the world differ from those of plain old writing; very little of the advice here is specific to persuasive or political essays. However, Pipher does include useful sections on the composition of letters of protest and the dos and don'ts of public speaking, and she brings astute analogies from her career as a therapist to the problem of how to begin writing. For a small collection, Anne Lamott's classic Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life and Betsy Lerner's insightful and entertaining The Forest for the Trees: An Editor's Advice to Writers are better choices, but Pipher's idealism-and the following she brings from her other best-selling work-may make this guide suitable for larger school and college libraries.-Leora Bersohn, doctoral student, Columbia Univ., New York Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A cornucopia of platitudes about Writing and Life from a bestselling psychologist. Pipher (Letters to a Young Therapist, 2003, etc.) is an earnest and amiable companion in this text, which belongs on the self-help shelf. It's chockablock with the conventions of the genre, including shaded-and-boxed inspirational quotations throughout (the writers range from Mother Teresa to Mark Twain), just-plain-folks diction ("There is a place for you at the table") and a sort of personal-trainer perkiness that makes learning how to write seem somehow like losing weight or firming up your abdominals. The author's language veers at times into the precious and predictable ("Voice is like a snowflake-complicated, beautiful, and individual"), and the advice rarely advances beyond the patent (carry a little notebook with you, back up your computer files, revise a lot). Nearly every page features allusions to other writers (she advocates and practices this annoying technique) and cliches pervade all. Just about every bromide about writing ever concocted finds an honored place in Pipher's medicine chest. She urges writing from the heart, offers advice on how to organize and prepare to write (use file cabinets!), comments on such topics as employing metaphors (be sure they're fresh!) and conducting interviews (let your subject talk!), explains how to write more effective letters of persuasion (don't show off!), how to make better speeches (think about your audience!) and compose more powerful personal essays (share your epiphanies!). The author concludes with some thoughts on blogging and on composing poetry and music. "Songs," she notes, "are often inspired by intense feelings." And poetry? Well, think of afresh metaphor to describe it. How about snowflakes! "Poetry has the gossamer quality of a snowflake and the power of a sword."An unremarkable stroll along the road frequently traveled.
From the Publisher
“[Pipher] offers useful advice…[This] will encourage idealistic aspiring writers, who will surely find inspiration in her assertion that writing can change the world.”
Publishers Weekly 

“[Pipher] brings astute analogies from her career as a therapist to the problem of how to begin writing.”
Library Journal  

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781440679469
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/01/2007
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
245,496
File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“[Pipher] offers useful advice…[This] will encourage idealistic aspiring writers, who will surely find inspiration in her assertion that writing can change the world.”
Publishers Weekly 

“[Pipher] brings astute analogies from her career as a therapist to the problem of how to begin writing.”
Library Journal  

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