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Attack of the Copula Spiders: And Other Essays on Writing Paperback – Apr 10 2012
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"Douglas Glover, the award-winning Canadian writer of fiction, short stories and essays carries within him a huge sense of duty both to the craft of writing and to the language ... I stand before it in awe ... This is a book for all writers and for any creative writing class syllabus."—Telegraph-Journal
"Every literate person in the country should be reading Glover’s essays"—The Globe & Mail
From the Back Cover
Who among us is brave enough to challenge the mind of Alice Munro? To duel with Leon Rooke's dreams? Or--more daunting yet--to joust with sloppy student grammar? Douglas Glover is the knight-in-arms of contemporary fiction, and Attack of the Copula Spiders a stalwart defense of the literary arts--in an age where too few care for its craft.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Others have commented on how only the writing chapters are any good or how it loses value if you haven't read all of the works he writes about. Pfft. If you are an aspiring writer with a huge ego like I am, don't let that put you off. You are more than capable of absorbing the knowledge he sets on the plates for you to consume. And this knowledge is oh so worthy, oh so vital, if you wish to write interesting prose.
Several chapters slapped me very hard -- the Copula Spiders essay, The Drama Of Grammar, The Mind of Alice Munro, Novels and Dreams, and A Scrupulous Fidelity. I now read with a pencil in hand and a notebook by my chair. I now read Alice Munro with utter fascination of her now obvious techniques. I now read novels and understand why the grammar excites me (or puts me to sleep). Most of all I now feel like I know what I am doing when I am writing. I now know the images I am trying to paint and some of the brushes I need to paint them with. I am love with the Stephenson knot! With Munro's image matrices. With Doug's excessive listing. When editing I now color-code my verbs for a visual image of effectiveness. Pedantic? No, very effective. Yet I am only getting started. This book is only a preview of his technical catalog. Pencil in hand.
This is a book for an intermediate to advanced writer with significant words under their belt. If you are a beginner, by all means read it, but read it again later.
And if you ever get a chance to take a workshop from Douglas Glover, don't hesitate. The man is a blast.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The Wall Street Journal calls Glover, "...a master of narrative structure."
While it doesn't detract from the value of his advice per se, Glover also spends a wince-inducing amount of ink ranting about our "post-literate" society. By "post-literate" he means that people nowadays (i.e., his students) don't think, don't read any Important Literature....you've heard this before and so have your grandparents when they were your age, I doubt I need to repeat it. Particularly hilarious is his tantrum in the title essay where he asks how long it's been since the reader "note[d] the elaborations of image patterns on a single page" or "forced yourself through a difficult work" and then flounces "Don't answer." (Well, Professor, I was going to say "last Thursday actually", but far be it from me to interrupt your mic-drop.) It's an annoying and distracting verbal tic that pops up throughout the book. If a fiction writer were inserting his pet peeves so clumsily throughout a novel or short story, I doubt Glover would hesitate to call it out.
Worth a skim, but there are many better books on both writing and reading out there.
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