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Writing Places: The Life Journey of a Writer and Teacher    by William Zinsser order for
Writing Places
by William Zinsser
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Deb Kincaid

William Zinsser is a name well known to nonfiction writers. The remedy for boggy writing is to Zinsserize it, to pare away any unnecessary word, phrase, and paragraph, which Zinsser calls clutter, 'the disease of American writing.' But, Writing Places is not a writing how-to book, though he does impart writing wisdom along the way. Writing Places is a memoir focused on Zinsser's experiences at different establishments where he worked at his craft, as well as where that touched him in his life journey as a husband of one, father of two, and mentor and teacher of many.

He is the author of the iconic On Writing Well, and books on jazz, baseball and more. Zinsser is a man not driven by ambition, but by joyful excellence, who welcomes serendipitous opportunities to try something new. His genial, helpful, positive personality lifts from every page of Writing Places. This is not a stuffy, dogmatic, writing tome, although its author does have definite opinions and convictions regarding writing's truisms. At the same time, he will gleefully acknowledge and respect your right to your own opinions and convictions. Zinsser opens Writing Places with his early days at New York's Herald Tribune, and closes where he is today, teaching at the New School and tutoring Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism students.

As you might suspect, Writing Places is written in true Zinsser style, clutter-free and suffused with friendly humor, a joy to read. If there's one message Zinsser sends, it is this: don't lock yourself into a career path, open yourself to experiences and opportunities, and when writing, strive for clear story telling.

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