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First You Write a Sentence.

The Elements of Reading, Writing...and Life.
By: Joe Moran
Narrated by: Roy McMillan
Length: 8 hrs and 13 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (135 ratings)

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Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition If First You Write a Sentence by Joe Moran, read by Roy McMillan.   

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.  

A style guide by stealth - how anyone can write well (and can enjoy good writing).

©2018 Joe Moran (P)2018 Penguin Books Ltd

Critic reviews

"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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What listeners say about First You Write a Sentence.

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Brilliant

This is probably the best book I’ve read all year. Definitely the best non fiction book. I would recommend this to everyone. As a budding writer I found it immensely enjoyable but it also has something to teach about life. It it beautifully written. I have bought a hard copy, and a kindle copy to have too so I can access it anywhere. That said, I really enjoyed the narration.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A new Bible for writing superb sentences

This book is inspirationally illuminating. It is packed with a wealth of useful tips for wonderful writing. However, the book is sometimes long-winded and mired in the sea of thoughts of the writer. Perhaps the writer can demonstrate more effective examples of great writing rather than ramble along throughout the journey of the book.

4 people found this helpful

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the way good writing is ....

This is a book I return to often as a friend would revisit a friend as a student would revisit his teacher. Every listen draws more meaning, and more good sense. In all that I write this book hangs as the voice behind my head asking me, demanding, that I be more considerate to my reader and remove everything that will frustrate her and make her struggle to read on. The book never hectors; it's a kind work guiding you gently to revise if possible listen to what you've written and revise, and revise again. I may never achieve the perfection that comes out of polishing a piece of furniture again and again until you can see the reflection of your face in it but it's enough that I am able to discern my face when first I saw only a full cupboard whose beauty lay hidden by neglect. What more can I say of something so refined and so very absorbing? This is one book many will return to, as I do, as much for it's inherent goodness as for it's brilliant narration.

3 people found this helpful

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On writing

This book is almost a philosophy lesson in the art of constructing a sentence. How did a naked ape learn the art of putting one word after another to construct a sentence. And how some of us have learnt the art of writing some sentences that can move an army or break a heart or touch a soul. The right words in the best order can create an ideology that moves people to form a religion or a mass movement. And some lead people to jail or their deaths. So, can I now write a better sentence after reading this book? The more the book goes on, the more I found my mind wandering. Maybe, on a subconscious level I can now write a better sentence, and I have thought about how to write sentences as I read the book. But I began to skim through it. And I became bored of the sentences I was reading or listening to. There is a final page on how to write or construct a sentence which I shall mull over a bit more than anything else in the book. Personally I preferred On Writing Well by William Zinsser or Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande and wished I read Stephen King’s book ‘on writing’ instead.

2 people found this helpful

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Beautifully written, beautifully read.

This book is going to be a classic. Timelessly written. a book for grownups who love words and writing.

2 people found this helpful

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This is the most magical and inspiring read

I can't say enough about this book. I found myself inspired and reinvigorated to keep writing. I began to believe again that with time, love and lots of fun-filled effort I could achieve my ambition. I even cried tears at some of the observations surrounding our amazing and rich language. Joe Moran left me with a quite purpose to keep working at those sentences and with a smile.

2 people found this helpful

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Inspiring

The most exsquisite celebration of the written word. A joy - from each capital letter to every full stop.

2 people found this helpful

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First You Read This Book.

This book celebrates the magic you feel when reading great writing... and is it's own example. It explains the craft that goes into well-written sentences, in a way that inspires you to then write some of your own.

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Thoroughly enjoyed

Sentences are the subject. Beautifully done. The rest of this review is just to make up the fifteen word minimum.

1 person found this helpful

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A must read for writers

A beautifully written (and read) book about how to write beautifully. I enjoyed every word.

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  • Tecomarob
  • 02-11-18

All the instruction needed to appreciate writing.

Taken on the journey of the sentence, I am in a beautiful place of words, inspiration and calm.