Attack of the Copula Spiders: Essays on Writing - Douglas Glover

First 80 pages contain the most well-articulated writing advice I've ever encountered. Particularly his Do This, Don't Do That approach. Great for those of us who become easily flustered by the endless ways to write a novel. Of course it helps that my own strategy meshes well with his suggestions.

I fell in love with his rants on common failures of student writing, their lack of commitment, and the challenges of being a writer in a 'post-literate' society. Glover's greatest strength is his observations on how to make theme work in a mainstream way. He is obsessed with literary art, yet equally as obsessed with clarity. Only fools dress their characters in white and expect the reader to realize it's some kind of message on purity. At the same time, there is a place for texture and dramatic symbolism and he shows you how to do it.

The back half is a snooze, unfortunately. Pages and pages of literary analysis of obscure titles which don't even sound interesting. Much of his analysis contradicts the brilliant approach outlined in the beginning half. Still worth the price of admission for those first few essays. Will keep this book close to my heart and revisit it often.