January 2018 Book Recommendations

Book Recommendations for Writers January 2018

This month has been full to the brim with new reading experiences rich with creative and informative content for our team and we’re looking to share them with our own readers! From brain science to the origin of story, we’ve journeyed with four authors through uncharted thought territory. Take a look at some of our book recommendations for writers:

Around the Writer’s Block by Rosanne Bane

What does brain science have to do with writer’s block? Everything. From our shelf to yours, pick up a copy of Rosanne Bane’s Around the Writer’s Block for tips on how to train your brain to get writing, to maintain your pace, and to revel in the process. A must-read!

–Mandy Watts, Untold

On Writing Well by William Zinsser

This month we’re reading the late great William Zinsser‘s advice on translating specialized info for lay audiences. Good tech writing is a lot like building an upside-down pyramid. Start with one crucial fact and build upwards with another fact that relies on the first. Keep broadening concrete matters-of-fact into abstract significance and speculation at the pyramid base. Move lay readers from the what to the why with Zinsser’s word architecture tips!

–Mandy Watts, Untold

Transforming Places: Lessons from Appalachia by Stephen L. Fisher and Barbara Ellen Smith

Where you from? Who are your people? What memories do you hold of your homeplace? What places hold significance to you in your life? These common questions reveal the relationship between identity and place. This month, as the Untold Content team settles into our new office space in the Evanston neighborhood of Cincinnati, we are even more attuned to the ways that, as we embed ourselves into and repeatedly live out our time in particular environments, mere spaces are transformed into “places” that hold memory and meaning. To be honest, moving into our new office space has been incredibly exciting. We have invested in plenty of new office furniture including a new officechair and desk for each member of staff to make sure that everyone is as comfortable as possible. There are a few extra pieces that we still need to buy though. For example, we could really do with some sliding door room dividers to ensure that we can use our space more effectively. Ultimately, it is no secret that your working environment has a huge impact on your productivity and therefore we have chosen our new office furniture with this in mind. Furthermore, moved by an awakened awareness of space, we recommend to you for this week’s #OfftheShelf Transforming Places: Lessons from Appalachia. This edited collection examines how “the concept of ‘place’ bundles together cultural memories, practices and beliefs with social relations to generate the potential for powerful, unifying identities” (274). If you are interested in learning how localities unite individuals into shared identities, and how grassroots organizations can harness the power of place to incite action and create lasting environmental, political, societal, and cultural change, then this book is for you.

–Katie Trauth Taylor, Untold CEO

On the Origin of Stories by Brian Boyd

As a company that holds the power of story close to our work, we keep our eyes ever open for other writers and thinkers that do the same. Brian Boyd presents his body of research regarding the beginnings of thought and story in his book On the Origin of Stories. He embraces the perilous task of searching for evolutionary and human cognition patterns through the lenses of art and fiction. This collection of historical works and contemporary ideas ultimately builds into his argument that the value of art lies in the cognitive play required to make it. According to Boyd, art “augments our capacities so that we can efficiently produce ideas or actions: sounds, movements, visualizations, or representations, and, in the case of story, scenarios for reasoning about our own and others’ plans and actions” (95). If you’ve ever found yourself wondering why we tell stories, then surely this is the experience you’ve been looking for. Reading this book has brought our team that much closer to the true power of story by better understanding the way our minds shape and are shaped by them.

–Dani Clark, Untold

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