Invisible Writing

My most important rule is one that sums up the other ten: If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

Elmore Leonard was born on this day in 1925. His "10 Rules of Writing" offer advice to anyone who aspires to his goal of being "invisible" (as opposed to the kind who fancies the "hooptedoodle" of "language and imagery and the sound of your own voice"). Leonard's rules helped him become "the greatest American novelist never to be mentioned in the same breath as 'Nobel Prize' " (John Sutherland, Lives of the Novelists).


Daybook is contributed by Steve King, who teaches in the English Department of Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland. His literary daybook began as a radio series syndicated nationally in Canada. He can be found online at


Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

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The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.

Dispute Over a Very Italian Piglet

Amara Lakhous delivers a mystery novel with its finger on the hot-button issues of today's Europe.  Immigration and multicultural conflicts erupt in the Italian city of Turin, as journalist Enzo Laganà looks to restore peace to his native burg.

Papers in the Wind

In this insightful novel by Eduardo Sacheri, a young girl left destitute by the death of her soccer-playing father is uplifted by the bold schemes of her uncle, his pals, and one newbie player to the professional leagues.