Three Books from September (2017) L’Amoure, Zinsser, & Farber

Hello blog readers.

Last year around this time I shared a blog post about three books I enjoyed from September. It turned out to be a special post for me (you can read last year’s post here). So I decided to make a similar post this October, featuring three choice books from September 2017.


And in keeping with my tradition, well, um, what I did last year, I mentioned how much I enjoyed Delancey Place and so HERE is my favorite DP post from September 2017. I will also end this post with a snippet from Robert Okaji  from O at the Edges.


BOOK 1: The Daybreakers by Louis L’Amour

I have heard about Louis L’Amour since at least 1994. A college professor raved about L’Amour. Also, for years I used one of L’Amour’s quotes (occasionally while teaching students and just as it came up). I reluctantly bought five paperbacks – and then to my surprise I enjoyed his writing so much. Sometimes a few chapters can feel long and dry, but there are so many times I will read something – pause reread a section and then just stop to savor. Here is an example of a passage that I did exactly that…. read it, reread it – and then closed the book and just savored:

             “We could see the lights of the Fort up ahead and behind me the rumble of those wagon wheels as the train moved out, the rattle of trace chains, and the Mexicans calling to each other.

“Tom,” I said, “I got to learn to write. I really got to learn.”

“You should learn,” he told me seriously, “I’ll be glad to teach you.”

“And to read writing?”

“All right.”

We rode in silence for a little while and then Tom Sunday said, “Tye, this is a big country out here and it takes big men to live in it, but it gives every man an equal opportunity. You’re just as big or as small as your vision is, and if you’ve a mind to work and make something of yourself, you can do it.”

He was telling me that I could be important enough for even a don’s daughter, I knew that. He was telling me that and suddenly I did not need to be told. He was right, of course, and all the time I’d known it. This was a country to grow up in, a land where a man had a chance.

The stars were bright. The camp lay far behind. Somebody in the settlement ahead laughed and somebody else dropped a bucket and it rolled down some steps.

A faint breeze stirred, cool and pleasant. We were making the first step. We were going after wild cows. We were bound for Purgatoire.”


BOOK 2: On Writing Well by William Zinsser

Okay – so I am not even sure how this Zinsser book made it into my bag. Maybe I was in a hurry and I was thinking I could pass it on. Once I started skimming, which is usually what I do before I decide whether or not I will read a book, I realized I have owned this book twice before as it was required for classwork back in the day.  And Son1 had the most recent edition a few years ago as required reading for one of his classes. So again, I am not sure how this book ended up in my take home bag. I am still skimming the book, but had to share what spoke to me from the introduction. Zinsser wrote about the wonder of using a Word Processor (and yes, I can see why another edition was needed after that kind of chat)  Oh the fun of remembering the joy of a Word Processor. Also, this brief 127-word excerpt speaks volumes about process and change. Not just for writers, but especially for writers:

     “This book was written in 1976 and expanded in 1980 and 1986. Now, in 1990, it has been expanded again and has also had a major overhaul. I won’t go so far as to say that with this Fourth Edition I’ve finally got it right. But I can say that it’s the book I would like to have written in the first place.

     I didn’t write it earlier because I didn’t know enough; I’ve continued to learn new things about writing and teaching writing. Much has also happened in the field itself. The advent of the word processor has given writers a whole new way to write, rewrite, edit and organize their work. Better yet, women have achieved recognition as important writers in every area of non-fiction.”


BOOK 3: Diamond in the Rough by Barry J. Farber

This Diamond in the Rough book by Farber (1995) had a subtle undertone I disagreed with – like parts about pursuing your goal hard – relentlessly.  Hopefully in this day and age people are more in tune with pausing for wellness and hopefully we know that success does not always have to be defined by measurable achievement.  Even with the plethora of motivational points and wisdom nuggets throughout this book, there is an underlying message of go, drive, go, keep achieving. I also chuckled because some of the many celebs Farber interviewed are much different from they were back then (i.e. Bruce Jenner).

But this paperback, with more than 200 pages, had so many little nuggets I found I could not put it down. Farber did an excellent job and he went on to write many more after this. Anyhow, when I was thinking about what to share for an excerpt, I decided to share a few of his 45 reminders, which were provided near the end of the book:

“Remember that luck is when you’re learning, when you’re doing the research, when you’re working late, when you’re working harder than the next person, when you’re putting in the extra effort. Other people see the luck in the wrong place. They see it in the positive outcome. We know where it really is – in the hard work and the effort.

Practice resistance for the brain. Whenever you’re doing something that is tough and painful, but must be done, remember that what we resist most is what builds us the most. That’s what builds character. That’s what helps us when we’re suddenly hit by an obstacle. We build our substance and stamina through the resistance training. It’s getting through the tough little steps and stages that build character, not going over the finish line.

The major antidote for depression is action.

Failure is the ultimate learning tool. Every disappointment teaches a positive lesson – you just have to look for it. It’s only when we make the same mistakes over and over again that we have really failed. It is in times of adversity we grow the most.”


Okay, so in keeping with what I did last year – here is a snippet from Robert over at O at the Edges:

Letter from Insomnia

Accepting Li Po’s tragedy,
apocryphal or not,

we embrace her imperfect
rippling in the breeze,

but manage to surface.

I once thought I would name a child Luna
and she would glow at night

and like Hendrix, kiss the sky.
But that was whimsy

and only candles light this room…

Go HERE to read the rest


Closing Thoughts

~The first two book excerpts had to do with writing – that was not planned – because L’Amour and Zinsser had dozens of other snippets to share that were rich and not related to writing. But quick-like those were the ones I chose – which then ended up fitting the post very well – but I love when things coordinate almost on their own.

~I did have a 4th book from September, Jimmy the Wags, but it was annoying and my BS meter was going off (so no excerpt).

~This year’s books are all from this used book store in Richmond, VA. They sell lots of newer books too – and I have some 2016 and 2017 best sellers, but the three oldies featured in this post were the ones that spoke to me.

~And speaking of books, last year I shared that I was working on a short non-fiction, called December 1992, but I stopped working on the book because it was not ready to be written (sniff).  In a few years I will revisit that special project, and in the meantime –  I will chip away at other projects as they come along and feel right.  I will respect a healthy process that aligns with my unique goals, output, and personal readiness.

 Thanks for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day…

Book info

Farber, B. (1995). Diamond in the rough: The secret to finding your own value and making your own success. New York, NY: Berkley Books

L’Amour, L. (1960). The Daybreakers. New York, NY: Bantam Books.

Zinsser, W. (1990). On writing well, (4th ed.). New York, NY: Harper Perennial







35 thoughts on “Three Books from September (2017) L’Amoure, Zinsser, & Farber

    1. hey Tish – I mean writer on the edge….
      and yes – this current copy is going to stay – and I, ahem, might even but the latest copy to compare differences.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Love this post, Yvette! Thanks so much for putting in the excerpts too – I love reading so much and can never get enough, and since I haven´t heard of any of the mentioned authors before, I´m going to put them on my must-read list. I really liked the first excerpt and can see why you reread it and savoured it, it´s beautiful. It´s always so wonderful to learn from books, I think, to notice passages that speak to you in their own silent way…
    Have a very lovely day! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Miss G – well I know you are a big reader and your Book Tag post last month stayed with me for days – it was so good – and I still plan to accept your tag and write my own post – just plan to do it later –
      and thanks for your nice comment Miss G artista – and I will share one more snippet from L’amour – I will share the very first passage that I read on my very first book of his. I made my husband listen to me read it to him…. lol

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Zinsser was the college textbook my professor assigned in a writing class years ago. I have fond memories of that book–and it’s STILL on my bookshelf! Thanks for including this one on your list. I’ll have to pull it off my shelves and revisit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hi – well I guess I did not buy your used copy then – lol
      and I am keeping this one even tho we sent the others way.
      and seriously, I do not think I even opened my copies – lol
      thanks for your comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. oh well I can see why you have read them all – and wow – I would love to know your favorite. It seems like every four or five pages I find this little nugget that stops me. I love L’Amour’s mind.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s been so long since I’ve read them, but what I love best about Louis L’Amour is how he describes a place. We used to live in the Texas panhandle and I could imagine his characters riding across that rather desolate area, camping for a night, before moving along.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Great selection, Y 🙂 I really enjoyed the excerpts you chose. The first one feels timeless; the second made me smile, thinking of all those notebooks I filled years ago; as for the third… well, that brief statement about depression – “the major antidote for depression is action”- is such a powerful one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. again I thank you for specifics my friend – I went back in and added that depression one- felt led to! It was on a different page (reminder #6 page 217- the others were tips from page 218) so that was nice to here.
      and I also thought of you A – and how you once shared that you went back into your published book and swept through for minor tweaks- modeling what Zinsser noted about the reasons he modifies for slight improvements.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad you mentioned the depression one – it might seem obvious, yet it’s one of those obvious things that are so often ignored.
        I just might go over my book once more, I sometimes feel really tempted to do so. But I suppose that’s something we always feel inclined to do 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. yeah – and then I think in some instances an author can change too much – perhaps with fiction we need to be a lot more careful as well.
          And my Son1 helped me learn something in this regard – but it related to his art. He had a boat painting he made – well it was more like a barge – lol – and a year after he made it I asked him if he wanted to work on it – it was on a nice block canvas and worth the time – and he explained that he felt it should be left alone because it was him at the time and he said some more about why – it was so good!! just a preference – but then I read an author who has like 30 books and she said she cringed at some of her first books – but it was also where she was….

          oh and then if we change too much the project can become a totally different entity – eh?

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I think your son had the right idea. I once saw an interview with a writer I deeply admire and he was saying something very similar about his earlier works. He mentioned trying to avoid rereading them, because he felt too tempted to change them, especially since he no longer agreed with some of his previous ideas. Yet that was who he was and what he was thinking at the time he was writing them, and he needed to respect that side of himself, even if he had changed afterwards.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. oh that is so interesting –
          and what a coincidence – in between your comment here and the last comment we exchanged, I read a post from Tish Farrell where she talked about her surprise at reading an author who surprised her because he took a different route (it sorta tied into the chat here…) she wrote:

          “…I read recently that the writer admitted to a friend that he did not know much about the Mani, and used the trip and the book as a peg on which to hang several unrelated topics that had long interested him. There is no doubting his deep regard for Greece and its peoples.”

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree that action is a great help to depression. AND anxiety. The rest of that book’s message though, not so much. Perhaps even on the verge of obsession. I’m more about balance. Because obsession. LOL So like, I KNOW.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joey – that is exactly how the entire book is – what u picked up on – and parts of the book are so encouraging and motivating – but obsessive was a good word for certain relentless pursuit and go go go stuff – ((wonder if he ever found balance cos sometimes life makes u find it))

      Liked by 1 person

  5. From the excepts from these 3 books, the second book is interesting to see what he wrote about word processor. I think way back then it must a huge break through. For today, it is a thing that I think many use to go about their works. I really like the 3rd book the best. I would say the author has a very clear insight.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks YC and I think with our tech Gadgets many of us forget how far we’ve come ….
      And so the third book is your fav…. thx for sharing that – it is a very well done book – glad it was in one of the bins – 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Over the years, several people have raved to me about L’Amour’s books and I still have yet to pick one up. I should but perhaps I’m afraid I’ll like it so much I’ll have to read the entire series! I do believe I’ve had or read Zinsser’s book during my writing “phase.” I love to read but don’t take the time like I used to. I must remedy that! Thanks for sharing your reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. well another one of us in the Zinsser club – which I am discovering might be a big club – hah
      and thx for reading :)(also best wishes as you get back into books – but don’t discount or overlook the reading of blogs that you do – because that counts as reading just a different format eh?)

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Well I think blogs count big time and I continue to be impressed with the quality and originality found at different blogs – ahhhh
          ((And glad to share some blog connection with u))

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Such a powerful post, amigo! 🙂

    The Louis L’Amour book passage you shared is brilliant. “The stars were bright. The camp lay far behind. Somebody in the settlement ahead laughed and somebody else dropped a bucket and it rolled down some steps” – how vivid and visual – so much happening in the passage.

    Diamond in the Rough has some great self-help lines: “…luck is when you’re learning, when you’re doing the research, when you’re working late, when you’re working harder than the next person, when you’re putting in the extra effort…” – a fresh perspective and far more effective. We have long believed that luck is “in the positive outcome” – forgetting the journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much write might.
      But just FYI – that was not the same louis L’amour quote I mentioned to you earlier this year – I need to find that one. and will link you when I do….
      and I appreciate your feedback and it is so easy to look at the outcome eh? takes reminders indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

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