John Scalzi,
You're Not Fooling Anyone When You
Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop

(Subterranean Press, 2007)

Hack your way through the hefty set of titles on John Scalzi's You're Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop: Scalzi on Writing, and you'll uncover the most judgmental, opinionated and outright entertaining book about writing in years.

You're Not Fooling Anyone is very instructional. Scattered throughout the book is advice on how to recognize a bad deal for either a writer or a publisher, how to handle intellectual theft in the electronic age and, above all, how to make an actual living as a writer. Those looking for tips on writing technique will also find what they need if they know how to look, because every article in the collection is a study in written communication. Scalzi's writing is tight, to the point and funny without being forced. It's also recognizably true, sometimes to the point of discomfort.

Still, You're Not Fooling Anyone isn't a writing guide. It's mostly a one-sided discussion of the writing life. That may sound like a contradiction in terms. But the articles in You're Not Fooling Anyone come from Scalzi's blog, Whatever, and as such are designed to elicit comments and are open to receive them. So catch up on the past entries in the book, which has a faster load time and an easier navigation system, then go to Scalzi's blog and give that guy a piece of your mind, or just wallow in more of Scalzi's writing. Because man, that guy is good.

by Sarah Meador
5 May 2007

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