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Extended Audio Sample The Writing Life Audiobook, by Annie Dillard Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (4,465 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Annie Dillard Narrator: Tavia Gilbert Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2011 ISBN: 9781470801250
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With color, irony, and sensitivity, Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Dillard illuminates the dedication, absurdity, and daring that is the writer’s life. As it probes and exposes, examines and analyzes, The Writing Life offers deeper insight into one of the most mysterious of professions.

A gregarious recluse, Dillard has passed many days, weeks, and months in remote locations doing something she claims to hate: writing. The act of writing is quite the undertaking, as the author struggles to decide whether she has found her subject, hit a dead end, or come up with a truly inspired bit of literature. Here, on top of providing a glimpse into her own life and writing experiences, Dillard offers wisdom to aspiring and established writers, urging them to maintain their passion and commitment to the work.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Annie Dillard is a wonderful writer, and The Writing Life is full of joys.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • The Writing Life is as slim and potent as the Tao Te Ching, that ancient Chinese manual on the art of living…You want to copy out what it says, tape it to your typewriter, fix it with a heavy magnet to your fridge. Her words give courage. They make the daring life seem worthwhile.”

    USA Today

  • “For nonwriters, it is a glimpse into the trials and satisfactions of a life spent with words. For writers, it is a warm, rambling conversation with a stimulating and extraordinarily talented colleague.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “A kind of spiritual Strunk & White, a small and brilliant guidebook to the landscape of a writer’s task…Dillard brings the same passion and connective intelligence to this narrative as she has to her other work.”

    Boston Globe

  • The Writing Life is a spare volume…that has the power and force of a detonating bomb…A book bursting with metaphors and prose bristling with incident.”

    Detroit News

  • “Her book is…scattered with pearls. Each reader will be attracted to different bright parts…Gracefully and simply told, these little stories illuminate the writing life…Her advice to writers is encouraging and invigorating.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “In this collection of short essays, the author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and An American Childhood probes the sorcery that levitates her own writing, discussing with clear eye and wry wit how, where, and why she writes.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Pulitzer Prize–winning author Annie Dillard whimsically explores the process of writing, delving fearlessly into the subconscious and offering practical wisdom…Gilbert imparts Dillard’s examination of the creative process and the heights and depths of an author’s daily struggle with words in a way that exalts.”

    AudioFile

  • Winner of the 1990 Ambassador Book Award for American Arts & Letters

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Roxanne | 2/19/2014

    " This book is rich in anecdotes, pessimism, advice, the romance of writing and personal stories. Its biggest contribution to my life has been that it encouraged me to be a bolder writer. Dillard's words on "not hoardin gone's writing" and sending it out into the world have truly been life-changing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carmen something | 2/14/2014

    " In my path to understand my art I think of oil spils on water. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mark | 2/11/2014

    " As a writer with only one published novel I am always looking to learn more about the writing life, looking to hone my skills, to improve. I had hoped to glean some rare look into how to write skilfully from Dillard's writing. This 111 page book took me three days to read (normally I would have finished in 30 minutes) however I wanted to absorb each gem of knowledge, and so kept reading intently, taking breaks hoping it would get better the next time I picked it up. Most writers seem to spend an inordinate amount of time doing anything to avoid writing Dillard seemed to spend most of her time avoiding writing about writing, and if that was not annoying enough _ I wanted the good stuff - the time she did spend on the writing life was so depressing that if I was reading this book in hopes of becoming a writer I'd have probably gone a slit my wrists. What a complete waste of time this book was. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rene | 2/6/2014

    " added to my inspiration and drive to write. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kilibird | 1/29/2014

    " The Writing Life feels more like an old friend that I can turn to for advice or comfort and less like an inanimate object. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eric | 1/27/2014

    " A good, no-nonsense refresher on what it's like to make the personal readable, which I'm savoring a little bit at a time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Coffy Smith | 1/21/2014

    " Very inspiring, very freeing, and very helpful to an aspiring writer. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Charissa | 1/18/2014

    " I honestly didn't enjoy this book at all. A lot of people tell me what a great book it is, and she did have some good advice, but some of her descriptions of writing made it sound so depressing. It didn't really inspire me to want to write at all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gwen Burrow | 1/15/2014

    " My first taste of Dillard. Was good enough not to be my last. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susannah | 1/14/2014

    " A thought provoking and mind expanding take on the internal process of writing. Interesting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robert Devine | 1/1/2014

    " If you are a writer, you should read this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beckie | 12/14/2013

    " "The Writing Life" is short, beautiful, and terrifying. I don't think I am close enough to the verge of crazy to write a book after reading this one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kelly | 11/17/2013

    " I thought this book was excellent. Very anecdotal. The sort of stuff about writing that I like to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenny | 9/2/2013

    " This is a must-read, not only (or even primarily) for writers or aspiring writers, but for any sort of artist or student of art. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stacey L. Douglas | 5/30/2013

    " Dillard's approach and considerations about writing are engaging and somewhat intimidating - but I gain so much on so many levels that I can't help but to keep re-reading the writing life over and over again. Still so much to learn and enjoy.... on page 17 and pondering "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katy | 9/29/2012

    " I often keep this in my backpack if there's a chance I'm going to write that day. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 8/11/2012

    " Enjoyed it. Much teeth gnashing about the process of writing, some personal anecdotes, a pleasant and unconventional voice. A bit overwrought in terms of the discussion of a writer's suffering, not much in the way of practical advice. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Courtney | 5/14/2012

    " My favorite writing, on writing, by a writer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David J. Kent | 12/15/2011

    " Sometimes interesting insights in this classic book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Roger | 10/12/2011

    " A quiet, reflective book on writing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 4/29/2011

    " Really enjoyed the first chapter of this book. Summer 2011 AP Lang. students will read this. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 4/22/2011

    " You may not learn a lot about how to write from the pages of this book, but it is a very good writing memoir distilled down to the author's philosophy on writing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Laura | 4/11/2011

    " This was not really my cup of tea. The language called attention to itself in a way I found distracting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrew | 3/21/2011

    " A beautifully written, rich take on the writing process and what life is like for some writers. Part reminscence, part instructional, all insightful. This is a must read for anyone interested in the writing process and an eventual career in writing solely for a living. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ruby | 2/11/2011

    " Brilliant!This will be one of those rare books I reread. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Simona | 1/24/2011

    " A visceral and compelling book ... after reading it, I felt that there aren't any excuses I could possibly make for not showing up everyday and writing, regardless of inspiration or inclination. She teaches the path to the authentic self, both in the discipline of writing and in life. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Susan | 1/5/2011

    " An author enamored of herself is quickly tedious. Couldn't get past her self absorption. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa | 12/25/2010

    " Awesome. Her metaphors are detailed and incredible and her description of the writing process is painful but enamoring. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Karen | 12/21/2010

    " I was expecting mor about Annie and her life as a writer. This was more of an abstract poem of scattered thoughts. A quick read. I did enjoy the paragraph about what she learned about writing...to spend it all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rene | 12/15/2010

    " added to my inspiration and drive to write. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenn | 9/23/2010

    " I first read this years ago. Still my number-one favorite book about writing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Thewatersings | 8/30/2010

    " Interesting, fascinating, fun to read...not a whole lot of point to it, but I could relate to some of her experience. I love her passage about editing your work. Excellent and true. "

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About the Author
Author Annie DillardAnnie Dillard has written twelve books, including in nonfiction For the Time Being, Teaching a Stone to Talk, Holy the Firm, and Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
About the Narrator

Tavia Gilbert, an acclaimed narrator of more than four hundred full-cast and multivoice audiobooks for virtually every publisher in the industry, is an eight-time Audie nominee and the recipient of thirteen Earphones Awards, a Voice Arts Award, and a Listen-Up Award. With frequent inclusion on best of year and annual top ten lists, Tavia is a trusted and increasingly sought-after actress for work across every genre, from children’s and YA, to literary fiction, nonfiction, and genre fiction. Audible recently named her a Genre-Defining Narrator: Master of Memoir, and Library Journal said of this highly acclaimed actress, “as close as you can get to a full cast narration with a solo voice.” Tavia is a producer, singer, photographer, and a writer, as well as the cofounder of a feminist publishing company, Animal Mineral, with fiction and nonfiction focusing on relationships, love, and identity.