Read Like a Writer Book Club

[W]reading Wednesdays Begin!

Stack of book on my desk.  Photo: Theresa Duncan

Reading season is here! You, a book, and (choose from the following:) a) a park bench, b) a community pool, c) a beach (lucky you!), d) a reading nook, e) a coffee house, f) all of the above. That scenario feels like a day off to most writers. We are constantly reading at least one book, it seems. I have two right now: one fiction for my local indie bookstore’s club, one non-fiction on writing. As Stephen King says, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.” We writers take this advice very seriously.

Reading Like a Writer

Stacking Stones Writers “book club” is different than many. Each Wednesday, I will post a summary of a book I have read in the last two months in the genres of fiction, non-fiction, and memoir, including a short summary of the book. The twist: I will give you a list of three or four ways in which reading that book might give you ideas of style, layout, and tools to help you in your own writing.

Sound cool? I think so!

Your role? Read whichever book(s) appeal to you and post how reading this book may have solved something in your own writing.

Ready? Let’s begin!

A Job You Mostly Won’t Know How To Do by Pete Fromm

2019; Counterpoint, Berkeley, CA; 324 pages; $26.


This fiction novel is about a young couple just starting their lives together in a fixer-upper in Missoula, Montana.  When Marnie dies in childbirth, Taz must learn to raise their daughter, Midge, by himself.  A carpenter, Taz struggles to find a balance of work and parenting a newborn alone, while his friend, Rudy, and others help however they can, however Taz will let them.   

Read Like a Writer:

Things to notice:

  • Short chapters keep the reader moving and helps alleviate some weight of the protagonist’s grief and struggle. How might this format help in your writing?
  • Material is arranged as a timeline, rather than in chapter titles, beginning two months before the birth and ending after Day 509 with Day One, indicating the start of something new. How might this format help your readers?
  • The city of Missoula, Montana, and the surrounding area, as well as the characteristics of the area, are well rendered and accurately reflect what it is like to live in Missoula, as I have.  (Not much detail about the setting, but enough so you get the gist of what it is like to live here.) Whether fictitious or real, how well do you know the place you are writing about?
  • Fromm uses believable characters, dialogue, and actions to show, rather than tell, the plight of his protagonist. How could you add dialogue to a slow section of your own work?

If you choose this book, please comment how reading this book like a writer helped you.

Happy reading… ~T

At Stacking Stones Writers, I seek to create a community of writers, a place you can go to find encouragement for your passion – writing.  Please follow the Stacking Stones Writers blog to have easy access to all the tips, tools, and ideas shared here.  Thank you!

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