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Writers: Their Lives and Works

"The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself." ~ Albert Camus

Since the beginning of time, people have been fascinated by words -- and those who yield them. Who are these artists who can string together a selection of otherwise random words and weave them. The result? A sentence, a theme, sometimes simple, other times complex, but at all times having the potential to shift our thoughts and influence our behaviours.

Most of us dream of becoming a writer, but few actually have the gumption to follow a path laden with toil, tears, and the tedium of starting from scratch over and over again. But true writers aren't in it for the rewards. They enjoy the journey. They crave characters coming to life and jumping off the page. This is the path to the great idea that works, it is what gets writers up at at the break of dawn, and keeps them up long past dusk when the candle has frittered away. 

At almost every author's event that I've attended, one common question that is asked perpetually is, "What's your writing routine?" Somehow all of us are naively hoping that if we adapt the routine that great writers do, we too will be able to write the next great novel. 

We also look for inspiration from writers' pasts. How did they live? What inspired them? And, while in the past I've been prone to googling my favourite authors for quotes and inspiration, I am happy to say, those days of contributing to Google hits, are now limited. I have fallen in love with DK Canada's Writers: Their Lives and Works. And if you love the written word, and the scribes who pen them, you'll love the book too.

It goes without saying, that some of my favourite authors like Jane Austen, made the illustrious list. There are things I already knew about Jane Austen, considered one of Britain's greatest novelists, who painted a vivid picture of the society of her time with deft irony. She was known to have a penetrating eye for character and is sometimes critiqued for writing mostly about money and advantageous marriages, but as the book suggests, an obsession with these themes is understandable considering the times. 

There were a few things that I was not aware of about my beloved author. For one, although Jane Austen was a pioneering novelist, she was not the first British woman to make her mark in this field. Novelists like Fanny Burney (1752-1840) and Maria Edgeworth (1767-1849) had already gained significant success long before Jane Austen's career was established.

I could go on and on, but this is the kind of book you explore by yourself. From Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), Naguib Mahfouz (1911-2006), to Arundhati Roy (born 1961), there is a writer's story that will appeal to everyone. And seeing all the inspiring writers' lives, may inspire you to expand your book choices. 

If you'd like to learn about more writers, I encourage you to follow my Instagram channel where I will be featuring some quotes from DK Canada's Writers: Their Lives and Works

Blog Post by Shilpa Raikar, who believes in the power of storytelling to connect readers, and strives for diversity and inclusivity. 

Writers: Their Lives and Works is published by DK Publishing. Copy provided by DK Canada.

Review by @SukasaReads (a division of @SukasaStyle)