You can improve your essay writing skills with practice, repetition, and by putting in the necessary work.
You can also become a better writer almost involuntarily, just by observing the world, living your life to the fullest, and reading everything you can put your hands on. This can definitely help if you want to start writing for a living.
But sometimes there’s a need for more specific knowledge that will accelerate your progress. If you want to produce great pieces of writing and impress your peers and teachers, you should take a look at the following list of best books on essay writing.
I hate writing, I love having written. – Dorothy Parker
10 Books That Will Help You With Essay Writing
1. A Professor’s Guide to Writing Essays: The No-Nonsense Plan for Better Writing by Dr. Jacob Neumann
This is the highest-rated book on the subject available on the market right now. It’s written for students at any level of education. The author uses an unorthodox approach, claiming that breaking essays down into different formats is unnecessary.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a persuasive or a narrative essay – the difference is not in how you write, but rather in how you build your case.
Length: 118 pages
A wonderful guide for achieving college to professional level essay writing. Useful for both professors and students.
2. College Essay Essentials: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Successful College Admissions Essay – by Ethan Sawyer
Every year, millions of high-schoolers scramble to achieve above-average GPAs and score well on the SAT, or in some cases, the ACT, or both. On top of that, they also have to write a 650-word essay and find their way to their dream college. If you’re one of them, then make sure you read this concise book.
Ethan Sawyer (The College Essay Guy), breaks the whole essay-writing process down into simple steps and shows you the way around the most common mistakes college applicants usually make.
Length: 256 pages
A comprehensive guide on writing impactful college admission essays. Packed with great examples, brainstorming exercises, and other writing aids.
3. The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need: A One-Stop Source for Every Writing Assignment by Susan Thurman
The institution of a grammar school is defunct, but it doesn’t mean you can ignore the basic rules that govern your language. If you’re writing an essay or a college paper, you better keep your grammar tight.
Otherwise, your grades will drop dramatically because professors abhor simple grammar mistakes. By reading this little book, you’ll make sure your writing is pristine.
Length: 192 pages
4. Escape Essay Hell!: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Narrative College Application Essays by Janine W. Robinson
A well-written essay has immense power. Not only that it is one of the prerequisites to getting admitted to colleges and universities, but you also have to tackle a few essay questions in most, if not all exams you will ever take for career or academic advancement. For instance, when taking the LSAT to qualify for law school, or the MCAT to get into med school, or the DAT to pursue a degree in dentistry or even the GRE or GMAT as the first step in earning a master’s degree.
That is why this book is highly recommended to anyone navigating through the sea of higher learning.
In this amusing book, Janine Robinson focuses mostly on writing narrative essays. She’s been helping college-bound students to tell unique stories for over a decade and you’ll benefit from her expert advice.
The book contains 10 easy steps that you can follow as a blueprint for writing the best “slice of life” story ever told.
Length: 76 pages
Let former journalist and magazine editor Janine Robinson teach you the rudiments of writing impactful narrative essays.
5. The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present by Phillip Lopate
This large volume is a necessary diversion from the subject of formal, highly constrained types of writing. It focuses only on the genre of the personal essay which is much more free-spirited, creative, and tongue-and-cheek-like.
Phillip Lopate, himself an acclaimed essayist gathers seventy of the best essays of this type and lets you draw timeless lessons from them.
Length: 777 pages
Deviate from the formal form of essay and delve into the personal kind. Learn how to write life essays from a treasure trove of great examples.
6. The Best American Essays of the Century by Joyce Carol Oates
The art of the modern essay starts with Voltaire at the beginning of the eighteen century. Since then, many a writer attempted to share their personal stories and philosophical musings in this free-flowing form. Americans are no different.
In this anthology, Joyce Carol Oates shares some fantastic reads which you need to absorb if you want to become a highly-skilled polemicist.
Length: 624 pages
Part of the Best American Series, this book features essays from Martin Luther King Jr., Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, Susan Sontag, Maya Angelou, and more.
7. On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser
On Writing Well is a classic writing guide that will open your eyes to the art of producing clear-cut copy. Zinsser approached the subject of writing with a warm, cheerful attitude that seeps through the pages of his masterpiece.
Whether you want to describe places, communicate with editors, self-edit your copy, or avoid verbosity, this book will have the right answer for you.
Length: 336 pages
Published: 2016 (reprint edition)
This book has been helping budding and professional writers for more than three decades. Sold more than a million copies.
8. How To Write Any High School Essay: The Essential Guide by Jesse Liebman
The previous titles I mentioned were mostly for “grown-up” writers, but the list wouldn’t be complete without a book for ambitious high-school students.
Its length is appropriate, making it possible even for the most ADHD’d among us to get through it. It contains expert advice, easy to implement essay outlines, and tips on finding the best topics and supporting them with strong arguments.
Length: 124 pages
The inside information in writing great essays to impress teachers. Comprehensive and easy-to-follow instructions for high school and middle school students.
9. Essential Writing Skills for College and Beyond by C.M. Gill
On average, after finishing high school or college, Americans read only around twelve books per year. This is a pity because books contain a wealth of information. People at the top of the socio-economic ladder read between forty and sixty books per year – and you should too!
But reading is just one skill that gets neglected after college. Writing is the other one. By reading the “Essential Writing Skills” you’ll be able to crush all of your college writing assignments and use them throughout your life to sharpen your prose.
College students would find this illustrated edition paperback truly helpful in writing high-level compositions. Also available in Kindle edition.
10. The Hidden Machinery: Essays on Writing by Margot Livesey
If you want to write, you first need to read some of the best essays ever written. Developing your own style is a result of conversing with great minds, and then borrowing from them to create something new. All great artists are inspired by someone.
In Hidden Machinery, Margot Livesey shares her essays on what makes good fiction and a strong narrative. It’s a must-read for all aspiring writers.
How did you like this article? Are you going to read any of the books listed above? Can you recommend any other book which I should add to this list? Please let me know by leaving a comment below.