10 Best Books on Essay Writing (You Should Read Today)

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You can improve your essay writing skills with practice, repetition, and perusing books on essay writing, which are full of useful examples. 

It’s true that you can become a better writer naturally, by observing the world, living your life to the fullest, and reading works of great essayists.

But to write better, and crush your next writing assignment, you can grab one of the top essay writing manuals.

If you want to produce great pieces of writing and impress your peers and teachers, check the below list of the best books from this genre.

Just remember that if you want to try your hand at being a professional essay writer, you need to understand the finer points of writing one first.

Not everyone who’s good at writing can become an essay writer. You need a certain sense of structure, format, and tone that is required to excel at the highest level.

You might have noticed that for major college admissions, writing an essay is the last, yet most important step.

Also, if you’re planning to write a college admission essay, you can also check my article on how to write a great essay.

“I hate writing, I love having written.” – Dorothy Parker


Here are 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
Published: 2016


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. 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
Published: 2016


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
Published: 2003


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 the prerequisite 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
Published: 2013


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
Published: 1995


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
Published: 2001


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)


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
Published: 2017


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.

Length: 250
Published: 2014


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 results from 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.

Length: 224
Published: 2017

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?

Rafal Reyzer

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