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According to Monica Wood, every writer needs two critics: one who offers unconditional praise and another who tells only truth. Wood's Pocket Muse does both--"on some pages you get a pat on the head, on others a kick in the seat"--and more. Every page of this pretty little book is devoted to helping you "jumpstart a writing session, inspire confidence, or strengthen your resolve." There are intriguing writing exercises, thought-provoking photographs, offbeat quotations from writers, enticing unfinished sentences, mini writing lessons, quirky word lists, stories from the writing trenches, and a generous dose of encouragement. "Write about a noise--or a silence--that won't go away," Wood suggests. "Someone has left a note on a car windshield," she offers. Books of this sort are often forced, or cute, or more about spirituality than writing. Not The Pocket Muse. It is a lively, appealing companion for a writer in need of a good nudge. --Jane Steinberg [via]