The Art of X-Ray Reading

  • by Roy Peter Clark
  • Narrated by Jefferson Mays
  • 8 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Roy Peter Clark, one of America's most influential writing teachers, offers writing lessons we can draw from 25 great texts.
Where do writers learn their best moves? They use a technique that Roy Peter Clark calls X-ray reading, a form of reading that lets you penetrate beyond the surface of a text to see how meaning is actually being made.
In The Art of X-Ray Reading, Clark invites you to don your X-ray reading glasses and join him on a guided tour through some of the most exquisite and masterful literary works of all time, from The Great Gatsby to Lolita to The Bluest Eye and many more. Along the way, he shows you how to mine these masterpieces for invaluable writing strategies that you can add to your arsenal and apply in your own writing. Once you've experienced X-ray reading, your writing will never be the same again.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

So Good I Bought the Print Version

Would you consider the audio edition of The Art of X-Ray Reading to be better than the print version?

I will soon know the answer to this question. I enjoyed the Audible version so much I decided to buy a print version in order to underline and notate key parts.


What other book might you compare The Art of X-Ray Reading to and why?

Eats, Shoots and Leaves although this book is much better than that one.


Which character – as performed by Jefferson Mays – was your favorite?

There are no real characters in this book unless you consider the books chosen to be examined. In that case, my favorite part was the section on Flannery O'Connor, a wonderful short story writer. After hearing that section I was even more impressed by O'Connor's skill.


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This is a very entertaining book even though it is actually a book about reading in order to improve your writing. Great writing coupled with an excellent narrator have made this a most entertaining book. I appreciate favorite authors even more than before as the nuances of their skill is uncovered.


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- Jan

surprisingly fun and informative

What did you love best about The Art of X-Ray Reading?

The excerpts from books I haven't read that are now on my reading list- Clark brought many great passages to my attention! I also did learn to pay closer attention to certain details of good prose as promised by the book. I will give myself permission to slow down and savor good sentences a bit more. Sometimes it seems like good writing and attention to style is overlooked these days and Clark offers a remedy to this.


What was one of the most memorable moments of The Art of X-Ray Reading?

The chapter in which the author treats Rachel Carson's 'The Sea Around Us.' Gorgeous excerpts, fascinating analysis.


Have you listened to any of Jefferson Mays’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

The narrator did a great job. The reading is faithful to the erudite yet fun tone of the book and keeps the listener engaged with a warm, lively tone and energy.
My only quibble is that sometimes the reading is a touch too fast- the format of the book is spaced out with lots of excerpts, lists, and new paragraph headings, but without more of a pause between them it isn't always immediately clear in whose voice the narrator is reading- whether it be the author's or a character or author ffrom a referenced book.


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- Nicolette Bundy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-26-2016
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio