If you could give a beginning writer only one book, this might be the one to pick. This venerable work, which has been helping writers for over 60 years, continues in a traditional format: the first 550-plus pages feature 110 chapters drawn mainly from The Writer magazine. Written by well-known authors, these chapters offer practical advice on topics as varied as writer's block, dialog, genre writing, book contracts, and even how to kill off characters. Then, an interview section features interviews with authors such as Wally Lamb, Sue Miller, and Doris Lessing. The second half of the book lists markets for all kinds of writing--articles, fiction, drama, and books--along with helpful information about literary prizes, writer's colonies, writer's conferences, and literary agents. Some of this material covers the same territory as The Writer's Market (F&W Pub., annual), which generally has more and longer listings; for the most part, The Writer's Handbook does not list telephone numbers, FAX numbers, or URLs, providing readers only with U.S. mail addresses. And while the markets are indexed, other aspects of the book are not. But, quibbles aside, this handbook packs a lot of useful information into one volume and should be of use to beginning, intermediate, and freelance writers. Most libraries will find it essential to have a recent edition of this standard reference work.