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Book 13 (2014)

  1. Berger, John — Ways of Seeing (149 pages)
  2. Vonnegut, Kurt — God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian (72 pages)
  3. Roth, Joseph — The Legend of the Holy Drinker (100 pages)
  4. Hrabal, Bohumil — Closely Observed Trains (87 pages)
  5. Bloomfield, Barbara & Chris Radley — Couple Therapy: Dramas of Love and Sex (171 pages)
  6. Feist, Raymond E. — Magician (689 pages)
  7. Feist, Raymond E. — Silverthorn (424 pages)
  8. Faber, Michael — Under the Skin (296 pages)
  9. Gourevitch, Philip — We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families: Stories from Rwanda (351 pages)
  10. Feist, Raymond E. — A Darkness at Sethanon (518 pages)
  11. Remarque, Erich Maria — All Quiet on the Western Front (215 pages)
  12. Jones, Gwyneth — White Queen (318 pages)
  13. Strunk, William, Jr., and E. B. White — The Elements of Style (104 pages)
Page count
book cover: The Elements of Style.

I have long wanted to read The Elements of Style. Maybe it is somewhat perverse that someone should want to read a book on style and grammar for fun, but there you go.

Yes, it's a classic, you've all heard of it — and now I know why. It's direct, it's clear, it's informative, and it's fun. Really. I had no idea this sort of book could be so enjoyable.

More importantly, though, it makes me a more confident reader and writer. I confirmed several of the "rules" I thought I knew but wasn't sure of, realised where I was wrong, and learned new concepts. I plan to revisit this little book often and would recommend it to everyone.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 7th, 2015 04:42 pm (UTC)
Don't let any of my several linguist friends hear you say that. They abominate Strunk & White, saying that most of their rules are "prescriptivist poppycock" and that they don't even follow their own rules.
Feb. 7th, 2015 04:56 pm (UTC)
Is their criticism based on the idea that language evolves and books such as this attempt to freeze such evolution? If so, I believe this is a point addressed either in Roger Angell's Foreward or White's Introduction.
Feb. 7th, 2015 05:46 pm (UTC)
I don't think it's quite as simple as that -- part of it is that a lot of these "rules" were invented by Victorians who thought English should be more like Latin, and a good many of them have been ignored by great writers of English ever since there have been such people.
Feb. 8th, 2015 02:28 am (UTC)
I've wanted to read this for ages and still plan to do so (as an English major, theatre minor, and librarian... duh). But I also agree that beyond language evolving, I've learned more recently about how we judge people for how they use language, often in ways that are based in racism.

David Foster Wallace says it better than I can, though. In looking for a link to his essay on the topic, I found this description:
Tense Present
Perhaps the finest review of an English usage dictionary - this classic essay touches on everything from race bias in academia and the evolution of language to the pros and cons on non-standard English.


Feb. 8th, 2015 02:33 am (UTC)
Thanks for the link. I look forward to reading it. :)
Feb. 8th, 2015 02:41 am (UTC)
You're up late :-P

I will confess, I've tried to read that essay several times and can't get through it. I find his writing style to be impenetrable for my brain, but I have a lot of respect for him and have heard this essay referenced by other people in these types of conversations.
Feb. 8th, 2015 02:46 am (UTC)
I was getting ready for bed when I heard the email notification from upstairs, so I've come downstairs to mute the laptop. ;) Good night!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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