If there’s a single must-have book for anyone with ambitions of writing — from high-school students to professionals — it’s William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White’s The Elements of Style. That slight, but iconic guide to practical English written grammar gets a spiffy new, hardcover edition for its 50th Anniversary Edition. Although much of the content is available online, there’s nothing like the real thing. The publicity packet also made for a good read (and looks error free, too), with bios and old articles and letters concerning the guide’s early days. Best though, is the roll-call of publishing and literary stars (and oddly, Ben Affleck) waxing poetic on the beloved book.
“I fell in love with Strunk and White’s loathing for cant and bloviation, the ruthless cutting of crap, jargon, and extra words.” – Robert Pinsky
Yeah, bloviation bad! So is breaking rule 5.14 of the book while you’re praising it.
“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.” – Dorothy Parker
“This book is an essential tool. It has been of great use to me and is probably responsible for my best writing. I owe my success to Strunk and White; only the mistakes are mine.” – Ben Affleck, in O, the Oprah Magazine
Because your mom really cares about Ben’s grammar mistakes.