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Month in review

Reviews:
Alphabet Rescue by Audrey Wood
The Avenger of Love by Jack Skillingstead
Blaze by Stephen King
The Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman
The Brave Little Toaster by Thomas M. Disch
The Eighth Day of the Week by Marek Hlasko
The Elephants of Style by Bill Walsh
Emiko Superstar by Mariko Tamaki
Father Malachy's Miracle by Bruce Marshall
Free to Be... You and Me by Marlo Thomas
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Harold's Fairy Tale by Crockett Johnson
Hunger by Elise Blackwell
Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz
Look at Me by Anita Brookner
Lost by Gregory Maguire
The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Randy Udall
Poor Poor Ophelia by Carolyn Weston
Recovering Charles by Jason F. Wright
The Ride by Tom Brandner
Shadow-Below by Robert Reed
The Sneakiest Pirates by Dalton James
Sorcerers of Majipoor by Robert Silverberg
The Spiral Briar by Sean McMullen
The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark by Ken Geist
Through Endangered Eyes by Rachel Allen Dillon
Timepiece by Richard Paul Evans
The Tribes of Bela by Albert E. Cowdrey
The Valley of the Giants by Peter B. Kyne
"A Wild and Wicked Youth" by Ellen Kushner
Without Sin by J. Thomas
Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth

Ulysses:
Episode 10: The Wandering Rocks: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead Episode 11: Sirens: Our Man in Havana
Episode 12: The Cyclops: Pick-a-Little Episode 13: Nausicaä: Petting in the Park
Episode 14: Oxen in the Sun: The Critic in the Cabernet


Miscellaneous:
Susan Vreeland

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Comments for The Elephants of Style

The Elephants of StyleThe Elephants of Style: 05/05/09

I picked up The Elephants of Style by Bill Walsh because I liked the title, a silly little pun on The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr., E.B. White (1957). The book promises a "trunkload of tips on the big issues and gray areas of contemporary American English."

The book has fourteen elephants covering key points of writing and editing. Walsh starts out with the basic reminder that most modern-day writers probably aren't writing on a typewriter. With word processors it is no longer necessary or desirable to leave two spaces after a period. If you write or blog for the web you'll know that web browsers don't render any extra spaces after the first one unless it's hard coded as a non-breaking space.

From the typewriter advice, Walsh moves onto spelling (and common errors), capitalization, abbreviations, problem pairs (picking the right word), word agreement, plurals and possessives, numbers, punctuation, quibbles about style, plagiarism and finally editing. The Elephants of Style is a good starting point for writing well in American English. It won't make your writing perfect. Walsh also reiterates a number of times that writers should double check his advice against their companies' style guides.

For the most part I enjoyed The Elephants of Style but I think the advice on writing for the web feels dated. I realize that back in the early days of commercialization of the internet, the phrase World Wide Web was coined (that's the www that shows up on most URLs) but the capitalization of "Web" in web site (or more preferable website) or web page (or webpage) stinks of marketing. Techies tend to write the terms as website or webpage and marketing folks tend to go for Web site and Web page.

Now for URLs, if you're writing on the web, don't spell out the URL. Instead, spell out the name of the page and then link to it. Your reader, if interested, will click on it. If you are writing for print, it still looks nicer to have the site's name spelled out (so Yahoo instead of www.yahoo.com). If you want to include the URL, please include it as a footnote or endnote.

Read Bill Walsh's blog: The Slot

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