“Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace” by Joseph M. Williams

Cover of "Style: The Basics of Clarity an...
Cover via Amazon

In my short lifetime of 23 or 24 years, I’ve read various grammar books and booklets but this is the first that I’ve encountered one that is easy to read, understand, and even enjoy. Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace by Joseph M. Williams was a joy to read. I could hardly put it down at times. The language was clear and his examples and explanations were easy to follow and comprehend. The only problem that I encountered while reading this booklet was a personal one, which was trying to commit all the tips to memory and employ them in my own writing. But such a thing is difficult to do and requires practice.

It takes a lot of practice to be a great writer. According to Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers, a person becomes an expert at their selected art/study when she has worked at it for 10 years (I forgot the total hours that equals to). I guess that’s why academia requires of us to spend 10 years dedicated to the study of our chosen field in order to be considered a master (doctorate, whatever): 4 years of undergrad, 2 years of graduate studies (sometimes), 2 years of practice in the field, 2 years for postdoctorate studies (something like that). Since I’ve been reading, writing, and editing consistently from I was a wee lass, and have spent 4 years studying English as my major, I do believe that my moment of genius in the field is right around the corner, despite whatever errors in grammar I might or might not make while writing these blogs. Not once have I faltered on my daily regimen of reading and writing. I am, therefore, a literary genius in the making.

Big smile 😀

Williams’ little book is not only for writers, but for readers as well. I am a believer that readers will gain as much insight as writers if they should read a grammar book and Style proved this to be true. In Style, Williams takes us through various lessons by using the technique of “close reading”: reading between the lines; considering what is implied by what the author does or doesn’t say. Also, a grammar book helps readers by causing them to consider the language the author uses and how he employs it in his work.

All around, Style is a great grammar book that all (students, writers, readers, and children of the technology-era) should read.

“Redwall” by Brian Jacques

US cover of Redwall
US cover of Redwall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So there I was. In my house. Standing in front of my bookcase that’s overflowing with books I’ve purchased but the majority of which I haven’t read. At that moment, I was trying to decide on a new book to read but was having difficulty choosing one (a chic lit) over the other (some classic novel). Then, out of nowhere, pops my baby brother (a grown 15 or 16-year-old) asking me if he could borrow my copy of Redwall since he read it as a child and wanted to read it again. At that instant, I realized that I, too, read Redwall as a child but for some reason I did not read the other books in the series. That made me curious. Even as a child, I always stuck to a book’s series until I read the last one.  My decision was made. I would read Redwall and try to recall why I decided not to bother reading the rest of the series. With that decision made, I told my baby bro to take his butt down the road to the library, where I’m sure he would find a copy of the book.

I probably should have given Redwall to my bro instead. I tried my best and pushed through the pages but 221 was my limit. At page 221, I decided to close the book and move on to something else, something more exciting. I did not need to read past page 221 because the plot of the book was so predictable that I knew what would happen in the end: Matthias and his comrades will defeat Cluny and his hoard; it’s likely that no one on Matthias’ side will get killed but most, if not all, the key figures on Cluny’s side will die, which means only Cluny because he is the only key figure on his side.

Continue reading ““Redwall” by Brian Jacques”

“The Legend of the Sleepy Hollow and Other Macabre Tales” by Washington Irving

Available at Barnes & Noble

Totally love this book although I rushed through it at the end. The tales are unsettling but not scary. I’ve always heard of them and assumed that they were very scary, probably because of the movies inspired by them. I found Legend of the Sleepy Hollow with Johnny Depp very scary.

Washington Irving is a great short story writer and I love his witty writing style and his descriptions: detailed but not burdensome. I also enjoy the little lessons he incorporated into the stories and the unexpected endings. These are tales and legends and I love the way they are told: like when one sits by a camp fire at midnight and listen to a wizened elder retell tales that have been passed down from generations.

Definitely makes me want to read up on some Dutch folk tales.