I am an introvert through and through. I like solitude. I enjoy sorting through my thoughts or dreaming up stories to entertain myself. I am shy at times and find it hard to operate in intimate sit-down-and-chat parties, where small talk is the mode for socializing. Last year, when I was hooked on TED Talks, I came across Susan Cain’s TED Talk. It intrigued me that someone who claims to be shy could do such a compelling, and at times funny, talk. Upon discovering that she had written a book about introverts, I became excited and immediately wanted to purchase it. But, being one of the many postgrads with a huge student loan, I was unable to quickly attain what I desired. A few months passed before I could purchase it.
Cain’s book is just as compelling as her TED Talk albeit longer. Like most nonfiction books these days, it is written for a mainstream audience and deftly mixes narrative with facts and data to engage the common reader and sustain his interest. Cain is a bit heavy with the narrative and sometimes the reader will tire of the stories but the reader will hardly want to skip them since they help to illustrate the facts Cain states. Basically, the stories are not unnecessary. Cain ensures that they all tie into the facts that she plans to expound on, or that they highlight those facts she has already stated. The narratives range from a peek at Rosa Parks’ personality at the beginning of the book to a profile on Asian students in California to stories on notable businessmen who benefit from being an introvert. These stories help to demystify some tales associated with being classified an introvert and highlight its benefits.
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.