Lollygagger’s #CBR5 Review #26: The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

That’s right. For my 26th book (halfway there!) I decided to finally read through this classic guide to writing. The copy I picked up is a special illustrated edition, which made me feel as though I were reading something more elaborate than a small grammar and style textbook.

This book has been around for years, with multiple versions and editions dating back to the 1920s. It is a slim book containing six chapters that have been finely edited to provide the reader with just enough guidance to improve his or her writing without weighing him or her down with hundreds of individual rules.  It covers grammar, composition, form, expressions, style rules and spelling.

You may be asking yourself why someone might choose to read this book cover to cover, as opposed to perhaps purchasing it to keep as a reference. I will certainly keep it as a reference, but I found that by reading through it I received a much-needed refresher on grammar rules (although Mr. Strunk and I disagree on what is commonly known as the ‘Oxford Comma’ – he uses it and I don’t). I also appreciated the composition and style suggestions. As I have been writing more this year – both for the Cannonball Read and for my own blog – I appreciate suggestions to help improve my writing. Mr. Strunk and Mr. White appreciate brevity and the willingness to take a stance on a topic when writing and I can benefit from incorporating both suggestions more often.

The most relevant lesson for me was woven throughout the book and mentioned in different areas: the lesson of clarity. Why try to sound fancy when fewer words would be clearer to the reader? Keeping both by message and the reader in mind should help me to improve my writing over time.

I recommend that you purchase a copy to use if you write often as well as if you write rarely; in both instances it is likely that you could benefit from style refresher.

Rochelle’s #CBR5 Review #1: Playing Well With Others by Jay Harrington and Mollena Williams

The full title of the book is “Playing Well With Others: Your Field Guide to Discovering, Exploring, and Navigating the Kink, Leather, and BDSM Communities.”   This is the book we need in a post-“50 Shades of Gray” world.  The authors, both highly respected in the kink community, present their information in a manner that is kind, funny, knowledgable and straight forward.

I didn’t read “50 Shades of Gray,” so I can’t comment on the accuracy of its portrayal of BDSM.  But, I have read other BDSM romances.  The BDSM Romance genre is to BDSM as the Historical Romance genre is to historical fact.  Here’s what you might expect to find if you went to a kinky club after reading a bunch of BDSM romance: most of the women are, unbeknownst to them, submissive and just waiting for the right dominant man to show them what they really need.  All the men are ridiculously good looking, successful, and wealthy.  All the women are gorgeous, even if they think they are fat.  Everybody is having amazing sex all the time.

The reality is so far from the fantasy.

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