Archive for April 4, 2003

Friday, April 4, 2003 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Style

Peter Lindberg:

Dale Emery wrote to recommend Joseph M. Williams’s Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace, calling it a Refactoring for writers. That definitely sounds interesting!

Both books are good, and the comparison is apt. I actually prefer Williams’s other Style book to the one above. It has basically the same material without the classroom angle. Style is the most useful book I’ve found about writing. Strunk and White motivate: “make every word tell” and “omit needless words.” Williams helps you refactor your writing to actually do that. (Of course, it’s a never-ending struggle.) When I was studying psycholinguistics a few years ago, I read a bunch of papers that (unknowingly) verified some of Williams’s claims. Perhaps prescriptivists and descripivists aren’t so far apart after all.

Michael Kelly Killed in Iraq

Washington Post:

Michael Kelly, the Atlantic Monthly editor-at-large and Washington Post columnist who abandoned the safety of editorial offices to cover the war in Iraq, has been killed in a Humvee accident while traveling with the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division.

I thank him for creating the new Atlantic Monthly, one of my favorite publications.

Quote of the Day

The best writing is rewriting. —E. B. White