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Buy This Book: The Elements of Style Illustrated

Another nod to back-to-school week. Jerusha and I stopped into a local bookstore on our way up to the university today and grabbed this wonderful illustrated edition of the classic "little book" we all know and love. It's even more knowable and lovable with the whimsically instructive illustrations of artist, author, designer Maira Kalman. You'll recognize the style if you're a regular reader of the New Yorker or an Cheerios-in-your-hair consumer of children's books. Ms. Kalman's include Swami on Rye: Max in India and What Pete Ate from A to Z. She's also designed fabric for Isaac Mizrahi, accessories for Kate Spade, and accessory and gifts items for the Museum of Modern Art.

This is the perfect edition of S&W for Jerusha, who is both hip chick and writerly type, and I'm not the least bit embarrassed that I was a teary eyed nerd mommy handing it to her. I've owned and worn ragged one copy after another since I was in 4th grade, and each one carried a story. It's the -- make that THE -- most important reference book for any writer's bookshelf.

From Strunk's introduction to the original 1918 edition:
It is an old observation that the best writers sometimes disregard the rules of rhetoric. When they do so, however, the reader will usually find in the sentence some compensating merit, attained at the cost of the violation. Unless he is certain of doing as well, he will probably do best to follow the rules. After he has learned, by their guidance, to write plain English adequate for everyday uses, let him look, for the secrets of style, to the study of the masters of literature.
(Far be it from me to point out the unclarified antecedent in that paragraph.)


Anonymous said…
Love my S&W, along with the idea of introducing a classic to a new audience with the hip illustrations! Thanks for sharing!

Colleen, whose Blogger won't play nicely and let her sign in

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