As a blogger of daily writing tips, I need to make sure that my source of information is not only trustworthy, but written in a way that’s easy to follow and understand. There are so many books, websites and magazines offering such information and it’s easy to spend all day looking things up. I only have limited time each day so need to be able to reference things quickly and easily and be confident that any links I include aren’t going to disappear after a few months.
One of my readers, Vikki (The View Outside), left a comment last week asking what books I use as a reference and in particular if I have something that I refer to as my ‘bible’. The answer is that I have had so many sources of information over the months which means that I’m never short of ideas – they are everywhere (and not limited to books) and never a day goes by without me being drawn to an idea to use for a post. Today I’ll focus on books; however, over the next few days I will list other sources that I use. Here are the eight books that I refer to:
- Collins English Dictionary & Thesaurus. Everyone needs a good dictionary and thesaurus. My mum and dad bought me a large Collins English Dictionary & Thesaurus a few years ago which I now couldn’t do without (although it is quite heavy and possibly needs a small table to itself).
- Colllins ‘Improve your…’ range of books, by Graham King. Last year I discovered this set of 3 great books Improve you Grammar, Improve Your Punctuation and Improve Your Writing Skills (you can buy them individually as well). The titles speak for themselves, but in particular I like the Improve your Writing Skills as it has so many bizarre things in there like information about Gobbledegook, Euphemism, Jargon, Clichés and many more.
- The Queen’s English and how to use it, by Bernard C Lamb. I love this book as it’s easy to follow and has great little sketches throughout which breaks it up a bit. When writing about grammar, punctuation and general writing skills, I try to refer to this book to get Bernard C Lamb’s view.
- Oxford A-Z of Grammar & Punctuation, by John Seely – Very structured and arranged alphabetically, so can be referenced quickly. It starts with an introduction to grammar followed by over 300 headwords, for example, adjectives, past participles, subordinate clauses and zero relative. Lots of concise explanations of things you feel you should know already! (Sometimes when I look something up, I feel that I should have paid more attention at school!).
- The Little Red Writing Book, by Brandon Royal. A book full of 20 principles based on the four pillars of writing - one of my favourites as it’s very clear and concise and the information is in bite sized chunks. It has many examples and tools to use and definitely a must have for the book shelf. I also love the bright red cover and the picture of the fox on the front.
- The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White. Great source of reference and first published in 1935 by Oliver Strunk; however, there have been many editions since then. I have a fiftieth anniversary black hardback edition with gold writing and it sits proudly on my bookshelf. I tend to refer to it if I want a more traditional way of thinking.
- The Pocket Writer’s Handbook, by Martin Manser & Stephen Curtis. This is about grammar, usage, spelling and punctuation. It fits nicely in a handbag and I carried it around a lot during the first few months of this blog. Again, it’s great for quickly refering to something.
- Eats, shoots & Leaves, by Lynne Truss. You may have heard of this book – it is an account of Lynne’s “zero tolerance approach to punctuation”. The book is all about her account of why punctuation matters and it’s written in a very amusing way - I tend to quote Lynne if I want to inject a bit of humour into my post.
More about my online sources of information tomorrow. Thanks Vikki for the inspiration for today’s post.
- Eats, Shoots and Leaves (wondersuntold.wordpress.com)
- Book Review: “Eats, Shoots & Leaves” by Lynne Truss (babblewocky.wordpress.com)
- The danger of Eats Shoots and Leaves (thescroobiouspip.com)
- Strunk and White (writerswritedaily.wordpress.com)
- A Brief History of The Elements of Style and What Makes It Great (brainpickings.org)