My latest book—released on 11/27/2021
What’s it about? See my recent blog post for more information!
While you’re at it, check out my first book (now in its second edition), published 3/27/21:
The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition (2017). I was introduced to CMOS during my formal copyediting training. It is the bible of copyeditors and writers, and the mother of all style guides. A massive tome (1,000+ pages), CMOS covers everything from A-to-Z pertaining to writing, editing, and publishing. For me, it is the default style guide for all writing and copyediting projects.
Garner’s Modern English Usage, 4th edition, by Bryan A. Garner (2016). Another heavyweight in terms of pages (again, 1000+), GMEU is a book I can and do pore over for hours on end. It is the latest—and easily greatest—in a long line of usage guides, in the tradition of H.W. Fowler’s 1926 classic Dictionary of Modern English Usage.
The Elements of Style, 4th edition, by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White. (2000, 2009). In contrast to the above books, TEOS is a lightweight, with just over 100 pages. But it is a classic in its own right, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a basic, clearly written style and usage guide. A more recent (2011) updated version is available for Kindle.
The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need, by Susan Thurman (2002). A brief (184-page) but adequately thorough book on grammar. There are even a couple of handy chapters on the writing process that students will find helpful.
On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction, by William Zinsser (1976, 2006). One of the great classics on writing. Zinsser says that “Good writing has an aliveness that keeps the reader reading from one paragraph to the next, and it’s not a question of gimmicks . . . it’s a question of using the English language in a way that will achieve the greatest clarity and strength” (p. 5). One of my all-time favorites.
Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch: Let Verbs Power Your Writing, by Constance Hale (2012). Do you know all about verb tense, mood, and voice? How well do you understand participles, gerunds, irregular verbs, and phrasal verbs? Do you know why these things matter (and they do matter) and how mastering them will make your writing shine brighter? This book provides the answers. Hale includes many examples from real life and literature to illuminate the concepts, along with plenty of endnotes and an extensive bibliography to warm the hearts of readers who care to dig deeper. I highly recommend this book to seasoned writers, aspiring writers, copyeditors, and students (high school and college).
Roget’s International Thesaurus, 7th edition, edited by Barbara Ann Kipfer. Every writer must have a good thesaurus. I recommend this classic.
The Best Punctuation Book, Period, by June Casagrande (2014), is, in fact, the best punctuation book I’ve found. I consult it often for help on sticky punctuation questions. The author reviews punctuation rules according to four of the major editing style guides: The Chicago Manual of Style, the Associated Press Stylebook, the APA style guide, and the MLA style guide.