The glamour of grammar

A new book by Poynter Institute scholar Roy Peter Clark aims to put the glamour back in grammar. He also offers up his favourite writing books.

A new book by Poynter Institute scholar Roy Peter Clark aims to put the glamour back in grammar. He also offers up his favourite writing books.

In a guest column for Barnesandnoble.com, Clark promotes his practical guide to writing, The Glamour of Grammar, and offers three books that helped him learn to write. They included:

A Collection of Essays by George Orwell.

"I searched for a recording of the voice of George Orwell only to discover that none is known to exist, not even in the deep archives of the BBC. He was said to have a weak and wheezy voice, described once as 'unsuitable' for radio. No matter. We are left with the lion's roar of his literary voice. His stated goal was to 'make political writing into an art.' Examples are plentiful in his dystopian novels and these essays, especially the ones that directly concern language use and abuse. Democracy, he argued, requires honest writers who can tell difficult truths in a language that is clear, vivid, and original."

The other two books Clark loves are Language in Thought and Action by S.I. Hayakawa ("It frames the English language not as a sedate subject for study but as a tool for civic understanding, tolerance, and persuasion.") and Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott ("acts of reading and writing are works of a holy human spirit. 'They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul.")

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