Thursday, May 08, 2008

Me Like Grammar


Today's BTT question...

Writing guides, grammar books, punctuation how-tos . . . do you read them? Not read them? How many writing books, grammar books, dictionaries–if any–do you have in your library?

The only grammar book I've read, outside of university text books, was Lynn Truss's Eats, Shoots & Leaves. I haven't had a chance to check out the other BTT responses yet, but I'm assuming her name will pop up a lot. I don't keep much of a library but I would like to have a copy of that one to keep. She's also written a few grammar books for children.

As for dictionaries, I do keep one near the bed to check up unfamiliar words, though if I'm around the computer I prefer to use Google "define:" as it usually comes up with a few variations and I get a better feeling for connotations. I also have a rhyming dictionary. I don't, however, have a thesaurus but I really need one. Right now I rely on Microsoft Word's thesaurus, but it's very bad poor lame unsatisfactory.

The only "How to" book I have is Fred Sedgwick's How To Write Poetry. It hasn't proven itself to be all that useful. I wish I'd kept a copy of the poetry anthology In Fine Form, edited by Kate Braid and Sandy Shreve. It had great descriptions of various forms as well as excellent examples. As an amateur poet, it would have been a great resource to hang onto.

13 comments:

Lezlie said...

I hear you. The Word thesaurus is all but completely useless.

When do we get to see some amateur poetry? :-)

Lezlie

BooksPlease said...

Yes, I mentioned Lynn Truss's book too. I still use a paper dictionary when I'm reading, but check on line if I'm on the computer.

thatsthebook said...

I also mentioned Truss, it's a great one. You went into much more detail than I did, but then I don't remember everything I have in Canada.

Chris said...

I haven't read Eats, Shoots and Leaves yet but it keeps getting mentioned.

Your post title made me laugh!

Lesley said...

In Australia, maybe 30 years ago, there was a T-shirt with a picture of a wombat on it and the words: 'Eats, roots and leaves.' Same grammatical point, but with much more punch: 'roots' is an Aussie term for having sex. I'd have bought the LT book if she'd called it that!

John Mutford said...

Lezlie: Oh, I've posted a lot of it: Here, here, here, here, and here... (Sorry you asked?)

Booksplease: What an odd feat to have a grammar book become a best seller!

Thatsthebook: I, too, have more than a few forgotten books tucked away in storage.

Chris: It's actually quite an entertaining book.

Lesley: Ha! I need to find a retro-store and get me that shirt. Then again, without the Aussie connotation others wouldn't find it witty.

gautami tripathy said...

You can read A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver. A great book for would be poets or just to read it for the heck of it. You can read my review here!

Lezlie said...

I'm not sorry at all. I like them! And now that I see the appliance one again, I do remember seeing it before. And I laughed then, too! In a good way!! :-)

Lezlie

BookGal said...

It feels too much like work to read about writing in my off time. I have read many kids books on writing and grammar, though

Peta said...

In response to your suggestion, I've dug out my untouched copy of Eats, Shoots & Leaves and will do my best to move it up the pile - promise. Thanks for the tip about hyperlinking when you stopped by my blog - much appreciated!

Remi said...

The 2 must have writing books I recommend to everyone are Strunk and White's Elements of Style and, more importantly, Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird. Bird by Bird is a writing book that even non-writers must read. It's that good.

GeraniumCat said...

Although a lot of people like the Truss book, there's a great grammar called The Transitive Vampire - a Canadian student introduced me to it years ago, and I think it does a brilliant job of making grammar entertaining.

vocabulary said...

You do need them, but only after mastering the vocabulary of a certain language.