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Austen to Zafón

Reading widely since 1972.

Currently reading

A London Family, 1870-1900: A Trilogy
Molly Hughes
The Cellist of Sarajevo
Steven Galloway
Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher
Lewis Thomas
All the Names
José Saramago, Margaret Jull Costa
A History of the World in 100 Objects
Neil MacGregor
Down the Garden Path
Beverley Nichols
Virtue Betray'd, Or, Anna Bullen
John Banks
Year of Wonders
Geraldine Brooks
Swallows and Amazons
Arthur Ransome
Illusion in java
Gene Fowler
The Elements of Style - E.B. White, William Strunk Jr. The best part of this book is the introduction. Many people don't know that the "White" of "Strunk & White" was E.B. White, author of "Charlotte's Web," amonng other books. White is funny throughout the book, but his humor is concentrated in the intro. I can't say I agree with everything this book advises, especially since I like quite a few verbose 19th century authors, but it's a classic and most of the advice is pithy and helpful. A couple of quotes I love:

“Rather, very, little, pretty -- these are the leeches that infest the pond of prose, sucking the blood of words. The constant use of the adjective little (except to indicate size) is particularly debilitating; we should all try to do a little better, we should all be very watchful of this rule, for it is a rather important one, and we are pretty sure to violate it now and then. ”

"Nauseous. Nauseated. The first means "sickening to contemplate"; the second means "sick at the stomach." Do not, therefore, say "I feel nauseous," unless you are sure you have that effect on others."

And, finally, who doesn't love "Omit needless words?" The question is, which are needless?