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The Elements of Style


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Anyone who writes and edits for a living (including librarians, naturally) is no stranger to William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White's classic writing manual, The Elements of Style. This "little book" barely makes the 100-page mark (even with a glossary and an index in the back), but it has influenced generations of writers since it was first released in 1959. The Elements of Style owes its status as much to the authors' sound advice as to the amusing anecdotes throughout. To commemorate its 50th anniversary this spring, Pearson is releasing a black leather-bound, gold-embossed reprint of the fourth edition from 2000 (pictured), which includes a new publisher's note outlining the book's history, along with quotes from celebrities like Dorothy Parker, Dan Rather, and Ben Affleck. An event to celebrate the occasion will be held on April 16th in New York City with a panel of writers and journalists. Cornell University's Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections (keepers of the papers of E.B. White) will host an exhibit in the Olin Library to coincide with the anniversary. The best-selling book about writing ever published (ten million copies and counting), The Elements of Style, in the now 30-year-old words of E.B. White, still stands "erect, resolute and assured," ready to conquer a new generation of writers synonymous with blogging, texting, facebooking, twittering, and other forms of how-fast-can-you-reach-me communication. And while we appreciate the opportunities those new forms of expression have afforded us, we can all benefit from not dressing up words by adding -ly "as though putting a hot on a horse"; overusing qualifiers like rather, very, and pretty that are like "leeches that infest the pond of prose, sucking the blood of words"; and writing nite for night or pleez for please in daily emails, unless we "plan to introduce a complete system of simplified spelling and are prepared to take the consequences." Libraries of all backgrounds owe it to every aspiring writer out there to invest in this sturdy new edition.-Mirela Roncevic, Reference Editor, LJ Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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