A pleasant voyage with a genial, worthy captain—though we do sail to many places we have been before.

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DREYER'S ENGLISH

AN UTTERLY CORRECT GUIDE TO CLARITY AND STYLE

A veteran copy editor debuts with an account of his beliefs, preferences, and peeves about contemporary English grammar and usage.

Dreyer—vice president, executive managing editor, and copy chief at Random House—rehearses a bit of his personal history with the copy editing profession and then takes us on a journey to the many major and minor isles of written English. In most ways, the author is not an Ahab-ian captain. He recognizes the arbitrary nature of many of our “rules” (after all, we made up most of this stuff). Early on, he explains the silliness of our adherence to such things as never splitting infinitives, never starting sentences with “But” or “And,” never ending sentences with prepositions. Soon, however, Dreyer begins to list specific dos and don’ts, instructing us on the uses of commas, colons, parentheses, and quotation marks. He pauses to explain the difference between an en- and an em-dash, between “who” and “whom,” and “lie” and “lay.” He also has some fun with dangling modifiers. In fact, Dreyer has fun throughout, exhibiting a light tone and a sly sense of humor. He could not resist, when reminding us of the difference between “hanged” and “hung,” that some men are, indeed, hung. He thinks we are losing the battle against “alright” and doesn’t really observe the difference between “nauseated” and “nauseous,” but he does like the distinction between “each other” and “one another.” Also included are some sections on the correct spelling of proper names and on the use of the word Frankenstein (the creator, not the creature). He wryly reminds us that “clichés should be avoided like the plague” and that we really shouldn’t trust internet memes as a source for authentic quotations.

A pleasant voyage with a genial, worthy captain—though we do sail to many places we have been before.

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9570-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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