Half guidebook and half chapbook, Lydon's (Boogie Lighting, 1973) middling, middlebrow sequence of essays explores his lifelong love of ""real"" writing. Simply composed and reasoned, the former Newsweek reporter and rock critic's study builds on some rules of philology and rhetoric, as well as eclectic examples ranging from the Bible to Shakespeare, Dickens, Tolstoy, and Raymond Chandler. With these breezy rules and off-the-cuff samplings, Lydon avoids dryness and pedantry but can only skim the more philosophic ground. His zeal for the subject and assorted authors substitute for argument and examination, leaving many intricate, tantalizing questions about language and literature to go begging. Writing and Life conveys some of Lydon's enthusiasm for the written word, but too much of his analysis and reading list is leftover from freshman composition courses.