Book of the Month

Book of the MonthThe study of the “rules of usage” and the “principles of composition,” to quote William Strunk, Jr.’s celebrated guide, The Elements of Style, can help us to be more successful writers, but the linguistic foundation on which we stand can only be built by reading and listening. From the stories told us as children to the novels that now sit by our bedsides; from Sesame Street to Mad Men, we absorb the words, constructions, and rhythms that define the way we write. And the more voraciously we read and the more attentively we listen, the better will our writing be. When asked to describe the “best training for writing,” William Faulkner, recipient of the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature, was emphatic: “Read, read, read! Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad; see how they do it. When a carpenter learns his trade, he does so by observing. Read! You’ll absorb it.”

With this in mind, each month, Princeton Writes will feature a book that embodies exemplary writing. Whether this volume is a complete stranger or an old friend, place it on your reading list and let osmosis do its work. If you would like to nominate a book, do not hesitate to contact pwrites@princeton.edu; in addition to title, author, and year of publication, please include two excerpts of not more than 250 words apiece to illustrate the power of its author’s prose.

 


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