|“We are all writers and readers as well as communicators, with the need at times to please
and satisfy ourselves with the clear and almost perfect thought.” (a foreword by Roger Angell)
About a decade ago, my favorite uncle chucked a tiny book at me.
“You want to write? Read this.”
This uncle, also a physicist and my earliest mentor, had just tossed me the writer’s bible, also known as “The Little Book“.
I did read it, and perused through the 11 Rules of Usage, 11 Principles of Composition, 21 instructions on Style, Few Matters of Form, and list of Commonly Misused Words. My teenage-self thanked the man who never ceased to be concerned about my future, and slipped the small book in the “language references” section of my book shelf. I had an extensive collection of rule books, reference books, guide books, dictionaries, Cliff’s Notes, and classroom scribbles to consult. If I couldn’t assemble my thoughts into proper sentences and paragraphs, God knows how many more rules I needed down my throat.
A week ago, I unearthed the book while I rummaged through boxes of old books. It was in mint condition, without a single dog-ear, crease or wrinkle. It was, also, the one thing I really needed right now.
The book celebrated its 50th-anniversary last year and has since released several editions, such as this adorable illustrated one:
And this is the mad man to whom I owe my career (or the makings of one). Tito, I can barely guess how many editors would’ve even give me (and my stuff) a second glance if you hadn’t given me that book. Most, if not all, had listed The Elements of Style at the top of their requirements.
|He doesn’t look it here but he’s also a terror in university.
I didn’t need to make a survey.