That's all, just one book.
In the latest issue of Canada's Maclean's Magazine, copy editor Larissa Liepins has reviewed "The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century" by Canadian-born Steven Pinker.
Oh, yes, please. I need a guide to writing in the 21st century. My biggest problem is thinking too much, which makes this book an obvious choice for a thinking person like me.
Pinker also, says Liepins, "applies his considerable expertise in cognitive science and linguistics to crafting a modern-day style guide for, as he puts it, 'people who know how to write and want to write better'."
Oh yes, that would be me. I've been writing since I was six years old, and have had some experience in the craft, as well as some experience as a proofreader and copy editor, and I know quite a few other writers. I know that, deep down, we all want to write better. Many of us also need to know what the 21st century wants of us as writers.
"If you count yourself in that group," Liepins goes on, "you likely own a style bible of old, be it Strunk and White's The Elements of Style or Fowler's Modern English Usage" and you will find them "frequently in Pinker's crosshairs."
Okay, shoot, Mr. Pinker. I'll get over it, even if you malign those treasured tomes and tell us repeatedly that language purists are "sticklers, pedants, peevers, snobs, snoots, nitpickers, traditionalists, language police, usage nannies, grammar Nazis, and the Gotcha Gang"!
Sigh, but I will get over it.
I will get over it because scientist Pinker has convinced editor Liepins "that, not only will we not go to hell for splitting an infinitive, sometimes it's the only way to boldly go."
I like that.
I need someone with "expertise in cognitive science" as well as linguistics, who "mines everything from obituaries to Dear Abby columns for good writing."
Writers of my advanced age will remember Dear Abby's skill with words, and may have, as I did, demanded of our parents and siblings, "Read this! What a great line!"
Now, just don't tell Steven Pinker that when I grow up I want to be Dave Barry.
I am linking this, quite belatedly, to Open Link Monday at my favourite writers' blog, Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. Thanks for being there, dear Toads.