Reviews of Writing BooksThe Internet Writing Journal, April 1999
Woe is I by Patricia T. O'ConnorRiverhead Books, August 1998.
Paperback, 227 pages.
Woe is I, by former New York Times Book Review editor Patricia T. O' Conner, is targeted at the grammarphobe. In a light-hearted yet informative tone, the book addresses numerous concepts of the English language with which writers often struggle. Each chapter in the book addresses a new grammar topic. The "Therapy for Pronoun Anxiety" chapter addresses pronouns, which the author says, "are usually small (I, me, he, she, it), but they're among the biggest troublemakers in the language." The "Comma Sutra" chapter provides information on correct punctuation and the "Death Sentence" chapter focuses on clichés. Other grammar topics addressed in the book include plurals, possessives, verbs, words to avoid and commas. The reference also includes a glossary of grammar terms.
O'Connor provides instruction for improving one's grammar with a witty style that helps the lessons go down a bit easier. Also included are catchy rhymes which help the reader remember the lessons. An appealing and entertaining way to learn the rules of grammar.
The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in the Wild West from 1840-1900 by Candy MoultonWriter's Digest Books, March 1999.
Hardcover, 325 pages.
This historical reference for writers provides information on living in the Old West that would normally require several trips to the library to find. The book covers various aspects of the days of living in the Wild West including geography, land ownership, Native American territories, treaties, wars, clothing, food, architecture, furnishing, marriage, family, medicine, education, employment, entertainment, literature, language, travel, communication, crime, law, coins and money. The book also provides a guide to additional resources on the Old West, including website links and a comprehensive chronology of events that occurred in the Old West between 1840-1900.
This book presents historical information in a manner appropriate to writers by focusing on the lifestyle, so writers can easily find what they need and incorporate the concepts into their nonfiction, story or novel. A comprehensive resource that should be on every historical writer's desk.
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