A very personal reference tool from the desk of bestselling author Bill Bryson.
Bill Bryson is much loved for his bestselling travel books, from The Lost Continent to Down Under, but Notes from a Small Island has earned a particularly special place in the nation's heart (a national poll for World Book Day in 2003 voted it the book that best represents Britain). His acclaimed A Short History of Nearly Everything won the Aventis Prize for Science Books and the Descartes Science Communication Prize. He has now returned to live in the UK with his wife and family. www.billbryson.co.uk
The publisher information indicates that this dictionary for writers and editors is a companion volume to Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words (Broadway, 2004). In his preface, though, best-selling creative nonfiction author Bryson (A Walk in the Woods) refers to his book as an updated and new edition, implying that he has dropped the "troublesome" and gotten down to business. However you bill it, it features enough new, relevant material and allows for quick checks on a wide variety of matters: dates for political figures' terms in office, when to use lie and lay, how to make first and subsequent references for tricky names and titles, when to capitalize stilton, etc. A concise appendix puts forth lucid punctuation guidelines, and also included are lists of commonly misspelled words, temperature-conversion tables, and units of currency. While some British guidelines and spellings are noted, this is a primarily Americanized guide. BOTTOM LINE Readers can find similar information online, but Bryson's is a complete and idiosyncratic style guide for writers, journalists, and students. What sets it apart from something like an AP handbook is Bryson himself, who can give even a straightforward reference work some personality; this is a style guide with style. It will be a well-thumbed reference on any writer's desk and an indispensable volume on any library shelf. [Ebk. ISBN 978-0-7679-2911-0. $17.95.]-Audrey Snowden, Cleveland P.L. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Sensible advice... Bryson is against pomposity and in favour of
clarity and brevity... His pet hates are particularly well judged,
by which I mean they are mine too. Time and again, I found myself
cheering him on... Evelyn Waugh would find much to surprise and
please him here... provides plenty of ammunition for anoraky
one-upmanship -- Craig Brown * Mail on Sunday *
Now your favourite transplanted American (and mine) has ventured into the field of Linguistic Guidance for Limeys... Language lovers - of every stripe and creed - should raise three cheers.... clear out your linguistic cobwebs, with the help of Bill Bryson -- Erica Wagner * The Times *
As a newspaper sub-editor myself (Bryson's original trade), I've read this guide to spelling, grammar and usage from front to back and have to say one thing. It's brilliant. It should be on the shelf of anyone aspiring to make a living using the English language... the best book of its type yet written * Daily Mail *