Book Club: The Elements of Style Review by Edith Williams, Finance Director

This classic writing style guide was written by William Strunk Jr. and originally published in 1918. In 1957, E.B White (1899-1985), a former student of Strunk’s and among many other things, the author of Charlotte’s Web and an editor at The New Yorker, wrote an article about the book which he described as a 43 page summation of the case for cleanliness, accuracy, and brevity in the use of English. “Strunk and White” is referred to in countless books on writing and has sold millions of copies through four editions. This delightfully illustrated version is the fourth.

The pairing of the writings of E.B. White with the illustrations of Maira Kalman was inspired! Both use (and used) their mediums to convey an ironic and humorous view of the world, and are (and were) smart and savvy New Yorkers. Kalman’s gouache illustrations take snippets from the book and illustrate them in her whimsical style.

Sentence fragments

…and another

Here today,                 gone, tomorrow.       

Designers who can also write are an invaluable asset to any team. Though the content can feel dry, both the wit of the illustrations and the writing make it an especially great way to hone your writing skills. 

One last thought to tempt you.

 Be obscure clearly! Be wild of tongue in a way we can understand!

Published October 16, 2019
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