The Elements of Style


English is a ridiculously hard language. You could argue that Chinese is harder to write, that German is harder to speak and that French snobbery makes it impossible to practice. BUT English has stupid rules that make little sense and have many exceptions.

As someone that calls English their first language and spends most of her days getting paid to write, I will admit that grammar can still be a struggle.

strunkwhiteBut I’m constantly trying to cozy up to the beastly thing. Beyond grammar and spelling, there is a thing called style. And as Yves Saint-Laurent once said, “Fashions fade, style is eternal.” That’s why I’m reading Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style.

The Elements of Style is pretty cheeky for a teeny, tiny textbook on writing text. But it’s pretty boring reading a textbook and it’s not easy to memorize a book full of rules. So I’ll be sharing my learnings over the next few weeks on Broken Penguin.

Hopefully that will make things more exciting but if it gets too dull, I’ll throw in random photos of half-naked cowboys or something.


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Taking Care of Business


You’ll notice that Broken Penguins mainly reviews fiction and that’s because I love fiction. There’s nothing like burying yourself in someone else’s world and letting it consume you for the day. But I do sometimes make time for some business books.

Okay, sharing time: I work in PR and I love it. I’ve been working in this field for four years and I’ve already learned A LOT. But what’s fantastic about PR is that there’s no time to be bored — there’s always plenty more to learn. And hence, a lot of business reading.

So here’s what’s on my list:

BUS_brandwashedBrandwashed by Martin Lindstrom
If you are interested in marketing, branding or psychology, you must hear Martin Lindstrom speak. He does a lot of unique research into how people are influenced by brands and some of his findings are pretty shocking. He is a quirky, quirky man and that translates into fantastic presentations.

The Virtual Self by Nora Young
I received a copy of The Virtual Self after seeing Young speak at a Third Tuesday Event. Young looks at how we’re tracking and sharing our own behaviour online — and why we keep doing things like telling the world how many pounds we’ve lost and how many pages we’ve read.

BUS_spunkSpunk & Bite by Arthur Plotnik
Writing gurus always point you to Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. While The Elements of Style focuses on fussy grammar and composition, Spunk and Bite is all about writing to captivate your audience. How teachable is this skill?

The Loyalty Leap by Bryan Pearson
Pearson is supposedly the guru of repeat customers. He looks at data, lots of it, and helps companies bring back happy customers. Hey, maybe he can even help me bring you back to Broken Penguins…

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