Have you heard about Ammon Shea, the man who’d read all twenty volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary and then written a memoir about it? When I’d heard about him I became jealous. Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted to read an entire dictionary. I’ve never done it though. I have, however, read some style and grammar guides from cover like Strunk and White’s The Element of Style (a few times–who hasn’t?), Karen Elizabeth Gordon’s The New Well-Tempered Sentence and The Deluxe Transitive Vampire (both excellent and fun to read), and, most recently, the technical manual Grammar Desk Reference by Gary Lutz and Diane Stevenson. Besides a number of dictionaries, I often thumb through the Chicago Manual of Style and Garner’s Modern American Usage. Which reminds me: check out this article on the so-called usage wars by David Foster Wallace.
So what about you? What grammar, usage, and style guides do you prefer?
John Madera's fiction may be found in Conjunctions, Opium Magazine, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His criticism may be found in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, John Madera lives in New York City, where he runs Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.