Introducing My Very Occasional Book Review Series
I read a lot of books about writing and editing; however, I’ve never reviewed any of them on this blog because the vast majority are geared toward professional writers and editors—not regular people who just happen to be interested in the writing process. (That last sentence seems to suggest that writers and editors are somehow irregular, doesn’t it?) Truth be told, I just don’t expect anyone other than myself and my fellow Editorial Freelancers Association members to ever slog through The Copyeditor’s Handbook or Fowler’s Modern English Usage.
But, I occasionally come across titles marketed to the general public. Some are great. Some are less impressive. So today, I am officially launching a very occasional review series that will focus exclusively on writing-related books written for students and the general public. If you have any suggestions for books that you think I should review in future posts, please leave me a comment below, connect with me on Facebook, or jump over to my Contact page.
So, without further ado, let’s get to the very first review!
The Grammar Devotional: Daily Tips for Successful Writing from Grammar Girl™ by Mignon Fogarty
Mignon Fogarty, a.k.a., Grammar Girl, is a living legend among English-language grammarians. Her website is one of the most popular grammar resources on the Internet, and she even has her own grammar-related iOS game. In light of this popularity, I was eager to get my hands on one of her books. I chose The Grammar Devotional as my first purchase because it seemed to be geared toward a wider audience than some of her other titles.
The Grammar Devotional is 226 pages long (excluding the index) and is broken up into 365 daily lessons meant to be read over the course of a year. (Of course, you can read it as quickly as you’d like to!) The majority of the lessons provide helpful grammar tips. There is also a smattering of historical tidbits, quizzes, and word search puzzles.
Many of the lessons are accompanied by fun illustrations of two cartoon characters named Aardvark and Squiggly whom Fogarty frequently references on her website and in her other books.
Fogarty’s writing style is friendly, straightforward, and sometimes even humorous. While the majority of the book covers basic information, Fogarty does a good job of intertwining obscure topics such as a lesson on mondegreens, which are errors in how we hear spoken words.
The book itself is well constructed and printed on high-quality paper. In addition, the book’s rounded corners make it feel a bit more like a traditional devotional.
The Not-So Positives
While I personally enjoyed the illustrations, quizzes, and word search puzzles, some adults (or really serious kids) might be put off by these playful elements.
The Grammar Devotional is certainly not a standalone reference book. However, I think it is an entertaining resource for lighthearted adults interested in sprucing up their writing skills. This book would also make a great stocking stuffer for all of the budding middle school or high school writers on your holiday shopping list.
Please note: I am an Amazon Associate, but this is not a sponsored post. I have provided the Amazon link to The Grammar Devotional purely as a convenience to my readers.
Erin Wright, MAS, is a freelance copy editor and writer in Chicago, Illinois. She specializes in business documents, marketing material, web copy, technical content, and nonfiction.