Monday Start-Up: What You Learned in College…Applied Today With a Twist

by Rachel Yeomans | February 6th, 2012   

When I went to college, my Bible was Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style. This book was in my book bag and on my book case throughout college and upon ever desk that I ever used. Even upon moving cities, my freshman-year copy is still with me at all times. I haven’t opened it in years, I admit, but the lessons I learned from it helped shape my writing style as a journalist.

As much of a resource as The Elements of Style is to so many other writers, we do at times love to make fun of it, just because we rely on it so much. It’s almost like making fun of our parents. It’s that little bit of freedom that we cherish, even though we know we’ll never truly leave. In the vein, we have the book that does just that to one of the standards of writing resources on bookshelves today: Stylized: A Slightly Obsessive History of Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style.

Screen Shot 2012 02 05 at 11.35.28 PM Monday Start Up: What You Learned in College...Applied Today With a Twist

Here is the synopsis from Amazon.com:

Since 1959, The Elements of Style has been required reading for aspiring writers, English majors, and anyone with a love of language. Strunk and White’s guidelines for good grammar and style have been discussed, debated, and occasionally even debunked…but they cannot be dismissed.

A Strunk and White devotee since high school, writer and editor Mark Garvey has long appreciated Elements for its character, its attitude, and its bracing good sense. The book is not only a helpful guide to creating better prose, it is also a compelling reminder of the virtues of clarity, simplicity, and truth in writing — and an inspiring celebration of the individual voice. To tell the story of this timeless, beloved, sometimes controversial book, and the men behind it, Garvey digs deep into the Cornell University archives and the personal letters of E. B. White and his professor William Strunk Jr.

Stylized is a lovingly crafted history that explores Elements’ staying power and takes us from the hallowed halls of academia to the bustling offices of The New Yorker magazine to the dazzling days of old Hollywood — and into the hearts and minds of some of the most respected writers working today.

When you spend so many years referencing the same body of work, don’t you wonder what the authors would add to it, if they could? Maybe…they would even present it in a different way…


No matter what the format, both Stylized and this quite creative rap were inspired by the same compilation that sits on so many individuals’ book shelves today. As we start this week off, dear readers, what was one of your greatest influences that would never get left behind in a move?

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