Publisher and Publication Date: Random House. 2019.
Genre: Nonfiction. Writing skills. Grammar. Punctuation.
Audience: Readers who want to improve writing skills.
Benjamin Dreyer is the vice president, executive managing editor and copy chief, of Random House.
Website for Benjamin Dreyer
There are several podcasts and interviews available at the website.
In Dreyer’s English, Benjamin Dreyer explains that we want to be good writers no matter the type of writing we are doing. If we are writing an email or blog post, we want to have correct grammar and punctuation.
Writing book reviews is a work in progress. I’ve been doing this for 13 years and I still make mistakes. It is a work in progress in regards to the critique of the book. It is a work in progress in how I type out the review.
I am a novice. I didn’t finish college. I have 16 hours of English. There have been many times that I have asked myself, “am I wasting my time and other people’s time by writing a book review?” I love reading. I love talking about books. I love writing. Writing book reviews on a blog is a logical step.
Three things stand out the most in this book.
1. Dreyer makes learning grammar and punctuation fun. He is funny and entertaining.
2. Dreyer is honest. Sometimes he makes mistakes and needs help.
3. He has knowledge and experience from working in a publishing company.
Now, I don’t feel so bad about my shortcomings. He is a person who has experience and he still needs help.
Bloggers are their own editor. I catch mistakes after I’ve posted. Other people catch mistakes after I’ve posted and let me know. It is the craft I’ve chosen, and, I too will be critiqued.
Some book blog reviewers choose to write a relaxed, but fun type of review. Their focus is on entertainment plus how they feel about the book.
I fall somewhere in the middle. I want to be clear about why I love, like, or dislike a book and why. I want to be serious, but not a milk sop.
One of my problems is I write like I talk. Way back in the olden days when I was in school, I was made fun of because of my particular vocabulary of speech. I grew up in a suburb of Houston, Texas. If I had a dollar for every time someone looked at me and said, “what did you just say?” I’d have a good size nest egg.
Several things I learned in Dreyer’s English.
~Benjamin Dreyer likes the Oxford comma. We agree heartily on this point.
~Do not pluralize abbreviations.
~In a parenthesis, the period is outside.
~Do not use too many pronouns.
~Look for and omit repeated words and phrases.
~Words that are confusing: affect/effect, anymore/any more, and discreet/discrete.
Final chapters in the book examine confusable words, “proper nouns,” and how they are correctly written.
I love this book. It now takes a place of permanent authority with my nearby stack of grammar books. These books sit beside me while I peck out a review.
My grammar and punctuation set:
Merriam Webster’s Guide to Punctuation and Style
The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White
Woe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English by Patricia T. O’Conner
Painless Grammar by Rebecca Elliott, Ph.D.
Easy Grammar Step-By Step by Phyllis Dutwin
Eats, Shoots, and Leaves by Lynne Truss
The New Well-Tempered Sentence by Karen Elizabeth Gordon