May 8, 2008

BTT: Manual Labour

Pin It

Booking Through Thursday

  • Writing guides, grammar books, punctuation how-tos . . . do you read them? Not read them? How many writing books, grammar books, dictionaries–if any–do you have in your library?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves

I do have a few books on writing and grammar:

The Grammar Bible: I haven't read it through but it's definitely more entertaining than the average grammar book. The writer worked for a grammar hotline, if you can imagine such a thing, and the book is peppered with anecdotes from that time.

Nitty Gritty Grammar: Simple, straight forward. Full of cartoons to entertain.

Write Away: A guide to writing fiction from author Elizabeth George.

The First Five Pages: How to make the first five pages of a novel stand out. I haven't read it.

The Writing Life: Anne Dillard writes about the life of a writer. I haven't read this yet either.

Negotiating with the Dead: Margaret Atwood's take on the writing life. I'm looking forward to reading this.

As for dictionaries, I've ditched them all in favour of the ones online. I prefer this one: The Free Dictionary.


  1. I pretty much use online sources for grammar and usage questions. That first book looks interesting, though!

  2. You're the second person to mention the Atwood. I'm not a great fan of hers but this might help me to understand what she's about. Thanks for the reference.

  3. I have a big reference book that I call my 'grammar bible' but it's actually 'Practical English Usage'. It is very good! But I'll have to check out the actual 'Grammar Bible'. :)

  4. I have a copy of A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver. I love it!

    My BTT post!

  5. The First Five Pages sounds very good. I think I may have to check that out.

  6. I've got about ten different books that qualify, since I taught a writing course for a homeschool cooperative three or four years ago. My favorite title is Douglas Cazort's Under the Grammar Hammer. But the most useful, for professional purposes, has been the MLA Handbook.

  7. The Margaret Atwood book sounds interesting.
    For myself, I'm not even sure if I have a dictionary ...

  8. I love those kinds of books...thanks for the ideas.

  9. Thanks for the list! And I'll have to check out that book by Atwood.

  10. I've read about the first five pages of The First Five Pages. My friend John, who has sold hundreds and hundreds of stories, says it's one of the best writing books he's read.

    Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott is my personal favorite.

  11. I admit that the books written by authors discussing their writing and how to write tend not to make my radar. I have a couple, but I didn't even think to mention them in my BTT response because I got them for other reasons than as writing guides.

  12. Wow you've got an extensive list there! I'm usually too lazy to use any sort of reference books. Shame on me :-)

  13. Re online dictionaries, I'm also a fan of (which is free. There's also a thesaurus link there as well). is another great wealth of (mostly) free reference materials.

  14. I use online for convience but I love having those huge books around "just in case."

  15. I have plenty, but then again I'm an ESL/EFL teacher and have to field those kinds of questions all the time. "Practical English Usage" really is very thorough! I must confess to liking Eats, Shoots and Leaves, too.

    Negotiating With the Dead sounds interesting. I'll add it to the "Someday" pile, along with the Umberto Eco one on writing.


Thanks for visiting! Please leave a comment. I've disabled Anonymous comments since I've had a barrage of Anon spam lately. Sorry about that.
Also, if you leave a legit comment but it contains a spammy link, it will not be published.