Your favorite books for writers
My post on “My five favorite reference books for writers” sparked many suggestions for additional useful resources for writers.
Suggestions arrived via my blog, social media, and email. I am grateful for every suggestion.
For example, Julie Fordyce said, “In your reference book section, I’d add the New York Times Style Guide, Fowler’s Modern English Usage (even if it is British) and Theodore Bernstein’s The Careful Writer.”
You’ll find a list of books, with links to their descriptions on Amazon.com, below.
Thank you, contributors! I wish I could acknowledge every contributor by name, but even compiling the list of titles was daunting.
- A Dictionary of American Proverbs
- A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (Fowler’s)
- Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable
- Shorter Oxford English Dictionary: Thumb Indexed
- The Synonym Finder
Copywriting and marketing
- The Adweek Copywriting Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Powerful Advertising and Marketing Copy from One of America’s Top Copywriters
- The Copywriter’s Handbook, Third Edition: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Copy That Sells
- First Hundred Million: How To Sky Rocket Your book Sales With Slam Dunk Titles
- The American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style
- The Associated Press Guide to Punctuation
- The Careful Writer
- Chicago Manual of Style
- The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed
- The Gregg Reference Manual: A Manual of Style, Grammar, Usage, and Formatting Tribute Edition
- Hodges’ Harbrace Handbook
- Line by Line: How to Edit Your Own Writing
- The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage
- On Writing Well
- One Word, Two Words, Hyphenated?
- Practical English Usage
- Speaking with a Purpose
- The Wall Street Journal Guide to Business Style and Usage
- Write Right!: A Desktop Digest of Punctuation, Grammar, and Style
- A Writer’s Reference, Fifth Edition
I hope to work my way through the books you’ve suggested.
The Flip Dictionary is awesome for those tip on your tongue words. It’s saved me from going insane when I couldn’t think of a word. It’s not quite like a Thesaurus.
Thank you, Meryl! I never heard of that dictionary. I will check it out.
Awesome list. Thanks for compiling it!
Thank you, Robyn!
Here’s another suggestion in a tweet from a friend who’s a financial advisor:
unrelated to finance but good 4 structuring concepts & focus on the reader/viewer is Syd Field’s “How to Write a Screenplay”
Wonderful post, Susan. I would hate to admit how many of the texts listed are ones that I’ve read and are on my shelves. To your list I would recommend following 3 texts: American Heritage Dictionary, 4th ed.; SEND by Shipley & Schwalbe (on emails); and “Content Rules” by Handley & Chapman (on various social media texts)
Thank you, Karen! I also own “Send.”
I recommend “How to Write Like a Pro” by Barry Tarshis (out of print, but available used). He provides concrete tips on how to make your writing easier to read.
Thanks, Theresa! I just reserved his book at my library.
You can find more recommendations on this list from Copyediting.com http://ht.ly/7J9DT