Review: The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

Title: The Elements of Style
Author: William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White
Series: N/A
Pages: 105 pages
Publisher: Longman; 4th edition (August 2, 1999)
Rating: 4 stars (Read It!-Choose It!)

The writer’s reference book, The Elements of Style, by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White provides writers a handy resource for editorial advice.

True to its description of “manual,” The Elements of Style gave practical editorial advice on writing style and grammar. Everything was definitely good advice and was a good writing book as many reviews said, but I can’t say I was very interested since informational non-fiction isn’t my favorite genre.

However I did like the fact that this reference book was thin and only included good advice, so it was a much more feasible reference book read than The Chicago Manual of Style. I’d recommend The Elements of Style to anyone who wants to become better at writing or editing. In addition to The Elements of Style, I’d also recommend On Writing by Stephen King and Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott to anyone interested in writing.


Review: On Writing by Stephen King

TitleOn Writing
Author: Stephen King
Series: N/A
Pages: 288
Publisher: Scribner; 10 Anv edition (July 6, 2010)
Rating: 4 stars (Read It!-Choose It!)


The part memoir, On Writing by Stephen King delivers advice hand in hand humor stories to aspiring and experienced writers alike.

Two of my favorite sections in this captivating part memoir and part writing book were:

  • C.V.–The hilarious memoir section.
  • On Writing–The instructional and helpful part on writing, as the title suggests.

On Writing, written in first person, is a funny, yet informational read filled with useful pointers for all writers. Throughout the book, King includes personal experiences and how they shaped him as a writer.

Along with Bird by Bird by Anne Lammott, How To Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card, and The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, On Writing is one of the best books on writing I’ve read.

Review: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Title: Unbroken
Author: Laura Hillenbrand
Series: N/A
Pages: 528
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (July 29, 2014)
Rating: 5 stars (Read It!)

The biography, Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand describes the life of Olympics runner and World War II POW Louis Zamperini.

In his childhood, Zamperini was a locally notorious boy with cunning mind. He’d break into people’s houses (to steal something edible) or set up a prank contraption.

Determined to find a way to channel Louis’s wildness, Pete Zamperini (his older brother) attempted to interest him in track. Initially the attempt failed, but eventually Louis gained interest and he began to break records.

But when Pearl Harbor was bombed and America entered into World War II, Louis became an Army Air Corps bombardier. After narrowly surviving combat missions from the Hawaii base, Zamperini and two fellow Air Corps men, crashed in the Pacific Ocean and set a record for longest record at sea.

Eventually as they drifted east, the Japanese captured Louis and his crew. Following his capture, Louis was sent to various POW camps where several cruel POW camp officials and guards abused them. One official, known as the Bird, was exceptionally fixated upon abusing Louis.

Will Louis be able to survive and recover the physical and emotional torments of the Japanese POW camps?

Continue reading

Review: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

The book, Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott gives you useful, honest advice on writing and the occupational hazards of being a writer.

Like with The Giver, I read this book because of the reviews. There were three parts, which focused on: craft (Part 1), the writer’s life(Part 2), support(Part 3), publication(Part 4), and Anne Lamott’s writing class teaching experiences (Part 5). Through the book, Lamott intertwined honesty and humor while still sharing advice on writing and life. Lamott’s honesty and humor made Bird by Bird an exciting book to read. For all writers, regardless of genre, Bird by Bird is a great writing book.

Some of my favorite chapters were: Sh*tty First Drafts (p.g. 21), Jealousy (p.g. 122), Writer’s Block (p.g. 176), and Finding Your Voice (p.g. 195)

Rating: Read It!

Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on this book in the comments forum. Are there any similar books you would recommend?

Review: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

The YA novel, Afterworlds, by Scott Westerfield, intertwines the stories of Darcy and Lizzie.

Darcy is a senior in high school. Next year, she should be going to college. Instead, she’ll move to New York and work on her debut novel, Afterworlds, and the sequel: Untitled Patel. In New York, she meets famous authors and attempts to manage her finances with a failing budget.

Lizzie–the protagonist of Darcy’s novel, Afterworlds–is waiting for her flight back home at night when terrorists strike. As people fall around her, Lizzie calls 911. The operator promises help and suggests LIzzie play dead. It turns out Lizzie plays dead too well. As a result, Lizzie thinks her way into the Afterworld. In the Afterworld, she meets a psychopomp (a soul guide) named Yamaraj. Through him she learns that because she thought her way into the Afterworld she is now a psychopomp. As a psychopomp she will gain special powers and responsibilities.

Afterworlds had an entertaining plot, however I disliked the strong language. In my opinion, I could’ve read the novel without the bad language and be perfectly fine. While the characters evoked empathy, I disliked Darcy’s character. She seemed rather naive and was terrible at keeping a budget. Ironically, I found Lizzie’s perspective more interesting (the book within a book) and enjoyed reading her story more.

Rating: Choose It!

Review: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle*, by Jeannette Walls,  is a true story memoir on Jeannette Wall’s life and childhood.

Jeannette Walls grew up with her older sister Lori, younger brother Brian, younger sister, Maureen, and her parents, Rex, an electrician and Rose Mary Walls, an artist.

As a young child, Jeannette is constantly on the move with her parents moving from place to place with little money and low resources. Moving reasons usually were because the bills had ascended too high, her father had lost her job, or her parents are bored of the place and sought adventure. Every moment of her childhood, Jeannette is resourceful and savvy and makes do with what she had and sometimes even had to scavenge food to eat from the dump.

With her first major memory consisting of remembering “being on fire” and burning herself seriously from cooking sausages at age three, she’s rushed to the hospital by her parents. At the hospital, Jeannette’s introduced to the ease of being cared for at a hospital and the art of chewing gum. Her mother and father, who didn’t approve of civilized places like hospitals complained about how long her healing was taking and insisted to their daughter that a man who had healed Lori when she had gotten hurt would’ve fixed her up much quicker than these new-fangled stitches.

Throughout her life, with constant excitement, problems, and new situations advancing on her family and her every moment of the memoir, you will never take for granted a poor, full lunch or a good roof over your head again. The Glass Castle is a memoir that tells Jeannette and her family’s triumphs and struggles beautifully.

Rating: Read it!

*Strong language and a few sections of material is not suggested for children. If you’re a child, have your parent read it over first and mark-off the inappropriate parts.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on this book in the comments section. Are there any similar books you would recommend?

Review: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The biography novel, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks* by Rebecca Skloot tells you about the woman behind the famous, immortal HeLa cells: African American, Henrietta Lacks. Henrietta Lacks was born poor in Clover, in a four-room house on a tobacco farm. In 1951, Henrietta went to John Hopkins hospital (segregated hospital) to have the doctors investigate a “knot” on her womb. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer and revisited the hospital for radiation treatments.

During the surgery, without her knowledge and consent, a small part of her tumor with the cancer cells was removed and given to a man called George Gey, who experimented with cancer cells. With his procedure, George Gey discovered that Henrietta’s cells were immortal. Eagerly, he spread the news and a lucrative medical revolution was born with one woman’s cells. However, her family never received one cent of the profit.

I enjoyed this book because of the unique characters and the fascinating story of the woman who created HeLa cells. I recommend this book to anyone who would like to read about the science of cancer in a time of segregation.

*There are a few parts in this book that may be considered inappropriate for kids. Check with your parents before reading.

Rating: Read It!

Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on this book in the comments section. Are there any similar books you would recommend?

Review: How To Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card

The book, How To Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, by Orson Scott Card (well-known as the author of Ender’s Game) is an informational read for anyone who has ever wanted to write science fiction or fantasy.

Card’s book talks about the boundaries between the two similar genres and why clearly defining your genre is important. He also has a useful chapter for aspiring writers on how to get into the business of writing science fiction or fantasy.

This book was a very useful and information-packed read with a clear and easy to follow writing style. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys writing.

Rating: Read It!

Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on this book in the comments section. Are there any similar books you would recommend?

Review: I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

The memoir, I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai, tells the incredible true story of a brave girl who stood up for what she believed in.

Malala Yousafzai lived in Swat Valley, Pakistan. When she was ten years old, the Taliban gained control of her region. The Taliban decreed that girls couldn’t go to school and other unjust edicts. But Malala, who loves and cherishes her education, refuses to stop attending school.

Her father, Ziauddin  ran a school, and raised Malala to stand up for what she believes in. Even though she wasn’t a boy, she knows that she “was the apple of her father’s eye.”. In Malala’s culture, this is a rare thing for a girl.

Starting in 2009, Malala began peacefully campaigning for girl’s education rights. Even when threatened with death she didn’t back down. Then one day, in October 2012, Malala is shot in the back of the head. After visiting several hospitals, she is eventually transported to Birmingham for treatment.

Will she survive the attack and start a new life in Birmingham, England?

I enjoyed this book because of the honest voice of the narrator. The events were also portrayed with great detail and the writing was very good. Most of all, I enjoyed reading about how Malala bravely spoke out and peacefully advocated for girl’s education right.

Rating: Read It!

Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on this book in the comments section. Are there any similar books you would recommend?