BOOKS: My favorites!

BOOKS: My favorites!

There are many, many books out there on plain language and writing. Here are my favorites (ones I’ve actually read 😉 ).

For each, you’ll find a link to Amazon (affiliate link), any blog posts where I’ve mentioned the book, and Goodreads (so you can read other reviews).

If you click on an Amazon link and buy the book, you will be contributing to my coffee fund at no extra cost to you—thank you!

Plain language

Oxford Guide to Plain English
Martin Cutts
Oxford University Press: 2020 (first published 2004)

[ Amazon (affiliate link) | Blog post: Plain language for academic & professional writing | Goodreads ]

If you are looking for one book on plain English, this is it. Clearly organized and fun to read, it’s one I keep at hand. Highly recommended!

Plain Words
Ernest A. Gowers and Rebecca Gowers.
Penguin Books: 2014 (first published 1948)

[ Amazon (affiliate link) | Blog post: Plain language for academic & professional writing | Goodreads ]

The original Sir Ernest Gowers’s book The Complete Plain Words was written over 60 years ago, yet is (sadly?) relevant today as ever. The examples he uses will keep you chuckling. Rebecca Gowers has added updates to some of the terms Sir Ernest singled out. (The 1954 book is in the public domain in Canada.)

Looking for more plain language resources? Try my list of (mostly) free online resources on plain language.

Other writing guides

Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace
Joseph M. Williams and Joseph Bizup
Pearson Education: 2014

[ Amazon (affiliate link) | Blog post: Annual report 2023 – my favorite book | Goodreads ]

Williams breaks down what actually makes a text “clear”. I got the 11th edition but just get whatever edition is most affordable! The Internet Archive has the 1990 Style: Toward Clarity and Grace. Also see Williams’s main points summarized by Omar Hussein (Graduate Writing Specialist, CSULB Graduate Center).

The Elements of International English Style: A Guide to Writing Correspondence, Reports, Technical Documents, and Internet Pages for a Global Audience
Edmond H. Weiss

‎ M. E. Sharpe: 2005.

[ Amazon (affiliate link) | My review | Goodreads ]

The Art and Craft of Feature Writing: Based on the Wall Street Journal Guide
William E. Blundell
Plume Books: 1988

[ Amazon (affiliate link) | Blog post: Different documents need different structures | Goodreads]

Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style.
Benjamin Dryer
Random House: 2019

[ Amazon (affiliate link) | My review | Goodreads ]

For more, explore my other resources for writers.

Design, presentation

The Non-Designer’s Design Book
Robin P. Williams
Peachpit Press: 2014

[ Amazon (affiliate link) | My review | Goodreads ]

The title says it all. I’m definitely a non-designer and am delighted I can now make text look better. Because using design helps clear communication.

Better Presentations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks.
Jonathan Schwabisch
Columbia University Press: 2016

[ Amazon (affiliate link) | Blog post: Attempts of a non-designer to visually present information so it’s clear | Goodreads ]

Top-notch advice on making powerful presentation slides.

Let me know if you have any favorites or others to recommend!

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