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Monday, June 25, 2012

Who can say no to a weekly interestingness digest?

It is not often that I can be persuaded to subscribe to a blog by parting with my e-mail address and signing up to receive a weekly newsletter. I am picky that way. So far, I have only opened up my in-box to one blogger and that is Dr. Mardy Grothe. But, a couple of days ago, I chanced upon Brain Pickings, a veritable treasure chest lovingly handcrafted by Maria Popova, and after having studied the wonderful "pickings" on offer, I have just now signed up for the "free weekly interestingness digest". Who can say no to an interestingness digest?

What first attracted me to Brain Pickings was Popova's post about nine books on reading and writing. Many of my favourite books, including The Elements of Style, Stephen King's On Writing, and Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury, are on the list. There are some books here that were new to me: Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott; How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One, by Stanley Fish; and Ernest Hemingway on Writing. (Flipkart — here I come!)

Of course, it's not just the list that I found interesting but what Popova had to say about each book and the excerpts she has chosen from each one. Here is her introductory comment on the The Elements of Style edition that is No. 1 on her list:

If anyone can make grammar fun, it’s Maira Kalman — The Elements of Style Illustrated marries Kalman’s signature whimsy with Strunk and White’s indispensable style guide to create an instant classic.

And here's Popova on How to Write a Sentence:

It belongs not on the shelf of your home library but in your brain’s most deep-seated amphibian sensemaking underbelly — an insightful, rigorous manual on the art of language that may just be one of the best such tools since The Elements of Style.

Surely you want to read more? And possibly sign up for the "free weekly interestingness digest"? Here you go: "New Year’s Resolution Reading List: 9 Books on Reading and Writing".
  • Illustration courtesy: Brain Pickings.

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