10 December 2005

Review: HarperCollins Concise Handbook for Writers

I was never terribly happy with my writing, so I sought to improve it. One of the books I recently read was the HarperCollins Concise Handbook for Writers:

Title: HarperCollins Concise Handbook for Writers
Authors: Peter Dow Adams and Amy Tickle
Year: 1994
ISBN: 0-06-501994-6

Stars: 4/5

This is a textbook on writing papers for American college students. It provides advice on: how to research, plan and structure one's work, the appropriate style for papers, constructing paragraphs and sentences, the use and misuse of common words, and grammar, spelling and punctuation.

The lessons are written in a direct and authoritative style, and worked examples are provided. The explanations are enhanced by the use of proofreading marks and diagrams.

In addition to the usual table of contents, glossaries and index, every entry in the table of contents shows both the topic and an example, each page has a tab at the edge with an abbreviation of the page's topic, each tab is aligned with the abbreviated table of contents and there are many tables that summarize different categories of words. These devices make the book easy to use as a reference.

I have only used this book for a short time but it has already helped me write more confidently and smoothly.