I always enjoy good books on writing, but I’m trying to be more intentional about honing the parts of the craft that I struggle with. I’ve decided to make sure I get through one book a month, to see where that takes me. This month my book on writing is literally titled, The best punctuation book, period., by June Casagrande. I’m pretty sure that the title is meant to be annoyingly difficult to punctuate.
So far, it’s pretty awesome. I’ve got some weird punctuation habits, and I was taught some rules that are preferred in the UK but aren’t standard in the US. I stubbornly clung to them because I think they’re more aesthetically pleasing, but I’m gonna have to get over myself to publish in the US.
This book settles a lot of confusing issues. Googling often turns up conflicting advice, and it can be hard to tell which source you should follow for your style of writing. Casagrande breaks the rules down by the dominant styles: news, science, book, and academic; and makes it easy to figure out which to use. When there’s a gray area of punctuation, she consults a group of experts who vote on the best solution.
I’m sure that I’ll need to refer back to this book often, but it’s surprisingly engaging just to read through. It’s no thriller, but it can be an interesting subject. I’m about halfway through, and I’m hoping that in the latter half she’ll expand on the history and context behind English punctuation guidelines. It might make it easier for me to remember where to stick all those extra commas I like to sprinkle into sentences.