If you love the English language, if you do a lot of writing, or if you want to communicate on a deeper level in everything you write, then this book might interest you. Even if you don’t write that much yourself, but enjoy reading thoughtful writing in the form of essays, I recommend this.
Lawrence Weinstein taught at Harvard University from 1973 to 1983 and co-founded Harvard’s Writing Center. More recently he’s served as the Director of Bentley University’s Expository Writing Program.
A Book of Parts
Grammar for a Full Life is a collection of essays on how our use of grammar can add subtle layers to our communications, as well help guide us through life itself. It’s divided into seven parts, as follows:
- Grammar to Take Life in Hand
- Grammar for Creative Passivity
- Grammar for Belonging
- Grammar for Freedom
- Grammar for Morale
- Grammar for Mindfulness
- Grammar for The End
Each of these parts contains several essays about specific aspects of grammar, such as active versus passive voice, colons, commas, prepositions, and so forth. These various tools are presented in ways that enhance not only our writing, to help us communicate more effectively, but also in ways that show how they can be used to enhance our connection to others, our independence, our creativity, and our perspective on life, including the end of life.
A Thoughtful Book to Keep and Reread
The edition I just finished reading is an ebook, but this is one of those books that I want to own in paper format, because it deserves deep study and rereading to get the most out of it. On my first pass through, I absorbed it more from a reader’s than a writer’s perspective, moseying through each essay in a leisurely way. There’s a lot to be gained from either way of reading it. Whether you love language, or you want to fall in love with language, you might find this to be the treasure I think it is.
One Last Note – This is Not a Grammar Reference
To clear up any confusion, which seems to have upset at least one past reviewer, this is not a reference book for looking up various grammar rules on the fly or for refreshing oneself on basic grammar. For those purposes, you’ll get more out of books you find with a search for “grammar reference” or “grammar refresher” as keywords.