Words Fail Me: What Everyone Who Writes Should Know about Writing

Words Fail Me: What Everyone Who Writes Should Know about Writing

by Patricia T. O'Conner

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At last, a writing guide that not only works but makes you laugh out loud—a fitting sequel to the bestselling Woe Is I. See more details below


At last, a writing guide that not only works but makes you laugh out loud—a fitting sequel to the bestselling Woe Is I.

Editorial Reviews

Daniel Pinkwater
Lighthearted and funny...It's like Strunk and White combined with S. J. Perelman—none of whom would have had the slightest objection.
NY Times Book Review
Seattle Times
O'Conner's guidelines are helpful to anyone who puts pen, or word processor, to paper.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
So effortless to read...The back cover shows up before you've broken a sweat.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Bless her. She's smart about the little things as well as the essentials....This isn't just nuts-and-bolts mechanics. It's the deft touch that makes craftsmen of carpenters and artists, sometimes, of workaday writers.
O'Conner's first book, Woe is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English, is a favorite reference in the KLIATT office, so I picked up Words Fail Me with enthusiasm. I am not disappointed, especially since this semester I am trying to help college students with their writing, and I see that O'Conner has pinpointed problems all writers face. Her humorous examples are welcome: e.g., quoting the dead-parrot sketch from Monty Python to illustrate "euphemism run amok." She makes an interesting point that at present writing abounds in our culture—think e-mail—yet we are not necessarily writing well. Her suggestions get to the center of typical problems writers have: identifying their audience, organizing their material, getting started, revising, and perhaps revising once more. We should all be students of writing, because it is such an important part of communicating in our society, and because most all writing could be improved. O'Conner's approach, friendly and helpful with specifics, is one students and teachers can use. KLIATT Codes: JSA—Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1999, Harcourt/Harvest, 228p, bibliog, index, 21cm, 99-25610, $12.00. Ages 13 to adult. Reviewer: Claire Rosser; January 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 1)
From the Publisher

"O'Conner uses her playful sense of humor to help us swallow with a laugh the rules that schoolmarms once forced down students' throats.-The New York Times Book Review
"O'Conner is one of those sneaky-good writers: You don't see the effort behind her smoothness."-Salon.com "Read this one from end to end....Imagine what the Congressional Record would be like if bureaucrats wrote that way."-The Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Will delight the word lovers on your shopping list...Sassy." -Detroit News Free Press
"Remember Woe Is I? Well, Ms. O'Conner is back and she hasn't lost her touch. This book is worth the price just to read her chapter titles and headings."-Writers' Exchange
"Patricia T. O'Conner's Woe Is I and Words Fail Me are readable, sympathetic to the struggling writer and often just plain funny."-the Seattle Times

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Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.10(d)
930L (what's this?)

Meet the Author

Patrcia T. O'Conner was an editor at the New York Times Book Review when she wrote Woe Is I. Her writing has appeared in many magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times and Newsweek. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, Stewart Kellerman.

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