Wednesday, February 27, 2008


The Book: THE CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE: The Essential Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers, 15th edition. The University of Chicago Press, 2003 (second printing). Very good book in very good dust jacket.
First read: Still reading
Owned since: 2003

My brother Ed, also a copy editor, once sent me an article about a scientific study that found that the brain's pain centers respond when people are forced to do things they know are wrong, or even when they watch other people do things they know are wrong.

Opening this book gives me that same pain, because it's almost 1,000 pages that explain how my clients and I are doing things wrong.

Worse, I disagree with several of the changes the 15th edition makes. The jacket copy explains, "Those who work with words know how dramatically publishing has changed in the past decade, with technology now informing and influencing every stage of the writing and publishing process. In creating the fifteenth edition of the Manual, Chicago's renowned editorial staff drew on direct experience of these changes..." I object, I object, I object.

But I use this book, and am slowly retraining my brain on some of this stuff. It still feels wrong.

Five Random Songs

"Blue Period," The Smithereens. I like greatest hits collections that include songs I haven't heard before. This is a track off Blown to Smithereens I hadn't heard before.

"The Radiator," Ida. A beautiful love song from Will You Find Me.

"Song of Bernadette," Jennifer Warnes. A cover of the Leonard Cohen song, from Famous Blue Raincoat.

"Let's Dance," David Bowie. Put on your red shoes and dance the blues...

"Bad Dog," Too Much Joy. An R-rated ode to submissiveness, off Son of Sam I Am.

1 comment:

Ed Lamb said...

I'm squarely in the Chicago camp when it comes to editorial style. I also preferred the 14th edition, but if you want hair-brained style, try following the AMA or APA styles. I have clients who use those, and I can never get stuff right, even after I look it up.

-- Ed