The first thing I will say about this ‘The elements of eloquence, How to turn the perfect English phrase’ non-fiction book about the secrets behind great writing is – have a dictionary handy!
Well, you may not need one, but I certainly did. I love reading about grammar and how to write properly, however, the information doesn’t stick in my mind, I don’t know the meanings to big and fancy words and it takes me while to understand well – anything – if truth be told.
So as witty and information packed as this book is – I’ve had to keep the dictionary poised on my phone so I can keep up with it.
As I said, this book is about the secrets behind great writing. It lets you in on the techniques used to catch an audience’s attention, engage them and make them remember your words – or rather it shows us what makes certain verses so memorable. Using examples from across history with everyone from Shakespeare to Snoop Dog to Oscar Wilde to the Kit-Kat brand; like a magician revealing the secrets of the Magic Circle, Mark Forsyth breaks down the way in which great writers have produced their ‘works of art’.
As tricky as I found it to read some of this, I did still find it interesting and genuinely laughed out loud at least twice.
One thing is for sure, if I had been taught this stuff in school, like they were some couple hundred years ago, my writing would be so much better as I would have been taught the theory behind the practice (read the book and you’ll know what I mean). I fear I am now too old to try and adopt any of these techniques and I wouldn’t really know where to start anyway.
Would I recommend this book? To anyone who likes to read about grammar practice or even history – then yes. If you aren’t bothered about these subjects, you should probably give it a miss.
Next up: I’m back to the fiction side with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith…I thought this might be a bit of light relief.