The Oxford Style Manual
is gloriously thorough double whammy of a book that unites the famous Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors
and the Oxford Guide to Style
(once known as Hart's Rules
) for the first time.
If you don't know the en or em rules or how to use your solidus or vertical (aka--a standard abbreviation which needs no punctuation--as a forward slash) then this is your chance to find out. And what happens when you need to write a foreign word--perhaps Polish, Urdu or Icelandic--but you don't know what the accents are called, let alone where to find them on your computer? Oxford Style Manual is strong on diacritics-- signs and symbols on, or near, letters. There's helpful advice about foreign names too: "To call Calais callis would be obscurantist, to call Munich Munchen exhibitionist".
The vexed laws, conventions and effects of copyright and the stylistic mysteries of special subjects from music to Jewish scriptures are all meticulously detailed in Oxford Style Manual's first sixteen chapters. The second half is an alphabetical listing: eccentric dictionary cum mini-encyclopaedia crossed with an authoritative account of written dos and don'ts (neither of which needs an apostrophe). Thus you learn that a diglot is a book containing text in two languages, a bequerel is a unit of radioactivity and school-leaving age needs a hyphen whereas sleeping bag does not.
It's a dream book for wordoholics and pedants to browse in and a valuable useful reference work for those who just want to get things right whether they work in the print media or not.--Susan Elkin
"This fine guidebook is an excellent choice....Highly recommended."--Library Journal