CMOS: How did you come to think about writing as “flabby”? HS: Many years ago, I read Richard Lanham’s book Revising Prose, which influenced me deeply as a writer. Lanham teaches you to identify the “lard factor” in your writing, based on the percentage of words that you could omit without significantly changing its meaning. The Writer’s Diet follows similar principles, but with
Today CMOS talks with Angela Gibson, associate director of scholarly communication and head of book and online publications at the Modern Language Association, about the newest edition of MLA Handbook.
Today, in a historic first, the reclusive 110-year-old Chicago Manual of Style grants an interview to its youthful offspring, the online “Chicago Style Q&A,” which has been answering readers’ questions on behalf of the Manual since 1997.
Q.Have you seen big changes in what young people want to read over the course of your career as a bookseller turned librarian?
Would you play Scrabble against this man? Peter Sokolowski is editor at large at Merriam-Webster, where he works on the Word of the Day podcast, Ask the Editor videos, articles about word trends and etymologies—and serves as pronouncer for spelling bees around the world. Editor Carol Saller asks him about Merriam-Webster’s billion lookups each year.
CMOS: You have now translated a large portion of the Hebrew Bible into English. What motivated you to take on such an enormous, high-profile, high-stakes project?
Matt Upson, assistant professor and director of library undergraduate services at Oklahoma State University, and C. Michael Hall (Mike) Hall, a writer, cartoonist, and public speaker, sought a better way to teach these students how to do research. Together with cartoonist Kevin Cannon, they created Information Now: A Graphic Guide to Student Research. It’s the first graphic novel to tackle information literacy and also the first graphic novel published by the University of Chicago Press.
CMOS: How did medical school happen after you seemed set for a career in journalism? Was it your intention all along to combine the two?
John Perry is emeritus professor of philosophy at Stanford University and the author of The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawding, Lollygaggy and Postponing. In it, he points out that many successful people are actually “structured” procrastinators—those who get a lot done by not doing other things. In it, he points out . . .
CMOS: When it comes to word processing, CMOS users probably represent every level of expertise (or nonexpertise), but regardless of skill level, we all experience frustration at times when we don’t know how to accomplish a task on our computers. Often we do something the way we’ve always done it—the slow way—because it just seems too difficult or scary to try to automate it. Is there a cure?