How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One by Stanley Fish: The book isn’t nearly as enlightening as I’d hoped. At the outset, Fish dismisses the jargon of linguistics but simply substitutes his own. I’m learning far more from a much more difficult but substantial book on language than I did from this one. Of course, for a writer, it is often interesting to see examples of the good and the bad drawn from published work, but Fish could have chosen more modern authors—he doesn’t seem to get much past Gertrude Stein—to be more appealing and relevant to writers.
I suppose if I were still teaching Freshman composition, some of the ideas articulated in the book might be useful. Fortunately for me, I’m not.
On the other hand–and I’m not sure this was a function of reading the book or simply the fact that I’m in the early stages of writing my new novel–I do find myself thinking more and more about sentences. So I’m not sorry that I read Fish.