The Elements of Style - E.B. White, William Strunk Jr. Reviewers have already said it all: this is the gold standard of grammar and style books, and it's an indispensable resource for writers. I know technical writers who keep a copy at hand, and as a creative writer, my tattered copy holds a place of honor on my bookshelf. My brother gave me a copy of The Elements of Style for Christmas one year when I was a teenager, and it's one of the few writing guides that has served me well without fail. This isn't a manual one needs to return to on an every day basis, but after becoming familiar with the material, it's wise to keep it within arm's reach.

Others have complained that the elementary rules of usage here are narrow and outdated, and I agree. But the sections on composition, form, and style are valuable resources, ones that should be taken advantage of for the writer's own benefit, and these are the segments I turn to as a way of refreshing and tightening my focus. The advice is a foundation for writing that still allows room for instinct and a writer's ear, which White clarifies in his contribution on style, and the hallmark of good writing is an intelligent use of all three. Flipping through the pages of The Elements of Style is a good reminder to maintain balance, and for that alone the book is worth the cost.