My book read on writing this year is Virginia Tufte’s Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style. If you don’t remember some of my personal reading observances, I read one book on writing every year. Tufte’s excellent book takes you through the various syntactic elements and shows the reader through actual examples their stylistic implications. I’ll have more to say on it in the future, I’m sure. But in her very first chapter she provides this marvelous quote by the novelist and linguist Anthony Burgess, who by the way is best known for his novel, A Clockwork Orange. This quote is not from that work, but from one of his Enderby novels.
And the words slide into the slots ordained by syntax, and glitter as with atmospheric dust with those impurities which we call meaning.