Continuing the description of books on words and language listed in the introductory post, which you’ll find here.
Book 20: New Hart’s Rules:
Hardback, 464 pages. Subtitled, The Oxford Style Guide, it was first published in 2005 by Oxford University Press. Mine is the 2014 edition and I paid £14.99 for it. The book is a completely revised and enlarged version of the old ‘Hart’s Rules for Compositors and Readers’, which I reviewed here in post 16 of this series.
I bought it because, as a writer, I feel I owe my readers as complete a knowledge of the tools of my trade as I can manage. Much has changed in the worlds of publishing and writing since I acquired the older version of this invaluable volume.
The book begins with a detailed description of the ‘parts of a book’, which explains how a book is constructed. This relates mostly to the way a nonfiction book is built, but there are elements of interest to fiction writers, too. I’ll list the other 20 chapters, as they will provide an idea of what the book contains:
Preparing copy; Spelling and hyphenation; Punctuation; Capitalization; Names, Italic, roman, and other type treatments; Work titles in text; Quotations and direct speech; Abbreviations and symbols; Numbers and dates; Languages; Law and legal references; Science mathematics, and computing; Lists and tables; Illustrations and artwork; Notes and references; Bibliography; Indexing; Copyright and other publishing responsibilities; US and British English. There are also sections on Proofreading marks, and Glossary of printing and publishing terms.
If you’re a writer, and think you can manage without this sort of information; good luck!
The book is, of course, written in British English, including the spelling.
It’s a significant improvement on its parent, providing a huge amount of current information. I certainly recommend this book for authors of all types.
English is a complex language, made up of words from many countries, and it borrows rules of grammar, punctuation and even style from those originating lands, which makes it interestingly familiar to learners but also frequently frustratingly baffling to the same students.