What Journalism Books Do Journalists Recommend?


Before you say "Who gives a Felt," scroll down to Reason book-critic-in-chief Nick Gillespie's response:

Build a bonfire on the beach with all those hand-wringing tomes about journalism's sick, sad decline that have washed ashore these past few years like so much medical waste on Coney Island. To learn all you ever need to know about credibility, credulity, and the ability to hold (and alienate) an audience, turn to The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, the 1838 "true-life" tale of mutiny, cannibalism, and much more by the first gonzo journalist, Edgar Allan Poe.

More Gillespie & others here; link via Romenesko.

NEXT: Is Katherine Harris Drunk?

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  1. The Elements of Style and an AP stylebook are a good start.

  2. Also set in that era, with fascinating accounts of the beginnings of the NYSC, from the man who pretty much invented short selling and sold watered stock to Jacob Astor, told in his own engaging words: The Book of Daniel Drew.
    I highly recommend it.

  3. Somewhat off-topic, but a great summer read is “When Genius Failed.” It’s the story of Long Term Capital Management, the hedge fund that almost tanked the US banking system in 1998.

    It sounds pretty damn boring, but the personalities in it are fascinating. Also, I had no idea that our banking system almost died. It became even more fascinating when I was working construction a few summers ago, and found myself working on the Meriwether’s McMansion. I guess he came out on top in the end. Thanks, Greenwich CT!

  4. Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!


    (I have manageed to work in an H.P. Lovecraft reference via an April Fool’s joke posted on the Dinosaur Mailing List of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.)

  5. So does Randolph Carter have any comment on the H.P. Lovecraft reference?

  6. um… eldritch, gibbering, gelatinous, cacaphony, blind idiot-god, chaos, fungus… I think that about covers it!

    Has anyone done an “improbable phrase” search on Lovecraft books? I bet there are some gems.

  7. Randolph Carter-Your wish is my command.
    Curvilinear heiroglyphs
    Twilight abysses
    Elder things
    Hill noises
    Elder things
    Fishy odour
    Blasted Heath (?)

    Among others.

  8. Blasted Heath is from “The Colour Out of Space.” It’s where the wierd fungus lands.

  9. N’thgfulp! Ia Ia!


    Cyclopean basalt!

  10. The book has long ago passed to public domain. It is available here: http://wikisource.org/wiki/The_Narrative_of_A._Gordon_Pym

  11. The Elements of Style is not worth the ink it is printed with. It is full of bad “rules” that are nothing of the kind and routinely breaks said “rules” in its text!

    Don’t split infinitives? Latin-based horseshit! English is NOT Latin; its grammar isn’t even Latin-derived. English is English, and to occasionally split the infinitive isn’t not forbidden, it is almost required to make the phrase sing.

    Don’t end a sentence with a preposition? In most cases, the word that some unthinking jackass is objecting to isn’t functioning as a preposition, it is functioning as part of a verb, or as an adverb or adjective. In other cases, the rewording is so awkward as to destroy the sentence. Again, this so-called “rule” is something found in Latin, and again, I must state that English ain’t Latin. We can put our prepositions in places that Latin can’t. Get over it.

    But you don’t have to take my word for it. Try the professional linguists at . BTW, if you enjoy reading about language and linguistics, the guys at Language Log are almost always a joy to read. Plus, they have a libertarian streak, if only in regards to English. I.e., language rules shouldn’t be imposed by elites; they are an emergent property of millions of individual speakers. Much the way a market economy operates.

  12. Sorry, the link to Language Log evaporated. Try


  13. The book on grammar, Eats Shoots and Leaves by Lynn Truss is very fun and interesting… a grammatically correct.

    As far as books on Journalism, guess as always, it depends on your audience.

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