"Read, read, read. Read everything--trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out the window." William Faulkner
I used this quote for my "Q" letter, but this introduces my topic today, and why I love The Wall Steet Journal.
|Mr. Hobbes reading the Wall Street Journal|
The WSJ has excellent writers, and they write long articles. I like the formal aspect of their writing, using Mr. Jones and Ms. Smith instead of just the last names, and "Please turn to page. . . . " And even if, as a liberal, you disdain reading the WSJ, just skip the editorials and read the last sections. Their Friday Review and Saturday Personal Journal are always worth reading. The header for the Review lists, Books, Culture, Science, Commerce, Humor, Language, Technology, Art, and Ideas. The Personal Journal has Style and Travel, Leisure and Arts, Sports, and Gear and Gadgets.
I like Jason Gay, one of their sports writers. I wish I had saved Mr. Gay's articles on the World Soccer Championships, but I gave them to a friend. His comments on the Vizulas and the personalities of the French team were priceless. In case you think the WSJ is stodgy, there was one article, "Live in Concert. The online buzz about the ghostly image of deceased rapper Tupac Shakur used on stage last weekend's Coachella music festival." And on the same page, a weekly column, "Week in Words" by Erin Mckean who writes about the unusual words used in the WSJ, "boondocking," "particularist," "hotelling," and "bar codes" were April 21st's words.
Book reviews are interesting. Two books about Africa were reviewed, with a five- column, almost full-page spread. "Greetings From a New Africa" was the title and an excerpt read: "Small mobile-phone companies set up masts in African capitals hoping that the rich would buy mobile phones. They were wrong. In a continent of talkers with fewer than 27 million landlines, everybody wanted one." (From the April 21-22 issue). There is so much more, every week.
Will reading the WSJ make you a better writer? I don't know, but it will give you a wealth of ideas.
What magazines, newspapers, professional journals, and books do you read for ideas, information and entertainment, either in print or on-line? And I think you can get ideas from everywhere, People magazine too.