Volume 28, Number 4, Winter 2006

What We're Reading

By Susanne Bjørner, Bjørner & Associates and ILEX member

As I write this, I'm headed off to the Frankfurt Book Fair. That's the giant one where publishers from all nations sell their wares and make big deals. I'm not selling or dealing, but I am doing my homework with The Elements of International English Style, a wonderful guide by Edmond H. Weiss (M.E. Sharpe) that offers advice on writing correspondence, reports, technical documents, and (last but not least) Web pages, for a global audience. It's filled with practical tips on what words and constructions to use (and what not to) so that non-native English readers understand what you are saying. It may be harder for us than for the non-native English speaker! I figure the same techniques should work well in face-to-face conversation, too.

When the big box that I sent from the exhibit floor in New Orleans finally made its way to my post office, I got right to work on Telling Ain't Training, by Harold D. Stolovitch and Erica J. Keeps (American Society for Training & Development). This book explains why much workplace group training doesn't work and tells trainers how to change that. Based on solid research and two lifetimes of experience in corporate training, it's filled with exercises that are eye-opening and fun to try. In fact, Telling Ain't Training is such a good model of what it is teaching about, that if I were reading it as an audio book, I would think I was sitting in a class—a very interesting and effective one.

I've just ordered three copies of The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger for my women's book group. According to the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, it's (still!) one of the ten most challenged books—in 2005. Questioned are its “sexual content, offensive language and being unsuited to age group.” Hmmm. I think there is one of our group who is under forty.