Kenn Amdhal’s Joy Writing will almost inevitably be compared to, and judged against, Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. It is, after all, a slim, spare volume devoted to language and the art of writing. Joy Writing, however, is distinguished by the author’s winning conversational style and his use of original, arresting images to freshly garnish some familiar pieces of advice.
In some ways, Joy Writing is actually more akin to On the Sublime, an ancient treatise on the theory of great writing, which describes what gives great writing its power to move us, whether the best art is that which most closely imitates nature, and the role of the creative impulse in human nature-though Amdahl couches his enterprise in far more modest terms.
Anyone who has ever felt the need to write will immediately identify with the writer, but the book is enjoyable and engaging even for those with no grand literary aspirations. Not only is Amdahl’s little book an informative, coherent guide to the elements of writing, it is brimming with life, humor, and genuine enthusiasm on every page.
Reviewed by Tim Coover