I tried, a few times, to read Strunk and White, and never did manage it. I tried reading a few other grammar books, I tried looking up grammar guides online, and every one left me confused, upset, and still with little idea how to write any better than I did.
Then I found A Dash of Style, by Noah Lukeman. It did far more than I’d have asked of such a handbook. It revolutionized the way I looked at words and the tiny marks that guide them. The subtitle isn’t kidding when it reads “The Art and Mastery of Punctuation.”
The book trains your eyes to the subtle differences that separate a masterful sentence from a weak one, like a Jujitsu master trains your hands to the differences between a powerful wrist lock, and uselessly twisting someone’s fingers. Or like a chef learns that the difference between a simply good soup and the great soup he wants to make is a pinch of this, and a dash of that.