First You Write a Sentence: The Elements of Reading, Writing . . . and Life is an opinionated book about writing, more of a reflection of writing than a self-help book, for the most part, and often not welcoming to the casual writer. What should we make of, “A long sentence should feel like it is pushing at its edges while still keeping its shape.”? There are some very helpful tactical tips near the end, as in pressing enter after each sentence to immediately see that there is an appropriate mix of long and short sentences, but the overall book was a slog, for me casual writer.