“He opened the letter, read it, and made a note of its contents.”

A review of the new Franzen in the NYTBR that runs to about eighteen hundred words, featuring plenty of nouns and adjectives and phrases presented in series, but never once invoking the ‘Times style book’s omission of the serial comma?:

“clever, superior, smarty-pants;” “broken, awkward, imperfect;” “sheer, poignant, foolish;” “difficult, embittered, resentful;” “artistically brilliant, tormented, somewhat geeky;” “learning German, the Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schulz, bird-watching;” “politics, global affairs, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Iraq war;” “the smugness, the avidity, the pomposity, the rank egotism;” “one about the sale of his mother’s house, another on the unintended effects of some high school pranks, another on the author’s pubescent experience of a Christian youth group;” “the humorous—and, indeed, the amusing, the pleasurable, the beautiful;” “the stultifyingly conventional adolescence in a St. Louis suburb[;] the earnest, aspirational mother; the stern, anhedonic father;” “perpetual awkward, perpetually failed, and yet just as perpetually optimistic;” “[T]o write about the self without recourse to glib narratives of redemption so characteristic of memoir just now, without romanticizing his faults. To strip away the layers of self-congratulation (to say nothing of flat-out lies) that we so often get in ‘personal histories,’ in other words, and to say, in effect, ‘I am an imperfect person and this is what it looks like to be that imperfect person—to insufficiently love one’s fellow man, one’s parents, one’s spouse, even oneself.'”

Is Daniel Mendelsohn as fond of Strunk and White’s second rule of usage, not to mention Chicago 5.57 (14th ed.), as I am?