Lexical variety, eccentric constructions and punctuation, variant spellings, archaisms, the ability to pile clause on clause, the effortless incorporation of words from other languages: flexibility, and inclusiveness, is what makes English great; and diversity is what keeps it healthy and growing, exuberantly regenerating itself with rich new forms and usages. Shakespearean words, foreign words, slang and dialect and made-up phrases from kids on the street corner: English has room for them all. And writers—not just literary writers, but popular writers as well—breathe air into English and keep it lively by making it their own, not by adhering to some style manual that gets handed out to college Freshmen in a composition class.
Yesterday my mother suggested a wonderful alternative for gift-giving between the adults of the family: we each find books that we think everyone will like, and give a random wrapped book to each other person, which we will pass along to each other throughout the year as we read them. In our case everyone would get a new book to read each month of the year. This I feel good about because the value of each purchase goes to multiple people, and that good books deliver lasting value, even lifelong value.