If you're a speechwriter or science writer, your shelf may be more specialized of course--so feel free to suggest references for various formats, styles and specialties. Whatever your focus, add to this list in the comments and share what inspires or educates you while you're writing.
- Daria Steigman recommends The Associated Press Stylebook "of course. Plus University of Chicago style guide(if you need citations), and a good thesaurus (though that can be online)."
- Frank Blanchard put in a word for "The Elements of Style, and the Associated Press Guide to News Writing."
- Dana Vickers Shelley had a diverse shelf, with "The Elements of Style, The Holy Bible: King James Version, Roget's Thesaurus and Calvin and Hobbes (makes me smile)."
- Sarah Milstein, a co-author of The Twitter Book suggests "Webster's Word Menu is super-useful for brainstorming titles and finding related ideas."
- If much of your writing exists in email form, Elizabeth Newman reports "I have found Send: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better, Revised Edition, by David Shipley and Will Schwalbe, to be very helpful."
UPDATE: Here are more entries, submitted by email, Twitter and Facebook. Put your suggestions in the comments to keep the list going:
- William Zinsser's On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction was suggested by Chuck MacDonald, who added, "It's a classic. No wasted words in this one."
- Basics rule for Paul Raeburn, who wrote, "A dictionary! Amazing how difficult it is to find one these days..."
- "While I am not a screenwriter, I always pull out The Understructure of Writing for Film and Televisionby Ben Brady and Lance Lee," tweeted Melissa Sachs.