A Very British Romance #TVReview #BriFri
1 hour ago
"September means pressed white shirts. New socks. School shoes. Rigidly pleated skirts. "Those pleats. That's what morality looks like," one of the history teachers said once in class. He was young and exciting, and he was talking about the Inquisition, which seemed to give him a particular thrill. "That pleat right there," he said with an arch smile, pointing to one of the girls' freshly pressed skirts. "That's morality for you." No one knew exactly what he meant. But all of the girls laughed and shifted a little sideways in their seats."Sounds a bit creepy, huh? Makes me wonder what comes next. Yes, it's true, that's exactly how far I've read in the book so far -- one paragraph. In spite of my curiosity, I won't start reading this one just yet because I am a mere 34 pages into Barbara Kingsolver's 2009 novel The Lacuna. This is the book chosen by my Book Buddies for our online discussion in November -- and November is upon us! It's hard to believe Monday is the start of a new month.
"If you had to choose a punctuation mark as a symbol of yourself, which mark would it be?Oh, I have no doubt which punctuation mark represents me! Years ago I was so impressed with Robert Fulghum's thinking in his book Uh-Oh: Some Observations from Both Sides of the Refrigerator Door (1991). He calls a semicolon a "sign of continuing possibility" and ends the book with -- what else? -- a semicolon;
"Are you a person who's inquisitive? Curious about other people? About life in general? Then maybe a question mark would be a good choice.
"Are you someone who takes chances, who's a doer, who craves excitement? That sounds like an exclamation point.
"Or perhaps you're steadfast and deliberate in your approach to life. You like things orderly and on an even keel. You might dub yourself Ms. or Mr. Period" (page 1).
(Yes, just like that.)This book -- Grammar Moves -- doesn't get to me (the semicolon, me, get it?) until Chapter 11. Hey, guess what it says about semicolons: "Grammar for Being Diplomatic."
Yes! A semicolon represents me. Which punctuation mark would you pick?
"Not only does the semicolon have multiple functions, but those functions also seem contradictory in nature; it can be both a divider and a uniter. ... The semicolon acts a lot like we do. We, too, divide or unite, depending on the context in which we find ourselves. Sometimes, for example, we need to keep people apart; sometimes we need to bring them together."
Synopsis: A long-lost book reappears, mysteriously connecting an old man searching for his son and a girl seeking a cure for her widowed mother's loneliness.I like books about books. I'm thinking about People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, a 2008 book I read with my online Book Buddies discussion group.
The Way to Write (1947), the original title, cost $3.95 in hardback.
A New Guide to Better Writing (1963), a small paperback version, cost 75 cents.
The Classic Guide to Better Writing (1996), the 50th anniversary paperback, cost $9.95 then, and $13.95 now.
"All of this takes place in the life of Francie Nolan, who is eleven years old when her story opens in the summer of 1912, in a third-floor walk-up apartment in the shadow of the hardy urban ailanthus tree..." (page viii).I stopped to get online and look it up. The ailanthus tree, also known as the Tree of Heaven, is "native to Asia and northern Australia. It was introduced into England from China in the mid-18th century as an ornamental, migrating to the United States in 1874." I found pictures of the tree and decided to get online to share them with everybuddy (especially my Book Buddies). So here I am at almost 8:00 in the evening, and I've managed to read a whole three-and-a-half paragraphs of the book. The Foreword, actually. I haven't even gotten to Francie yet. With just under 500 pages to go, I'd better finish this post and start reading!
"Louise needed to stop thinking about herself. She could think about her job as teacher's aide, or her friends, or their three little brothers, only eight, eleven, and thirteen but out almost every day with their wagon, collecting for the metal drive. They got a penny a pound, and they'd raised more money for war bonds than any other kids in their Chicago neighborhood -- they'd even had their pictures in the newspaper."
|Edward R. Murrow|
"She [Margaret] went into the parlor to sit with her husband and listen to the radio. Edward R. Murrow was a must for both of them."I finished the book, so I guess I'll rate it 6/10, above average.
"Em waits for the cross light to turn green, oblivious to the group of college boys who are totally checking her out" (p. 281).The book isn't as shallow as I've made it sound. Each girl learned a few things about herself (that isn't a spoiler). This conversation (p. 235) gives an idea of how it feels to find yourself in a strange situation for a semester:
She sniffs. "You're the only one who understands what I'm going through, trying to be somebody else."Overall, I enjoyed the book in spite of comparing some of the book's students to mine. Rated: 8 of 10, a very good book.
"Trying to be a different part of yourself," I correct, but she doesn't seem to hear me.
277 + 107 + 132 = 516Time spent reading:
(lost track, but who cares?)Titles I'm trying to read:
From Sophomore Switch by Abby McDonald comes swooshicopter, a spiral-shaped leaf that falls from its tree in a twirling motion until it almost reaches the ground and then rises to fall repeatedly before coming to rest.By the way, my spellcheck confirms that swooshicopter is NOT a word by putting that swiggly red line under it in both places! Yes, I used it twice: in the definition above and here in this explanatory paragraph.
From what I've read so far, I'm far more interested in the parts about Dewey the cat than anything else. So is my cat, Kiki. Scroll down two mini-challenges to see the photo of Kiki reading the book. All she writes about on her Kiki Caturdays is what the library cat -- Dewey Readmore Books -- does in the book.===========================================================
That's Dewey in the photo, along with Vicki Myron, the librarian who wrote the book about him.
Oops! Sorry, Lynne, I just noticed the heading of your blog shows a dog with the book Why Dogs Are Better than Cats. I'm sure Dewey would say you simply don't know the right cats -- and he still wouldn't have dreamed of dating a dog.Dewey didn't dig dating dogs.
===========================================================Reading worldwide,as we remember Dewey!
When I was a child, one of my favorite books was Little Black Sambo (click to read my review). He is one of the cleverest children in all of literature.
I love Miss Rumphius! I didn't discover her until I was an adult -- actually, the book wasn't even written until my children were grown -- but I think it's one of the best books ever written.Have you included any children’s or YA titles in your Read-A-Thon stack this year?
No, I don't have any children's books around this time. Wait, I do have one YA book on my stack: Sophomore Switch by Abby McDonald, 2009. Does that count?===========================================================
"...some artist risk their lives to create and speak in a hostile environment."The pronoun their refers back to artist. One or the other is incorrect. I read the whole paragraph and know the writer intended the plural artists, yet she consistently used the singular word artist instead;
artist = singular subject
their = plural pronoun
"We learn about many Haitian artist."I think the problem is not about spelling, but about hearing. It's hard to distinguish between the spoken words artist and artists, but they look different on a page. A careful reader should notice that one word has an "s" on the end and the other does not. People cannot spell correctly because they don't read and thus are unable to really hear what is said. Here are other examples of writers having problems with plurals that I've run across today:
many = more than one
artist = singular
"I may be one of the rare person who has not read this book."Cheating in class
"I picked up seven novels and six DVD."
"...a countless amounts of dreams..." (The whole phrase is a mess.)
plural = more than oneI told my early class yesterday their biggest writing problem was failing to listen to the instructions. A few minutes later one young man said, "Would you repeat that? I was working on something else." No one seemed to notice the irony, and I am rapidly losing hope that I can get through to some of them.
antecedent = preceding
Francie Nolan learns early the meaning of hunger and the value of a penny. She is romantic and hungry for beauty, like her father. She is also deeply practical and in constant need of truth, like her mother. And like the Tree of Heaven that grows out of cement or through cellar gratings, Francie struggles against all odds to survive and thrive.I haven't started reading it yet. First, I hope to finish a library book that's due back this week. I've been so busy planning, teaching, and grading dozens of papers that I have been taking books back to the library unread. Hmm, I wonder if I can do a teaser with this? It will be a teaser for me as well as for you. Opening the book at random, I'm reading this from page 123:
Johnny went back to thinking aloud. "Married seven years and we've had three homes. This will be my last home."According to the back cover, Betty Smith was born Elisabeth Lillian Wehner on December 15, 1896, the same day (though five years earlier) as her fictional heroine Francie Nolan. The daughter of German immigrants, she grew up poor in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, the very world she recreates with such meticulous detail in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
Francie didn't notice that he said my last home instead of our last home.
Every night, he sat on top of the computer screen as I worked, lazily swiping his tail back and forth. When I hit a wall, either from writer's block, fatigue, or stress, he jumped down into my lap or onto the keyboard. No more, he told me. Let's play. Dewey had an amazing sense of timing.We don't forget our tails! How silly! Dewey was trying to be helpful. People don't see as well as cats, you know. Anyway, there's more at the top of the next page:
"All right, Dewey," I told him. "You go first."
Dewey's game was hide-and-seek, so as soon as I gave the word he would take off around the corner into the main part of the library. Half the time I immediately spotted the back half of a long-haired orange cat. For Dewey, hiding meant sticking your head in a bookshelf; he seemed to forget he had a tail.
"I wonder where Dewey is," I said out loud as I snuck up on him. "Boo!" I yelled when I got within a few feet, sending Dewey running.Sometimes Vicki couldn't find Dewey, but he always found her. Cats are smart, you see, and Dewey would watch where she went -- and even follow her, if he needed to. So he always won this game.