Category Archives: Words

Cuckoo Song, Frances Hardinge 

She dreamed that she was in a dressmaker’s shop to be measured, but that when she took off her own frock to try on the new one, she found she had another dress on underneath. She took off that one as well, only to find yet another dress beneath that one. Dress after dress she removed, becoming thinner and thinner all the while, until it came to her that in the end there would be nothing left of her, except a pile of discarded clothes and a disembodied wail. 

  

Advertisements

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,900 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Who or whom?

The excessive length of this rather cumbersome sentence from Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, which begins 5 lines before the section photographed, is awkward…

But am I having a brain freeze moment here?

My brain balks at the clumsiness of the whom in the following sentence.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/528/35250313/files/2015/01/img_6321.jpg

I kind of know it is right and can probably conjure up an explanation which is likely to use phrases like

it is an objective relative pronoun introducing a relative clause in which Ricky is the object of the verb phrase “surprised to see” which would naturally attract the personal pronoun him if re-written as “I was surprised to see him lingering near the punch bowl”.

But it still feels awkward.

As I say, possibly a minor inherent awkwardness exacerbated by an excessively long sentence.

Editors, where was your red pencil?

Language and Grammar Jokes

My favourite language joke of all time goes as follows:

Three intransitive verbs walked into a bar. They sat. They drank. They left.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/528/35250313/files/2015/01/img_6314.jpg

If you ever want a tumbleweed moment, deliver that to a classroom of teenagers!

However, here are a few more, shamelessly stolen from around the interweb… Thank you Grammarly, in particular.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/528/35250313/files/2015/01/img_6306.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/528/35250313/files/2015/01/img_6311.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/528/35250313/files/2015/01/img_6310.gif

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/528/35250313/files/2015/01/img_6312.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/528/35250313/files/2015/01/img_6309.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/528/35250313/files/2015/01/img_6308.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/528/35250313/files/2015/01/img_6304.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/528/35250313/files/2015/01/img_6298.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/528/35250313/files/2015/01/img_6297.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/528/35250313/files/2015/01/img_6305.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/528/35250313/files/2015/01/img_6295.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/528/35250313/files/2015/01/img_6294.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/528/35250313/files/2015/01/img_6292.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/528/35250313/files/2015/01/img_6291.png

Have a wonderful 2015!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/528/35250313/files/2015/01/img_6285.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/528/35250313/files/2015/01/img_6288.jpg

My Year In Books: Best Reads of 2014

It’s that time of year again: the last day before New Year. As with last year, it’s time to look back and consider the books I’ve read.

This post will deal with my favourite reads this year. Worst reads (of which there weren’t that many!) will come later – follow this link to see them! So this is, I suppose, like the Booker Prize… Except that there’s no money on offer… And that these are books read in rather than published in the last year.

So not very much like the Man Booker at all really! Although there will be some overlapping books.

Right let’s aim for a top five.

#5 The Golem and The Djinni by Helene Wecker was actually my first read of the year! Beautiful depictions of immigrant cultures to New York and compelling on many levels: sociological, fantastical, personal and a rollicking good plot!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/528/35250313/files/2014/12/img_6255.jpg

#4 Room by Emma Donoghue. A powerful and poignant story of a mother and child brought up in the most appalling situation as captives. Donoghue said she wanted to create that story at a distance from the horror and terror of the kidnapping when rituals had been established and tedium set in. And the most beautifully realised child’s voice I’ve read.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/528/35250313/files/2014/12/img_6256.jpg

#3 Harvest by Jim Crace which was a Man Booker nominee in 2013 – as Room was in 2010. An absolutely astounding evocation of a moment in time and a wonderfully breathy summery feel to it which makes it wonderful to recall in this grey weather.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/528/35250313/files/2014/12/img_6257.jpg

#2 The History Of The Rain by Niall Williams.

I really did love this book, a Man Booker longlist nominee. I loved the poetry of the language, the literariness of it, the humour and humanity.

Just absolutely wonderful.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/528/35250313/files/2014/12/img_6260.jpg

#1 The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton.

I only came upon this book and Catton because of her Booker-winning The Luminaries which was also wonderful. But for me The Rehearsal was sublime. It was coruscating and complex and writhed like a snake under the reader’s eyes. Exquisitely discomforting.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/528/35250313/files/2014/12/img_6259.jpg

Ahhh… But now I’m already worrying about this list. Am I happy with the order? Should The Luminaries have been included? What of all the other books that were great but I’ve not included.

So a handful of honourable mentions, perhaps?

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

More Than This by Patrick Ness

Good Omens by Messrs Pratchett and Gaiman

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/528/35250313/files/2014/12/img_6265.jpg