November 21, 2012

Pride and Prejudice ***

*** Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen, 1813

I loaded this book on my Kindle when I was stuck at the car shop. Mr. Bennett grabbed me immediately, and although he's a minor character, I looked forward to every scene he inhabited. His articulate cynicism and sarcasm steal the show in my view. He needs his own book.

As for the rest of the story, this is the first Austen book I've read. She's an excellent writer, but I'm definitely not her target demographic. I wearied of the constant dithering about who was going to hook up with whom, and all the unnecessary drama that happens in books such as these when manners or honor prevent people from just coming out and saying what needs to be said.

In other news, I will be making a second appearance on the BBC World Book Club as a caller asking a question about Pride and Prejudice on the Dec 3 taping of the show. Maybe this time I won't pronounce "metaphor" as "metafer."

November 1, 2012

Thesaurus of Alternatives to Worn-Out Words and Phrases **

** Thesaurus of Alternatives to Worn-Out Words and Phrases, Robert Hartwell Fiske, 1994

My mom got this for me at a garage sale or some such a year ago. I gave it the upstairs bathroom position, reading the 310 pages in two or four page chunks.

I mainly skimmed through the phrases to keep fresh in my mind what not to use. After the first few pages, I didn't read much of the alternatives copy.

It's good to remind yourself occasionally of the cliches and tired terminology you use without thinking of it, so you can toss that out and create something fresh. However, Fiske's tone is snobbish, with didactic pronouncements such as:

Infantile phrases are popular among adolescents--and dimwits who still think like them.
Ineffectual phrases add only to our being ineffectual people.
If it weren't for our plethora of metaphors, especially sports images, dimwitted men and, even women would be far less able to articulate their thoughts. 

Hence the skimming. I can use the list without the condescension.