Monday, March 12, 2007

The War on Describing Stuff

If you happen to be a grammar fiend like myself, or have anything approaching an interest in linguistics or the craft of writing sentences that will not be scorned by present and/or future generations, I suggest moseying on over to the NY Times Sunday Book Review and perusing the "first chapter" of When You Catch an Adjective, Kill It by Ben Yagoda. The book promises to do one the disservice of making me uber-conscientious of my use of adjectives (why aren't my nouns strong enough? why not use an adjectival phrase instead -- or better, a verb that says what the adjective only pokes at? Blast!). Speaking of which, I wonder if Ben's book will address the use of foreign adjectives in English language (example: uber), which is equal parts annoying and addictive. Yet another book I have to get and read.

Aside from the books I should be studying as I "work" on my thesis and that whale book, which teems with choice adjectives, the current lit awaiting my attention here in Sarasota, FL (all of which, I might add, are recent acquisitions -- though the Doctorow's just a loan) are as follows:

A Fine Line by Rohinton Mistry
The March by EL Doctorow
My Life as a Fake by Peter Carey
Baudolino by Umberto Eco
Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne

By the way, Saul Bellow's a big-time adjective abuser, though deployed with experience, skill, and wisdom, such adjectivism happily manages to buoy up prose already supple and sensuous (or something).

Also, I had something else to write about... I've forgotten now, so I'll add it in later. Now I am off to take a walk and circulate my blood un poquito.

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In summing up, I wish I had some kind of affirmative message to leave you with. I don't. Would you take two negative messages?
-- Woody Allen