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May 21, 2005

Comments

Steve Mitchelmore

How about an LBC member explaining what "literary aspirations" might be, rather than assuming we all know.

booksquare

I'm sure others have their own definitions, but to my way of thinking, each type of genre fiction has specific conventions. Literary fiction, while it can follow conventions of any and all genres, tends not to be bound the structural rules. Atkinson seemed to play with the boundaries of her genre just enough that it didn't truly feel like crime fiction to me. This was actually a pleasure because I like to be surprised when I read, and that doesn't happen very often.

Justus

I am reading Case Histories right now and came across a sentence that has me stumped. On page 49 Atkinson writes "if ever there was an unnecessary tense it was the French subjunctive." I see three possibilities: this is a subtle grammatical joke; this is how British English actually works; Atkinson and her editors have committed one of the saddest lapses I can recall. (I suppose a fourth is that I am simply wrong about the sentence.) Anyone venture a guess as to which it is?

booksquare

I took it as a subtle literary joke (which makes one wonder if there's such an animal as an overt literary joke). Of course, I am of the unpopular opinion that the English subjunctive is falling into disuse as part of the natural evolution of language.

Reagan Arthur, the book's US editor will be here next Thursday...we can ask her then (surely a trick grammar question is the best way to terrify an editor).

Jozef Imrich

'When you publish a book, it's the world's book. The world edits it.'
-Philip Roth

Amen! Awomen ;-)

1. Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.

2. Never use a preposition to end a sentence with. Winston Churchill, corrected on this error once, responded to the young man who corrected him by saying "Young man, that is the kind of impudence up with which I will not put!

3. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.

4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.

5. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They're old hat.)

6. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.

7. Be more or less specific.

8. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.

9. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies endlessly over and over again

10. No sentence fragments.

11. Contractions aren't always necessary and shouldn't be used to excess so don’t.

12. Foreign words and phrases are not always apropos.

13. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous and can be excessive

14. All generalizations are bad.

15. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.

16. Don't use no double negatives.

17. Avoid excessive use of ampersands & abbrevs., etc.

18. One-word sentences? Eliminate.

19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake (Unless they are as good as gold).

Czech out: http://www.creativeteachingsite.com/humorgrammar.htm

David Thayer

This insightful essay cast light on several dark corners of the book world. Smudging the edges of genre convention may not make a book literary, but it is worth remembering that genres were created as a means of selling books, and are now regarded as a blueprint for writing them. Literary work travels in various disguises in order to be published, packaged and sold to an audience so thoroughly confused by the packaging they flee the bookstore. The time compression alluded to for avid readers describes another barrier for all new releases to leap over. Reading is a leisure activity. You have thirty seconds. Hurry up and read.

Health News

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