Tag Archives: English language

A Very, Very, – Bloodbath

I managed to irritate the librarian the other day (she’d have been infuriated if she wasn’t such a nice lady) by sending back an inter-library loaner.  She was quite right, too— I’d requested Titus Andronicus, taken it out, and brought it back, unwatched, within twenty-four hours.

I had but looked at the listing of scenes within the case to realize that a lady oughtn’t to watch it.  Murder, cannibalism, improper advances— why watch it?

They do say (scholars say, and we all know what they’re like) that Titus is one of Shakespeare’s earlier works.  I looked up a copy of it, to read, and they seem to have pegged it right for a change.  Shakespeare’s diction has not the scintillating brilliance that his later works are wonted to have; not even worthy of Henry VI (which I believe he stole), with its “Brandish your crystal tresses in the sky, And with them scourge the bad revolting stars”.

Therefore, until I get to the Histories, I simply respectfully ask you to try Shakespeare’s Hamlet as the best example of the Bard’s work.




Filed under Shakespeare

Wuthering Heights

Today’s suggestion is Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë.

It is rather a slow read.  But, like so many good books, its content wholly makes up for that.  Flawed it is, too, and some sentences made no sense to me; and some words meant to reflect a local dialect were absolutely undecipherable.  A good tale, though, and an excellent book.

This is free on the Kindle, and my library keeps throwing out battered copies (worth asking about at yours), and used-book bookstores will probably have it at a good price too.

Oh, and there is a black-and-white movie edition with Laurence Olivier in it; I haven’t seen it, but I intend to, and review it afterwards.


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Filed under Recommendations, Reviews of old and new books

Something Rich and Strange

I’ve discovered that Beowulf, the great Anglo-Saxon epic, is not only interesting to adults, but also to the younger set when abridged.  This, I would think, proves its timeless, human appeal if even young children enjoy the expurgated edition.

Since Beowulf is so good there are several translations; the Barnes & Noble edition is better as regards the beauty of the words (in my opinion), and it’s cheap; the translation by Seamus Heaney is more expensive, but it’s bilingual—modern English on one side, Anglo-Saxon on the other, which makes it ideal for students of Old English.  Then there are four free Kindle editions, which I haven’t read; worth trying since it’s free, though.


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An Oxymoron or a Paradox?

Today’s recommendation, oddly enough, is not a book.  Actually, it’s an intellectual investment, a daily newspaper.  Aside from the obvious delights of a daily crossword, comics, Sudoku puzzles, ad infinitum, it really is a good thing to keep up with the news (But the ads are simply disgusting. Write the editor and complain!).

Newspaper reading will help you keep up with current events, stimulate political discussions, provide recipes (at least mine does), and provide something disposable to eat on.  (Fish and chips, anyone?)

And finally, reading a print publication as opposed to an online news source means that if you spill your tea or coffee you’re only out a buck, not 200 bucks.


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For Aspiring Writers

I found a most excellent book at the library the other day— The Elements of Style, by William Strunk and E. B. White.

It’s quite dry, of course, and rather slow and dull to read.  However, the advice, or rather instructions, for utilizing the English language contained in it is priceless.  The book explains a great deal about how to write (and speak) correctly.  For instance, it begins by telling you, that one must write “Burns’s poems”, and not “Burns’ poems” (I quoted the book).

I believe it’s out of print now, but you may be able to get it from your library (or request it if they don’t have it).  You could also find it used, in all likelihood.  Enjoy!


Filed under Recommendations