Friday, October 9, 2009

I heart Grammar Girl


There is an uncertain tension that occurs when an avid reader is employed by a library. So many books! The tension increases if library duties include manning the Returns desk. I've read books that I would never have known about had they not come to my attention via check-in. Paging adds its own layer of discovery. (I didn't know there there was a book about this!) Processing hold requests can trip me up, too.

I cannot read everything I want to read. Therefore, tension.

The Internet contributes to this tension, offering scores of book reviews in the blogosphere (that's where I found out about Encyclopedia Idiotica) and by sites like LibraryThing, GoodReads, and Shelfari. Shelfari is currently sending nattery email alerts, telling me all about the reading that other members are doing and encouraging me to log my own. It offers to hook me up with some good books. If it only knew.

My latest Good Book of the Week came to me because somebody tweeted about it - Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips For Better Writing, by Mignon Fogarty. The author has a conversational style that is easy to read. Although she is Grammar Girl, her book includes information concerning usage. She treats the subject with down-to-earth humor and she is not afraid to stand firm about things like asterisks. To quote from the book, "...it drives me crazy when ads have an asterisk next to some offer, and then you can't find what it means. More than once I've seen something such as Jackhammers, 20% off,* and then nothing else on the page to indicate what the asterisk means. Does it mean I get 20 percent off only if it is a Sunday and my name is Squiggly? I hate that!..."*

A podcast listener suggested she call them "exasperisks."

Ms. Fogarty addresses many common errors such as "alot" vs "a lot" vs "allot." I've learned some useful things, e.g. the difference between e.g. and i.e. Her examples are delightful; I've laughed out loud in public, reading this book. I would be happy to suggest it to anyone who writes anything. And now that I've read it, I am much more aware of my own writing style. Alas.

Rather than Overheard on Twitter, I'm choosing instead to highlight a recent discovery, Random Wodehouse Quote. Each time you refresh the page, you'll get a fresh quote from a Wodehouse book. I had to stifle a laugh while at the Reference Desk, an unhealthy thing to do to one's sinus. The quote that did it: His whole attitude was like that of a policeman with nothing on his mind but his helmet.

Next time: rambles among the Internets. Stay tuned.

* Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing, page 112.

1 comment:

Thaydra said...

Working the check-in desk has opened me up to so many genres of books that I never would have picked up in the store. I never would have even gone to the section.

Many of the non-fiction I bring home are items I didn't know existed, or didn't realize the volume in which they exist. It's so fun, but I agree, it's also horribly frusterating as my "to be read" pile grows dramatically faster than my "read" pile.

I am interested in your recommendation though. I've heard of it before. I'm going to go put it on hold!