Category Archives: language generally

March reading

March was kind of meh for reading in the early part of the month.

As mentioned, I was less than impressed by the portion of the Captive Prince trilogy that I read.

Patricia Briggs’ Fire Touched came out early in the month as well.  I’ve given up on her Omega books set in the same world; as I mentioned when I read the last book, Anna’s dismissal of Charles’ desire to not have children Seriously Pissed Me Off and struck me as profoundly offensive in a way that would’ve had readers up in arms if their positions had been swapped.  Mercy…eh, I have mentioned before that her acquisition of a new power  or tool of power or conveniently powered/talented friend whenever one is needed seems lazy.  And it happens again here. Plus, Mercy’s internal monologing in which she knows better than Adam about how he feels about god/religion strikes me as profoundly patronizing in much the same way Anna “knowing best” about whether Charles should want to have kids did.    Yeah, stick a fork in me, I’m done.

I’m almost finished Rebecca Traister’s All the Single Ladies (non-fiction), which I’m really enjoying.

And I’ve got the first installment of Ms. Marvel to read next.  And the web comic Check Please.

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Random:  I was reading an NPR piece on “Boston Chinese” food and ran across one of my language pet peeves, the use of cache for cachet.  They are spelled differently; pronounced differently; and have completely different meanings.  How freaking difficult is it to use the right word.  Boston Chinese does not have “a certain cache”; it has a certain cachet.  FFS.

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Random babble

I keep seeing Chrysler commercials lauding the heroes of the revolution in The Hunger Games.  They make me profoundly uncomfortable, but I can’t articulate why exactly.  They made me actually cringe last weekend, when they were running during coverage of the Paris terrorist attacks.

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Hockey announcers and the way they mangle the names of players that are not Anglo or French really bother me.  Semin is not pronounced like semen; I’m confused why the diacritical isn’t used or why it isn’t Syomin in the NHL the way it was on his jersey in Sochi.  Pietrangelo is not Peter-Angelo.  How hard is it to ask a player how to pronounce their name and then write it down phonetically so it can be pronounced properly?

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On the reading front, not much going on.  I liked JCP’s short PsyCop, Memento.  It’s from Jacob’s POV, and gives an interesting glimpse into his view of Vic.  Since Vic narrates all the other PsyCop books, it’s a novel perspective.

I bought a couple of Patricia Veryan’s older books when they were release in ebooks.  Eh, I tried reading Sanguinet’s Crown but find the characters to be caricatures and the writing to be not very good.  Oh well.

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Happy Turkey Day to any who celebrate it.  I shall be off to Chicago to cling to The Biochemist.

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But followed by comma?

Why?  Why am I seeing “But,” everywhere?  Are writers following the pause = comma rule?

Stop.

Just stop.

Also, prey does not mean the same thing as pray.

Name checks so characters’ names are consistently spelled would be nice.  One character in the $0.99 book I wasted time and money on — yes, I resent both, given how crappy the book was — is both Alisha and Alicia.

Uncomfort is not a word.  Discomfort is.

“Civil law” is not an area of specialization.  Calling it one is like calling biology a specialization in the field of research; it’s still a very broad category.

Direct address commas really do matter.

Consistent use of dashes for compound words would be nice; doing it right for one word right next to another that is ignored is jarring.

“Really” contributes no value to sentences in professional writing and should be cut every time.

 

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Maybe now that’s out of my system I’ll be able to settle into a good book?

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SBD: a publisher I’m going to avoid

I missed SBD last week, so even though Beth hasn’t posted for this week, here it is.

I’m adding an epublisher to my list of epubs to avoid.  It hurts, because there are several authors I like who publish via this company.  It’s one that has been around for a while, comparatively speaking.  But it’s publishing P2P fan fiction now.  And its editing is just…not good, particularly in light of the extremely high prices it charges for books:  $8.99 for an ebook the equivalent of a mass market paperback, which I’m leery enough about in paper, forget the transient nature of ebooks.

Despite my better judgment, over the weekend I bought a new release by an author I’ve enjoyed in past from this press.  I should have known better on two counts.  First, in this series by the author, the POV character talks in dialect with heinously bad grammar with the kind of incorrect verb conjugations of very common irregular and regular verbs that gives the impression (to me) that the character must have scraped through school by the skin of his teeth and had parents who placed no value on literacy.  Yet that is clearly not the backstory created.  Add in the dropped “g” for anything ending in “ing”, should of for should have, the misuse of me/I in plural nouns and objects, and it made my brain hurt.  The cherry on top of the bad-editing sundae was the complete lack of direct address commas and random typos, and the misuse of commas following “but”, and I was highlighting all over the place.

The kicker is that the storytelling, once I got past the grammar, was good, and I like the characters.

But no.  Finished with this press.

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SBD: word selection

I think I’m turning into one of those crotchety older people who let little things get under their skin. I can’t remember being so easily put off by cover blurbs and word selection in the past. Or maybe I was but let the memory blur?

After running errands an doing chores today, I went to B&N with a 20% off coupon in hand. Ended up buying an urban fantasy novel after discarding a dozen possibles in genre romance proper. Why did I discard them? They used words or cliches I hate.

Spitfire. Feisty. Both are used to excuse TSTL heroines. The heroes were strong, silent, rugged, blah blah blah. Back on the shelf immediately.

Then there was the “heavy dram”. *sigh* A dram measures volume, not weight, and the mismatch was jarring and awkward.

Also, before an author starts to write dialogue in dialect, they should probably listen to an actual person speak in that dialect before scattering the generic “ye” through conversations.

ETA:  And the tag line “what to read after Fifty Shades” is an absolute guarantee that I won’t be buying or reading a book.  If I wanted to read fan fiction, I can find better stuff online that ripoffs of bad teen fiction with worse-written BDSM.

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Subject vs. object pronouns

Okay, look, the proper usage of “Name and I” versus “me and Name” or “myself and Name” is not that difficult.  Every time I see an author, aspiring, self-published, or otherwise published, use “Name and I” inappropriately, I cross that writer off my list of potential authors-to-try.  Because if they can’t figure that out, what other grammar butchery will I encounter in their writing?

Yes, it sounds more formal and “correct” than “me and Name” but that’s not the point and sounding correct isn’t the same as being the correct usage.  That’s called hyper-correction, I believe.  They are different parts of speech, and the usage is not a function of being or sounding more formal.

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My name is Inigo Montoya

My name is Inigo Montoya…

Oh, wait, wrong quote.  Instead:  I do not think that word means what you think it means.

I ran across this in a review in The Stranger, the Seattle weekly:  [Y]ou walk down a long corridor before countenancing the 1300 square foot main dance floor…

???  I don’t understand what this sentence means.  Countenance a dance floor?  The transitive verb means to extend tolerance or approval to; one definition of the noun is face or visage.  But the definitions of the parts of speech are not interchangeable.  It’s disappointing but not hugely surprising to see sloppy word usage like that from a legitimate news weekly.  (I assume legitimacy since the paper won a Pulitzer this year.)

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