Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Shorts

Kaavya continued

Should you care -- and I'm not at all sure that you should -- Galleycat has more on the Kaavya Viswanathan affair. First, a more or less anonymous but easily unmasked Harvard staff member says that Kaavya nodded off in class. And then the lady herself apologises. Oh, and whole lot more. If you have the patience.

Personally I stick to my original view of 24 February 2006, namely that if you're in a commercial business it makes sense to construct and market books on commercial lines. It makes sense in principle, that is. In this case, those who did the constructing seem to have fucked up. It looks like a case of plain old-fashioned incompetence, compunded by stupidity. With which I have no patience whatever.

Punctuation

Publishers Lunch carried a mention (ad?) for a new book on punctuation for creative writers. A lot of people seem to think highly of it.

Should you need any help with punctuation, the Concise Oxford Dictionary has a section at the back (most people don't even know it's there) which gives a succinct guide to usage. And for a more thorough treatment, I have never found anything to beat Sir Ernest Gowers's 50+-year-old Plain Words (still in print).

And, of course, don't forget Lynne Truss's famous book, Eats, Shoots and Leaves. The Guardian (link from booktrade.info) offers the opportunity to download a video of Lynne trying to convince schoolkids that they ought to find out where the commas go. Sounds like brick wall and head stuff to me, although at one time I used to do it for a living.

5 comments:

Clive Keeble said...

Jeezh, when an independent bookseller asks mega-publishers for an extra few extra % discount we get treated as though we are tradesmen who have inadvertently entered through the foyer.

Yet mega-publishers throw large advances to 17 year olds for their first book.

Blimey $500,000 in cash would probably purchase (outright) a few struggling independent publishers.

Yes Michael, a right fuck-up but great insight reporting by Galley Cat.

Clive Keeble said...

Punctuation

"The Art of Punctuation" by Noah Lukeman, published by Oxford University Press 2006, is now available in the terrestial UK bookshops - price a mere £10.99.

Looks a decent title to have for reference : well produced as one would expect from OUP.

Andrew said...

Re the "punctuation for creative writers," I was learning this stuff in grammar school at age ten. Good grief. About the best I can say is that it's full of back-scratching and a menu of, um, "resources" for sale. I'm sure those behind it do think highly of it.

Paul Perry said...

For punctuation, it's hard to beat "You have a point there" by Eric Partridge. And I might add that when I was a schoolboy in Australia in the 1950s, the saying went "The wombat eats, roots, shoots, and leaves".

James Morrison said...

For a very entertaining twist on the plagiarism business, have a look at http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/711/2571/1600/artikle1.jpg