Blogging the Bookshelf

Blogging my bookshelf – one book at a time

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Entries Tagged as 'Language'

Translations – “Leaving the Atocha Station”, Ben Lerner

November 11th, 2012 · Comments Off on Translations – “Leaving the Atocha Station”, Ben Lerner · Description, Dialogue, Prose, Writing

she might have described swimming in the lake as a child, or said that lakes reminded her of being a child, or asked me if I’d enjoyed swimming as a child, or said that what she’d said about the moon was childish.

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Folks don’t listen to you when your voice is low and patient and you stop them in the hot sun and make them do arithmetic – “All the King’s Men” – Robert Penn Warren 

June 27th, 2012 · Comments Off on Folks don’t listen to you when your voice is low and patient and you stop them in the hot sun and make them do arithmetic – “All the King’s Men” – Robert Penn Warren  · Campaigning, Policy, Political Communication, Politics, Progressive Politics

You could see Willie standing on a street corner, sweating through his seersucker suit, with his hair down in his eyes, holding an old enveloped in one hand and a pencil in the other, working out figures to explain what he was squaking about, but folks don’t listen to you when your voice is low […]

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Orwell’s Passions – “My Reading Life” – Bob Carr 

May 8th, 2012 · Comments Off on Orwell’s Passions – “My Reading Life” – Bob Carr  · Prose, Quotes, Writing

This, however, is my favourite piece of (Orwell’s) wisdom: “So long as I remain alive and well I shall continue to feel strongly about prose style, to love the surface of the earth, and to take pleasure in solid objects and scraps of useless information.”

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Shakespeare’s Phrases – “Shakespeare” – Bill Bryson

May 6th, 2012 · Comments Off on Shakespeare’s Phrases – “Shakespeare” – Bill Bryson · Prose, Writing

His real gift was as a phrase maker. ‘Shakespeare’s language,’ says Stanley Wells, ‘has a quality, difficult to define, of memorability that has cause many phrases to enter the common language.’ Among them: one fell swoop, vanish into thin air, bag and baggage, play fast and loose, go down the primrose path, be in a […]

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Shakespeare’s Words – “Shakespeare” – Bill Bryson

May 5th, 2012 · Comments Off on Shakespeare’s Words – “Shakespeare” – Bill Bryson · Prose, Writing

Among the words first found in Shakespeare are abstemious, antipathy, critical, frugal, dwindle, extract, horrid, vast, hereditary, excellent, eventful, barefaced, assassination, lonely, leapfrog, indistinguishable, well-read, zany and countless others (including countless)… He was particularly prolific, as David Chrystal points out, when it came to attaching un- prefixes to existing words to make new words that […]

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Nothing in France is Free From Sexual Assignment – “Me Talk Pretty One Day” – David Sedaris

March 29th, 2012 · Comments Off on Nothing in France is Free From Sexual Assignment – “Me Talk Pretty One Day” – David Sedaris · Humour, Prose, Writing

Nothing in France is free from sexual assignment. I was leafing through the dictionary, trying to complete a homework assignment, when I noticed the French had prescribed genders for the various land masses and natural wonders we Americans had always thought of as sexless, Niagara Falls is feminine and, against all reason, the Grand Canyon […]

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The Most Foolish Leader of the LPA since McMahon – “Recollections of a Bleeding Heart” – Don Watson

March 16th, 2012 · Comments Off on The Most Foolish Leader of the LPA since McMahon – “Recollections of a Bleeding Heart” – Don Watson · Campaigning, Conservative Politics, Political Communication, Politics, Quotes

‘I am not saying the Leader of the Opposition (Downer) is a racist,’ he said over the din in the House. ‘I am saying he is the most foolish Leader of the Liberal Party since Billy McMahon.’

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Politics, History and Storytelling – “Recollections of a Bleeding Heart” – Don Watson

March 13th, 2012 · Comments Off on Politics, History and Storytelling – “Recollections of a Bleeding Heart” – Don Watson · Campaigning, History, Political Communication, Politics, Prose, Writing

Politics and history are alike and inseparable in that the craft of both is storytelling. Masters of both juggle past and present to create coherent narratives, the historian to make the past knowable, the politician to do this with the present.

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Latin and Mass Media Democracy – “Recollections of a Bleeding Heart” – Don Watson

March 11th, 2012 · Comments Off on Latin and Mass Media Democracy – “Recollections of a Bleeding Heart” – Don Watson · Elitism, Political Communication, Prose, Writing

They cannot expect the House to retain its dignity and traditions when those who have no understanding of either swarm all over the place like tourists at a foreign shrine. You can’t have Latin and wit and mass media democracy.

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A Nickname – “Recollections of a Bleeding Heart” – Don Watson

March 11th, 2012 · Comments Off on A Nickname – “Recollections of a Bleeding Heart” – Don Watson · Campaigning, Political Communication, Politics, Prose, Writing

Politicians are always trying to find the words which will stick. ‘A nickname is the heaviest stone the devil can throw at a man,’ said William Hazlitt, and described precisely what is meant when words are used to ‘nail’ a rival politician—‘nail it to his forehead’, as Paul Keating used to say. It is done […]

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