Books I started a month or two ago and finished this month:
- Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Great book! It's completely accessible, even if it seems like it will be daunting. I very much liked this book.
- The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. This was another good one, although the writing style itself is very odd. It was also a creepy story without being overtly creepy... the creepiness just sort of sneaks up on you when you're lying in bed and thinking about the novel. And yeah, okay, this book may have given me a nightmare or two. But still! A good read.
- Up in the Air by Walter Kirn. I wanted to read this book because I enjoyed the movie based on the novel. When I first started reading the book, I thought it was good. Then as I continued to read, it just went way over my head (up in the air, as it were. Hehe!). I didn't like it. I didn't "get" it. By the end of the book, I was left wondering... what was the point of all of that? Wasn't too impressed with this one.
Books that I both started and finished reading in April:
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling. I'd read this novel a few times before, but hadn't read it in ages and figured I should refresh my memory before seeing the film when it comes out this summer. J. K. Rowling is awesome. I finished this book in 2.5 days
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Love! When I first began to read this novel, I was thinking about The Little Prince (another book that I also have a huge amount of love for). Funny enough, in the media it was proclaimed as being the "new" The Little Prince. Everyone needs to read this book. It is a great adventure story and it is so inspiring! It has a similar philosophy to The Secret without all the hokey-ness.
- Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger. I only read the first four stories because I had such horrible nightmares after reading The Laughing Man. And also because Salinger is a terrible author. Really! I don't understand why his work is celebrated and everything. None of his short stories had any plot, the characters were unlikeable and the stories themselves just gave me the creeps. The writing itself is equally nothing special. I know that I read The Catcher in the Rye in high school but I can't recall whether or not I enjoyed it... at any rate, I was very disappointed with Salinger.
Books that I started reading in April and have yet to finish:
- Don Quixote by Cervantes. Monsignor Quixote is my all-time favourite Graham Greene novel, and it is a "modern-day" version of Don Quixote... sort of a satire on it. Which is especially amusing, since the version by Cervantes is a satire itself. Greene's book is a satire of a satire! Pure gold. Anyway, I've been meaning to read Don Quixote for a few years now because I know that there's a lot in Greene's book that I'm missing out on appreciating just because I don't know the original story well enough. I'm not even a hundred pages into Don Quixote, but I already quite like it - it's sweet, funny and sad all at the same time. I'm looking forward to reading Monsignor Quixote again once I'm finished this one.
- This I Believe: An A to Z of a Life by Carlos Fuentes. I'm less than 30 pages into this book, too, but so far I like it. It's basically a bunch of short essays; a commentary on life. Great for reading on the treadmill!
I received my courses for the nutrition diploma program that I'm taking, so since I'll be studying a lot and reading my notes for my distance ed courses, I might not be reading as many books in the coming months... but I'll try to maintain a good balance of course load and reading for pleasure And any textbooks that I read for my courses will, of course, be included here.
What books did you read this month?
Last week my co-worker emailed this video to me with the note, "For someone who makes their living with words..."
I thought it was so sweet and wanted to share it with all of you
We all have those words that we use regularly but don't really know how they're supposed to be used. One of my sets of "problem words" is very ordinary: the toward/towards conundrum.
I never know when to use toward and when to use towards. Normally I just use whatever "sounds right" in the sentence. But when an editor recently corrected me on my use of the word (I had written towards; she replaced it with toward), I figured I should do a little research and solve my problem once and for all.
I looked in one of my bibles (is it okay to have several "bibles"? Is that blasphemy?) for the answer, The Canadian Press Stylebook: A guide for writers and editors, 15th edition. Sure enough, there was the -ward/-wards issue on page 433. Here's what the CP Stylebook says:
Americans prefer the -ward form: toward, backward, afterward; Britons prefer -wards: towards, backwards, afterwards; Canadians use both forms.
Hm. So why did my editor change my use of towards to toward? I decided I should look in another bible of mine, my beloved Canadian Oxford Dictionary. It makes a note under the word toward on page 1,646:
As forms of the preposition, toward and towards are equally common in Canada; the fact that this dictionary lists toward first should not discourage the use of towards.
So none of this really answers my question. Does my editor simply prefer toward over towards, or was there a different reasoning behind her change? Am I lacking some really basic editorial knowledge on this topic? If anyone has some insights, I would love to hear them.
In the meantime, I think I'll make a point of using toward when I write for that particular editor... and I'll use either toward or towards in other writing, depending on which "feels right"
I didn't read nearly as many books in March as I did in February. Somehow I just didn't make the time for reading last month. Hopefully I'll be able to read more in April!
Books that I began reading in previous months and continued to read in March but have yet to complete:
- Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I love this book. It's fantastic! Surprisingly accessible.
Books that I began and finished reading in March:
- A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle. This book made me long for Europe. I was reading it during some particularly cold days so that just made France seem that much more appealing.
- Grammar Matters by Jila Ghomeshi. Some good stuff in here - I like a lot of what she has to say, but I also feel like there's a lot missing in this book.
Books that I started to read in March but have yet to complete:
- The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. A very unique style of writing - perhaps it's just the time period that I'm not used to - and a good story, but I think it's partly related to my nightmares. Although it doesn't seem like it upfront, it's actually a somewhat creepy story.
- Up in the Air by Walter Kirn. A great read! I really enjoyed the film when I saw it last year so I was delighted to find the book equally as compelling.