**spoiler alert** I picked this up at the Hospital book sale: I figured I should read it to be culturally literate.
The Handmaid's Tale begins as a fab**spoiler alert** I picked this up at the Hospital book sale: I figured I should read it to be culturally literate.
The Handmaid's Tale begins as a fable: a fairy-tale world far enough removed from our own that it can be comfortably dismissed as fiction. But once we've become familiar with the new world, the nameless narrator starts to recollect to how her world came to be that way, and the erstwhile fairy tale becomes an exquisite horror story. After giving the reader nightmares, Margaret Atwood is kind enough to close with an epilogue that reassures the reader that history will move on and recover from even the worst regimes, at least in some unidentifiable part of the world. The final distance is enough to keep the book from being too depressing, but anyone who thinks "Oh, that could never happen" need look no further than the Iranian revolution to be reminded that it could, and it has....more
A gift from my mother. So far it's given excellent practical advice on what cafes to go to and how to order (because, in my six years of French, no onA gift from my mother. So far it's given excellent practical advice on what cafes to go to and how to order (because, in my six years of French, no one told me that what I want is a cafe creme). (Actually, I'll see how excellent it is when I get there: maybe everyone actually orders cafe au lait.)...more
Update: I just heard on Point of Inquiry that the original subtitle for this book was "Murder and Chemistry in Jazz Age New YAs heard on Science Talk.
Update: I just heard on Point of Inquiry that the original subtitle for this book was "Murder and Chemistry in Jazz Age New York", but the publisher thought that no one would buy a book with the word "chemistry" on the cover, and wouldn't budge despite the author's pleas. That makes me cry inside.
Not quite sure if this was a gift or a loan from my brother, but I hear that possession is nine-tenths the law.
"The Poisoner's Handbook" as a title is really a misnomer: this is not a cookbook for poisons (thank goodness), but rather a history of Charles Norris's tenure as chief medical examiner of New York City and how he changed the field of forensic medicine, with an emphasis on poisons, the most popular being arsenic, cyanide, carbon monoxide, chloroform, tetraethyl lead, radium, and especially methanol.
The culprits here are not just those seeking an early inheritance or double-indemnity life insurance payout, but also corporations (radium was once thought to be not only harmless but also healthy, tetraethyl lead was added to gasoline to reduce knock, and cyanide was used to fumigate apartments), and, especially, the U.S. government (who added methanol to "denature" alcohol during Prohibition in order to discourage people from drinking industrial ethanol, never mind the fact that Americans died every weekend from methanol poisoning).
My question had always been: couldn't you tell that you were drinking methanol and not ethanol? But apparently this is precisely why mixed drinks were invented in the 1920s: if you add enough lemon juice, sugar, and club soda, you can cover up the bad taste of bootlegged alcohol (which tastes bad because it might kill you)....more
I need to study up now that I write professionally.
"Similar fidelity holds where a pronoun appositive appears: it still takes the same case as theI need to study up now that I write professionally.
"Similar fidelity holds where a pronoun appositive appears: it still takes the same case as the word to which it's in apposition...
"Let's you and me get together and do away with some of the possibilities. (you and me are in apposition to the us in let's: let us)"
I didn't know that.
"When singular and plural subjects are joined by the correlative conjunctions either...or, neither...nor, not only...but also, not...but, the verb begs to agree with the subject nearest to it...
"Not only the patrons but also the curator was unduly cruel."
"It is with its subject that a verb agrees, not with its subjective complement.
"His pantaloons are a problem for the king. "The king's problem is his pantaloons."
I might have known that.
"Data and media are plurals formed in the same way, but over time have come to take singular as well as plural verbs, with the distinctions occasionally blurring to no one's mortification. Data is usually a plural noun meaning facts or pieces of information ("The data add up to a picture of..."). As a singular mass noun, it's given a singular treatment ("Not much data has been raked up on...")."
My undergraduate research advisor told me that if I learned nothing else in my undergraduate research, I should learn that data are plural, but it sounds like I shouldn't have learned even that.
I knew that whether a clause was restrictive or nonrestrictive determined whether you use "that" or "which", but I didn't appreciate that it also determines whether the clause is set aside by commas.
"There are instances in which a comma should be used [between two or more independent clauses] instead of a semicolon. When the clauses are concise and similar in construction or when the sentence has a casual lilt, use a comma between the clauses.
"I could hardly believe my senses, he so relieved my fever. "She darkened his door, he lit her fire, they both burned."
Didn't know you could do that, either: not sure when this would come up in my own writing, though....more