Archive for the 'A Passion for Words' Category

Driver’s Education by Grant Ginder

Reviewed for New York Journal of Books by Stevie Godson IT’S not very often that I agree with book “blurbs,” which tend to be embarrassingly over-the-top paeans of praise for the contents, encouraged (paid for?) by the publisher and presumably approved by the author. The blurb for this book, though, underplays its awesomeness. Grant Ginder’s […]

Judging a Book by Its Lover …

…  A Field Guide to the Hearts and Minds of Readers Everywhere by Lauren Leto Reviewed by Stevie Godson FROM the minute I saw the title of Lauren Leto’s latest book, I was hooked – or, at least, I wanted to be. It first floated tantalisingly into my view on a list of titles sent […]

Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch: Let Verbs Power Your Writing

by Constance Hale Reviewed for New York Journal of Books by Stevie Godson VERBS, reckons author Constance Hale, run deep in our DNA. And yes, she says, you should take her literally because “the human version of the FOXP2 gene gives us our capacity for speech and therefore for verbs”. Well, okay, but by that reckoning […]

Ancient Light by John Banville

Reviewed for New York Journal of Books by Stevie Godson AN ELDERLY actor explores the nature of memory as he reminisces about the two great events of his life: his seduction at age 15 by a 35-year-old housewife, and the loss, by suicide, of his only daughter. Sadly, the most extraordinary aspect of Man Booker […]

The Cradle of Language

IT’S logical really. If the cradle of humankind is in Africa – right here in South Africa, in fact – then it follows that language also began on our continent. And, guess what? A new study has discovered just that. According to Dr Quentin Atkinson, from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, every single […]

On the Scent of a Story

I’M A bookaholic. Have been ever since I learned my ABC. My folks even had to hide all the torches away so I didn’t spend all night reading under the bedcovers. The beloved once made a futile attempt to ban me from buying any more books – he reckoned the walls were on the verge […]

A Word of Difference

IF ACTIONS speak louder than words, then integrious actions speak even louder. And even though that strange adjective fell out of favour – and dictionaries – decades ago, it certainly fits the old adage. So as everything around us – not just here but globally – seems to be falling apart, thanks in no small […]

‘Enterprising’ commas

  The Eye of Shatner (pic by ssoosay) I CAME across a delicious “part of speech” the other day that’s too good not to share. It’s the “Shatner comma”. I’ve heard of the Oxford comma, of course, but this one’s completely new to me. I had a suspicion what it was all about, though. After […]

Can it, you spammers

I’VE been the victim of dozens of persistent spammers recently – or, at least, this blog has. (Though why they’d want to target a site that’s devoted to my passion for plain English, heaven only knows.) Judging from their mangling of the language, they could certainly use one or two of my free tutorials – […]

Headline Horrors

THE life of a headline writer is perilous. I should know – it’s one of the daily duties of my job as a newspaper sub-editor. You have to write to fill whatever limited space you’re given – which often means leaving out the words you’d really like to use – and, of course, you must […]

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