Crawling from the abyss of hypocrisy: Liberate your inner literary critic

I haven’t any right to criticise books, and I don’t do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticise Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.

Mark Twain

One of the most enjoyable things about learning the discipline of writing is studying those you admire; following the authors who inspire you and whose writing you would walk on fire to be able to emulate. Reading acquires a new dimension as you study their methods, their choice of language and themes, and begin to understand why you love their work.

You might also want to talk about it. Heaping praise on Australian author Tim Winton, at least for me, is easy. I identify with his settings and characters, and I think his prose is magic.

But when may a new writer stand up and level harsh criticism at an ‘acclaimed’ work of fiction with impunity? Which credentials are required? If Mark Twain says he has no right, then who am I to say that I loathed [insert book title from Man Booker prize nominee here]? Who am I to judge? Continue reading “Crawling from the abyss of hypocrisy: Liberate your inner literary critic”

50 Shades of Muttering and other idiocies

It has been quite a while since the last Stephenie Meyer Physical Challenge (although I’d hazard a guess that everyone is still recovering from the psychological and physiological damage) but I haven’t been consuming the daily recommended dose of fibre as of late and therefore have not had much occasion to visit the bibliolavatory. Continue reading “50 Shades of Muttering and other idiocies”

‘A Village After Dark’ by Kazuo Ishiguro – a review

It is the way of ideas to burn brightly for a time. Given enough fuel they ignite passions, blaze through communities, spark enlightenment and become beacons for the disenfranchised and hopeless.

But like the people who promote them, they dim and weaken until the fervour, the arguments and optimism which drove them turn to ash, and only darkness remains.

It may seem a melodramatic way to introduce Kazuo Ishiguro’s short story, A Village After Dark, yet it is this darkness – this vacuum of conviction where ideas once shone – which provides the main setting.

Continue reading “‘A Village After Dark’ by Kazuo Ishiguro – a review”

Shake your head infinitesimally

In the Eclipse novel two of the characters, Edward being one of them, shake their heads ‘infinitesimally’.

Particle physicists have strived for decades to unravel the mysteries behind the unmeasurable shake of the head, declaring it officially uncalculable or so close to zero, that sentence negation is sucked back into an affirmative vortex.

This however has not deterred our heros from putting this gesture into action, particularly in cases where senseless ambiguity and subtle incomprehension are called for. And let’s face it – there are many questions to which a boring yes or no answer will not suffice. Let’s take a simple conversation between two idiots:

Idiot 1: “Would you like a pancake?”

Idiot 2: Shakes head infinitesimally.

Idiot 1: “Would you like a pancake?”

So, how close to zero can you shake your head?

Mutter unwillingly

Mutter unwillinglyEveryone is muttering in Forks. Fans have even gone so far as to travel from all over the world to Washington State to join in on the muttering and find out for themselves if it is really so common as the Twilight books portray.

It’s therefore perplexing to visitors when one of the locals mutters unwillingly. Why would they mutter against their will when it is the preferred form of communication? And when muttering is not the desired form of communication, how else would they like to express themselves?

There are many things in life that we don’t want to do, like cutting the toenails of the elderly and feeding our baptist neighbours’ narwhals, but sometimes we just have to.

We might need the money or are forced into compliance by mafia gangsters. We do these tasks therefore, as one would say, unwillingly.

But muttering unwillingly?

Charlie is a good father and tries his best to raise Bella in a responsible and supporting manner. He knows there’s nothing illegal or immoral about muttering to his daughter. It could be that, while everyone is indeed sick of the all the muttering going on, he is bound by contract to stick to the script he was given.

Gasp breathlessly

The last breathless gasp was done in an airlock in 1969 when Buzz Aldrin realised that Neil Armstrong had beat him out the door.

Since then the craze has taken off in lunar proportions.

At least in Forks.

In fact, the trend has become so popular in the town that the federal government has had to ship in emergency supplies of oxygen. Even during mild cases of bewilderment, residents are gasping without inhaling or exhaling. This is leading to widespread fainting and giddiness.

Please, if you accept this physical challenge, make sure to take regular breathing pauses.

‘Slosh Wetly’ – Lessons in Tautology

Bella is a thirsty girl in Eclipse and sometimes getting a drink can involve a perilous flirtation with semantics. And we all know we can’t drink ice because it makes our brains turn into tent poles.

Nevertheless in a moment of good fortune our heroine finds a canteen at her campsite. She knows it’s filled with water because she can hear something sloshing about inside.

But this is no ordinary water. This is the wettest liquid on Earth.

It sloshes …

… wetly.

Hurrah! Saved from dehydration!