Showing posts from September, 2011

Banned Books Week

It's Banned Books Week.
For readers, writers, teachers, and parents, that should mean something. And it's not that we should be cheering for books to be yanked off shelves, either.
I'm the first person to raise their hand if there's a conversation about how some books are garbage, how I don't want my kids reading that, how I won't read such-and-such, for that matter.
But I want the right to make those choices for myself and for my family. No one else has the right to choose for me.
Based on the choices others have tried to make in banning books for other people's "good," censorship is a very dangerous road. A look at some of the most banned classics stunned me. It includes several of my all-time favorite novels. It also includes some I hate, but I don't think they should be banned.
Children's books in particular tend to get under fire, as well-meaning (at least, we hope) adults put their noses into parents' business and make the parenting d…

WNW: Grammar as Currency

On last week's Word Nerd Wednesday, Jordan McCollum made a comment about how the "needs washed" usage can be considered standard if you live in an area where it is, well, standard.
We exchanged some emails about what constitutes "standard" and acceptable as far as English goes. I don't want to put words into Jordan's mouth, and she can always write about her opinion on the issue, but I thought the topic was worth addressing in a WNW post.
Here's my basic opinion on standard English and the "rules," keeping in mind that while I love language and am a total nerd about it, I am not an expert, nor a linguist. And Jordan has studied linguistics.
However, my dad is a linguist (I think word nerdery is genetic). We talk about this kind of stuff a lot, and I think it's largely thanks to his influence that I don't get overly annoyed by a lot of so-called grammatical mistakes in conversation or other casual settings, like emails and blog posts…

Author Interview: Abel Keogh

Today I get to interview fellow LDStorymakers member and writer, Abel Keogh, who has a new book out. He's a copywriter by day, and a creative writer by night (or by free time, as the case may be).

About Abel:At the age of 26, Abel Keogh unexpectedly found himself a young widower. When he decided to starting dating again, he looked in vain for resources that could help guide him through the dating waters and open his heart to someone else. He found nothing. As he began blogging about his experiences, women dating widowers began emailing him asking for his thoughts on their situations. As the numbers of emails increased, Abel started writing his own dating a widower advice column. In Dating a Widower Abel shares the knowledge he’s learned from his own experience and the most common issues he’s seen from hundreds of emails from women dating widowers.Abel is also the author of the memoir Room for Two—the story of the year of his life following his late wife’s suicide—and th…

WNW: Needs Washed. Twitch.

Recently, Mignon Fogarty (known as Grammar Girl, the author of the book I talked about in last week's Word Nerd Wednesday) asked her readers on Facebook to help her pinpoint a geographical trend in speech.
It's a quirk and (yes, I'll say it) an error that puzzles me, but I hear it often enough.
I don't know where it hails from. I get the idea that it's particularly common the Midwest, but I've seen people use it who are from all over the place, from California to Florida and in between.
As we usually do here on WNW, the grammatical "back story" first:
A direct object is something a verb modifies, or refers to. Amy drank milk. Brandon eats candy. Here, milk and candy are the direct objects. They're what the verbs (drank, eats) refer to.
Direct objects are nouns.
A refresher: What's a noun? A person, place or thing.
A noun is NOT an adjective or a state of being.
For the goofiness of it (because it'll show the quirk later), let's turn one of th…

Interview & Contest: Josi Kilpack

Up today: An interview with one of the coolest people on the planet, and a dear, dear friend.
I'm excited to announce two things in conjunction with her interview: 1) The release of Pumpkin Roll, the sixth book in the Sadie Hoffmiller culinary mystery series:

2) A contest to WIN an iPad. Fer reals, peeps.

About the author: Josi S. Kipack hated reading until her mother handed her a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond when she was 13. From that day forward, she read everything she could get her hands on and credits her writing education to the many novels she has studied since then. She began writing her first novel in 1998 and never stopped. Sheep's Clothing (2007) won the Whitney Award for Best Mystery/Suspense. Lemon Tart, the first book in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series, was a Whitney finalist in 2009. Josi currently lives in Willard, Utah, with her husband, four children, one dog, and a varying number of chickens.
Additional notes from me: Josi's cell phon…

WNW: Grammar Girl Writes

Today's Word Nerd Wednesday post isn't what I expected it to be. I had two of Grammar Girl's books. One was really short. Surely discussion on both books would fit into a single post, right?
So I started with the (short) first one, Grammar Girl's 101 Words Every High School Graduate Needs to Know, by Mignon Fogarty. (If you haven't stopped by to check her out, you must.)
I jotted notes and thoughts on my bookmark (a business card). I didn't think I'd need more room than that. I did. Let's just say that I'll have to talk about the other book another time, because one post simply won't do them justice.
When I first flipped through 101 Words, a few entries caught my eye. (Glacier? Really?) I wondered why Fogarty had included them in a list of words of importance for high school grads. Then I read it. Now I get it. (Yes, glacier. Really.)
The words in this book aren't necessarily ones that high school grads will know if they did their homework. I…