Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Great Debate: Electronic vs. Dead Tree Books

Which are better - eBooks or print ones?

In today's digital world people are increasingly looking online for their entertainment. But is there anything that will get people to read books again? While eBooks and audio books are helping, is that enough?

Is anybody reading anymore?

I may be wrong but it seems to me that the younger generations today aren't reading much in the way of books these days. These youngsters have long had other things to distract them. They've grown up in a digital age, and most are so used to being connected, they wouldn't even know what dial-up modem is, let alone recognize it by its distinctive sound. It's as if they've been online since the doctors cut their umbilical cords (and maybe even before).

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The subtlety of words

Recently, a friend of mine put the following up on Facebook:

Advice both elegant and succinct on how to distinguish between the words "elusive" and "illusory," from "Fowler's Modern English Usage," 2/e: "The elusive mocks its pursuer, the illusory its possessor."

One of the comments on the thread noted that the person had never used the word illusory, but that this might encourage them to do so. While I too don't recall ever using the word illusory, this type of thing always has me rushing off to my trusty thesaurus.

When I looked at the entries for these two words, I found that "elusive" is: indefinable, subtle, intangible, vague, or obscure. On the other hand "illusory" is: deceptive, false, misleading or erroneous. Both of these words are beautiful, as are all of those that could easily be used as their substitutes. So why use elusive when you can use obscure; why use illusory when you can say misleading?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Magical Realism In Literature - Does it Work?

When and how should authors ask us to suspend disbelief?

Not long ago, I read the book Jacob's Folly by Rebecca Miller. About half of the story takes place in 21st century New York. The other half takes place in 18th century France. Bringing this all together is the narrator, who is a fly. But he is no ordinary fly. He lived as a man in France and now his soul has been brought back and into the lives of two, modern-day people.  

Yes, I know. You're already thinking "oy vey!" But I assure you, this isn't as "oy vey" as you might think, however much it should be.