in which i’m a little freaked out

Hello, world.

I’m going to be honest–I kind of like being spoiled. I’m definitely the sort of person who reads the last page of a book, just in case I die before I get to finish the book. I like mentally preparing myself for an ending; I get weirdly anxious if I don’t know how things will turn out.

But, even so, book endings often shock me.

DAY 27: THE MOST SURPRISING PLOT TWIST OR ENDING

Goodreads summary:

Terse and terrifying, this final book from Cormier will leave a lasting impression. Jason, almost 13, is a shy, ineffectual child, who takes being bullied as a matter of course–but if he sees someone else being pushed around, he may strike back. When the seven-year-old girl who lives next door is murdered, Jason is horrified. He was the last one to see her alive. He wants to do everything he can to help find the killer, so when the police come calling, he tells them all he knows. What he doesn’t know is that Trent, a detective adept at extracting confessions, has been called into the case–and Trent has Jason in his sights as the murderer. Cormier presents a cat-and-mouse game so tense that readers will feel they must escape the pages just as Jason wants to extricate himself from the stuffy, cell-like room where his interrogation is taking place.

THIS BOOK THOUGH.

I read this book when I was a freshman in high school, maybe? I can’t remember. What I do remember, though, was the ending.

I still get chills anytime I think of it.

Maudit nervous yikes kikis delivery service shiver

I don’t want to say too much, in case anyone wants to read this book (WHICH YOU SHOULD). But I will say this: it has haunted me all these years.

yours, Natalie

Tune in tomorrow at noon for the next post!

in which earnestness is a virtue

Hello, world.

Okay, I love to laugh. I wholeheartedly agree with the Irish proverb that claims that “a good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.” I think it’s good to find laughter in every aspect of life, which, for me, includes books.

DAY 20: A BOOK THAT MAKES ME LAUGH OUT LOUD

Goodreads summary:

Oscar Wilde’s madcap farce about mistaken identities, secret engagements, and lovers entanglements still delights readers more than a century after its 1895 publication and premiere performance. The rapid-fire wit and eccentric characters of The Importance of Being Earnest have made it a mainstay of the high school curriculum for decades.

Cecily Cardew and Gwendolen Fairfax are both in love with the same mythical suitor. Jack Worthing has wooed Gewndolen as Ernest while Algernon has also posed as Ernest to win the heart of Jack’s ward, Cecily. When all four arrive at Jack’s country home on the same weekend the “rivals” to fight for Ernest s undivided attention and the “Ernests” to claim their beloveds pandemonium breaks loose. Only a senile nursemaid and an old, discarded hand-bag can save the day!

Yes–I know that this isn’t technically a book, but it’s still literature so I think it counts. Also, it’s my blog so I can do what I want.

(I am Ron Swanson, obviously.)

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST IS SO FUNNY.

As I vaguely hinted at in my last post, I’m obsessed with the Victorian Era. I have studied it several times in school and done my own research and read so many Victorian novels and Victorian-inspired novels and I JUST LOVE THE VICTORIAN ERA OKAY? This is important for you to understand.

me when someone tries to insult the victorian era

Published at the tail-end of the Victorian Era, The Importance of Being Earnest is very much a product of its time. Well, it’s mocking the other products of its time. Oscar Wilde is the literal master of satire and is so savage with his criticisms, but in the most humorous of ways. This, really, is why I love it so. I love its place in history and I love understanding what exactly Wilde is hinting at in his writing. If you really want to get the humor out of this play, I would recommend learning a bit about Victorian society and culture.

Even without any foreknowledge, this play is still top-notch comedy. The entire premise is entirely ridiculous and all of the characters are the perfect combination of absurd and insightful. Just sample this conversation between Jack and Algernon:

How you can sit there, calmly eating muffins when we are in this horrible trouble, I can’t make out. You seem to me to be perfectly heartless.

Well, I can’t eat muffins in an agitated manner. The butter would probably get on my cuffs. One should always eat muffins quite calmly. It is the only way to eat them.

I say it’s perfectly heartless your eating muffins at all, under the circumstances.

Honestly, what more do I need to say? This play is Oscar Wilde at his best. Every time I read it my sides hurt from laughing so. If you need a good laugh, definitely check this out. (Also, the play is in the public domain, so hurrah for free things!)

(Also, the movie is fantastic. That’s all.)

colin firth oscar wilde rupert everett the importance of being earnest

yours, Natalie

Tune in tomorrow at noon for the next post!

 

in which natalie explains some things, or why i don’t judge you for your poor grammar

Hello, world.

For those of you who don’t know me (which, granted, probably is most of you), I am an English major. Which just means that I really love reading.

(My whole educational career is built around *light* readings.)

In addition to making an education out of reading words by dead authors, I am also an editing minor. Which just means that I know a lot of grammatical rules, most of which are really dumb.

Whenever I tell people that I study English and editing, they usually ask one (or all) of the following:

  1. Oh, so what’s your favorite book? (An impossible answer, but under pressure I usually say Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.)
  2. That means you can edit my papers, right? (No.)
  3. You probably get really annoyed with people’s grammar, then, don’t you?

The short answer to number three is no, and yes, but mostly no.

The long answer is, well, longer.

We live in an age where the Internet is a thing that exists, which, in general, is pretty great. Within a minute, I can look up the amazing history of clotted cream while simultaneously watching the latest Miranda Sings video. (I have no shame.) The Internet is a beautiful, bizarre, and blessed gift. But with this gift comes a vast group of people who either don’t know how to write clearly or choose not to.

And that’s okay.

The thing most people don’t understand about language is that in addition to grammar, there is an equally weird and important set of standards called usage. While grammar asks questions such as is this choice right or wrong?, usage asks questions such as is this choice right for this situation? There are levels of formality in language that vary on the situation and context of our communication. If you are writing a 10-page paper for a class, chances are using poor grammar and words like bae (or whatever it is the kids are saying these days) isn’t going to fly. (I should know.) But if you are writing a tweet that you, your friends, and maybe your mom are going to read, then who cares if you write your when you meant you’re and write synonym roll instead of cinnamon roll?

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It never gets old.

To be honest, I do make fun of people when they make grammatical mistakes. It’s funny. I definitely have acquired that weird, grammarian sense of humor that makes dangling modifiers seem like the most hilarious thing since anything. I won’t lie and say I don’t sometimes read things on the Internet and think oh my gosh, how could they write their when they obviously meant they’re? Society really has gone to the dogs. Once you study grammar, there is always a small part of you that will hardcore advocate the strict rules.

But I’m also a descriptivist–meaning I like to observe people’s speech and notice the ways that the English language has been changing. Language is a fluid thing. No matter how the prescriptive grammarians complain that “English is going to the dogs” (which, last time I checked, it hadn’t), English will keep on changing and progressing into something new and appropriate for its time. So, if you make a few grammatical mistakes every once and while (or all the time), don’t you worry. The English language will keep chugging along as it has since it became a thing in the first place. Most of the grammatical rules we have were created by stodgy, old men who probably didn’t have friends, anyway.

Long story short: I don’t care if you use poor grammar. In fact, I encourage it. It gives me something to feel happy about in the morning.

So, write confidently and terribly, my friends.

yours, natalie