Friday, January 30, 2009

Grammar me this

We have recently acquired a new puppy. I was thinking of naming him Thurber, but his ears are not long enough.

I have always been a big fan of James Thurber; we have so much in common. I am mystified by my fellow man, the more I learn about them, the less I want to know & I almost never realize how ridiculous I sound until the words have already been spoken (or typed). & by then, I don't care.

I enjoy his fables, his unsolicited interpretations of other people's poetry (Curfew Must Not Ring Tonight for those of you who relied on school for your education) & of course his cartoons of dogs & men & women alike. As a child I even enjoyed the tv-show (which I cannot find on Netflix or anywhere else, ditto the movie War Between Men and Women with Jack Lemmon).

But my favorite will always be the self-help book Let Your Mind Alone!. This pretty much sums up my opinion of self helps books. If you are thinking about thinking you are thinking too much. There are so many gems in this book with nothing to do with self-help. Unless surrender is a way of helping yourself, which I suppose it is. & I am pleased that this book is classified as fiction while The Secret is not. I feel certain James Thurber would have enjoyed this too.

While I am confident that some of what Thurber claims happened to him only happened in his head, how is that different from, say any Kitty Kelley biography? Some of what she claims happened to the people she is writing about only happened in her head, after all & at least Thurber is sticking to his own head.

I think Nine Needles should be taught right along with Greek classics, after all it happens in real time (as does Greek theatre) & things snowball out of control very quickly until you are left with a complete breach; I think it is a perfect fit.

For Statistics & Geometry, we could read Pythagoras and The Ladder. For your convenience it is the first chapter of this book. For American History: Something About Polk. For Literature: My Memories of D.H. Lawrence. That one could be History, too, sort of. Even Theater is covered in No Standing Room Only.

Closest to my heart will always be Grammar. I love books on grammar. I truly do. If you have never tried to enjoy a book of grammar, let me recommend Karen Elizabeth Gordon's series, beginning with The Deluxe Transitive Vampire. No, really. I have lost track of how many of these books I have purchased, sometimes with my own money even (I am cheap I admit it). I used to travel with my own copies & often the clients asked me to leave them behind & I did (I charged for this, naturally).

I fell in love with Thurber's writing reading Here Lies Miss Groby. I had the same excitement he did identifying a nuance of a metonymy all on my own. In true Thurberian tradition however I have gotten a bit confused & this particular chapter is not in the book I am recommending. Oh well, I am sure you can find it if you try.

Before I forget, here is the puppy. While he does look hammered, you can see his ears are NOT long enough for him to be named Thurber.

No comments:

Post a Comment