Used Book Find!

Used Book Find!

I confess that I’m one who collects different editions of the same book if that book has some kind of significance to me beyond the usual. Here’s an Outlander that was apparently a freebie for someone, but it’s not an Advanced Reading Copy, since there are several subsequent Outlander series books listed inside and the edition include a sneak peak of An Echo in the Bone (“Coming 9/22/09 in Hardcover”).

It’s a terribly neat and fun edition with only words on the front cover and a Celtic-looking design. This is not something I’d feel comfortable buying at a standard mass market paperback price, since I wouldn’t need it. But at a charity shop – and possibly on half-off day – I guess it’s okay. ;-)

Hello kind people who read my blog!

I moved all my content, including comments and pics, to another wordpress blog I have that seems a good fit for a New Year.

You know when you are a bit in love with something, you’re kind of tipsy with it? Yes, well, as I don’t just love books, I love language – and all that entails – I’m moving to my more appropriately (and kind of nicer sounding, I think) named blog:

Please follow me. :-)

A Christmas present from 70 years past…

Shirley Warburton’s father really hit the nail on the head in 1943 when he gave his daughter Now, Voyager for Christmas. Boy, was that girl happy! So happy, in fact, that you can practically still hear her youthful squeals today. Can’t you? Take a look, and tell me you don’t agree. I dare you!

You see, Shirley defaced her book in the most beautiful ways…

She pasted magazine pics of the Bette Davis movie inside the front cover.


And then again on the next two pages.

Image And on another page.

ImageClearly, Shirley had no cold feet when it came to decorating her book. I know so many people – well, me – who don’t want to do anything to their books (confession: I do use bookplates), but Shirley was in a delightful class of her own.

Because she went on.


As you can see, she even colorized them with green and red.

There are more photos inside, like this one.

ImageAnd there’s even a pop-up construction as a grand finale inside the back cover.

ImageI think I love this girl. I am so fortunate that this was the used copy that turned up at my door when I ordered online. I had known that there’d be news cuttings inside, but I never dreamed it would be so wonderful. This is SO much better than a brand new copy.

Thanks, Shirley.




Sentence diagramming on a Saturday night

sr b barking dogThis past Saturday, I curled up on the couch and read Sister Bernadette’s Barking Dog, The Quirky History and Lost Art of Diagramming Sentences by Kitty Burns Florey. It was only after I’d finished the book (cover-to-cover) that I noticed what a punchline opportunity I’d created by being bookish and grammarish on the week’s most social night. Needless to say, I enjoyed myself.

I didn’t like diagramming sentences. It was, I believe, in high school we did a bit of it, a little past the usual age I gather from the book. I didn’t really care it later in life in teachers’ grad school, either. But, this time I actually was looking forward to it. How times change!

Alas, there were no puzzles for me, but there was a lot of humor and a general history of diagramming as a pedagogical method. The author, Kitty Burns Florey, threw in generous anecdotes in the form of footnotes on topics historical and pertinent ( E.B. White talking about grammar) and personal and trivial (Florey’s husband at one time cleaned the car of a rock ‘n roll star who used, by stylistic necessity, double negatives – none other than Elvis Presley, dreamy crooner of You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Hound Dog.) These were great fun. I love whimsy in a footnote.

If you are wondering, the Sister Bernadette of the book’s title is a nun from the days when habits were worn and knuckles rapped, though I doubt Sr. Berndadette was the kind to do that latter. The  edition I read contained a sweet afterword with info about Sister, plus photos of her! If you went to Catholic school, you will find the pics familiar and reassuring. Or, if your knuckles were rapped much, perhaps not.

Sister B. had a line, as grammar teachers tend have, that she used for illustrating grammar points. For her, it was, “The dog barked.” This would be diagrammed on the board and built upon. Hence, the title.

I loved reading about Florey’s experiences in Sr. B.’s classes, as well as finding out who it was in the first place who created diagramming (a few people actually), subjecting school children for generations to this, in my experience, annoying task. Oddly, I thought, Florey and her classmates loved diagramming. This was the first I’d heard of such a thing. To enjoy diagramming! I’d only ever known that as a one-line joke on a sitcom spoken, ironically, by an English teacher who tends to stay home on Saturday nights. (The Golden Girls!)

Perhaps, my favorite part of the book was a glimpse into a seventh-grade class where a really delightful group of students get very enthusiastic during their weekly sentence diagramming lesson. The precociousness of the students as they answer and joke reminded me of my own junior high classes, and likely would remind you of yours. (It was about boys, the icky things they eat and it was diagrammed amidst laughter. How can you not love that?)

So, this is a recommendation. It’s easily read in a sitting. The diagrams take up enormous space, which is good because they’d be a headache to make out otherwise. Big print makes a reader’s life so much nicer.

Did you diagram? Did it give you headaches or giggles?

2013 in review – Considering I’d pretty much stopped blogging this year, I enjoyed seeing this report.

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 20 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.