Archive for July 2017

Churchill, 'Dunkirk,' history and me

Churchill, 'Dunkirk,' history and me
I don’t love war movies, as a general idea. But I love the coincidence of the new movie “Dunkirk” appearing during the time I’m reading the third part of William Manchester’s great biography of Winston Churchill, “The Last Lion.” This volume, completed by Paul Reid after Manchester’s death, is called in full “The Last Lion:... Read more »

How to perk up your tired clichés

How to perk up your tired clichés
Those of you just barely indulging my mentions of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle will be relieved to note that I’m re-reading the last of his long Sherlock Holmes tales, “The Valley of Fear.” In Chapter 1, I found Holmes speaking to a Scotland Yard inspector: ” ‘You are an early bird, Mr. Mac,’ said he.... Read more »

What I've learned in three years of writing a blog

What I've learned in three years of writing a blog
On July 14, 2014, I published the first three posts on this blog, starting three categories I still enjoy writing about: Words Worth Defending, Sustaining Books, and Browsing through Bartlett’s. I haven’t had quite as busy a writing day since then, or at least a publishing day — but I wanted to get a sort... Read more »
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The principal principle (or how to tell those words apart)

The principal principle (or how to tell those words apart)
I often pick out which words to write about by looking for errors in print. In the past week, “principle” and “principal” seem to be jumping out at me as if saying “Write about us!” That’s because they’re jumping out from the wrong places. That’s why I want to share a quick, easy rule for... Read more »

A question for your Independence Day

A question for your Independence Day
Happy Independence Day, dear readers. Maybe you’re already grumbling at the thought of the crowds you’ll find at the parade, picnic ground, or beach you’ll visit today. If so, I have one question for you: Why spend Independence Day, of all days, doing just exactly what everyone else does? Be independent today!   Margaret Serious... Read more »