Category: Sustaining Books

'Teller of Tales' and the Imaginary Writers' Room on Conan Doyle's birthday

'Teller of Tales' and the Imaginary Writers' Room on Conan Doyle's birthday
I knew I’d cause a sensation when I walked into the Imaginary Writers’ Room in my mind yesterday. I was holding one of my favorite biographies, “Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle,” by Daniel Stashower (New York, 1999: Henry Holt and Company). Robert Louis Stevenson saw the gold letters on the back... Read more »

The exception doesn't prove the rule -- it disproves it

The exception doesn't prove the rule -- it disproves it
If I hear “the exception that proves the rule” one more time, I just might scream, so I decided to write this instead. I still remember the time when my dad asked me about that expression and what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle may have written about it in a Sherlock Holmes story. (Thanks and kudos... Read more »

What characters are in your imagination?

What characters are in your imagination?
I’ve been leaving my window blinds slightly open for the past few nights. Closing them completely keeps the coldest of the air from getting through any gaps in my window, gaps which seem molecular at times these days. But the cold air is a slight relief as my over-excited radiator keeps chugging along over 80... Read more »
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The last problem of the year: Diary Hunt!

The last problem of the year: Diary Hunt!
Christmas 1974 was a momentous day on my path to becoming a writer. My parents gave me a 1975 Peanuts “Day By Day” book — a cartoon by Charles M. Schulz, a funny caption, and space to write about the day. I suppose that the paperback book might have been used as a planner, but... Read more »

Some 'major' advice from Edwin Newman

Some 'major' advice from Edwin Newman
I’ve kept reading “A Civil Tongue” by Edwin Newman since writing previous posts about it. The only thing slowing me down from its funny and eloquent style is that it’s like rich food — if I read it all in one big clump, other things will seem poorer by comparison. One section I enjoy returning... Read more »

Edwin Newman on 'the hopefully disease'

Edwin Newman on 'the hopefully disease'
In his lively book about the English language, “A Civil Tongue,” former newsman Edwin Newman describes what he called “the hopefully disease.” Since the book’s publication in 1975, the word “hopefully” has continued to be misused so badly that I have been feeling rather lonely in supporting its proper use — to my way of... Read more »
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A little post-debate refresher on 'A Civil Tongue' from Edwin Newman

A little post-debate refresher on 'A Civil Tongue' from Edwin Newman
If, like me, you’re still recovering from trying to understand the presidential debate last night, you may enjoy a little reminder of what the expression “a civil tongue” means and some examples of it. Luckily, I still have Edwin Newman’s book, “A Civil Tongue,” handy. Here are a few calm examples from the early pages.... Read more »

Is 'A Civil Tongue' only a book now?

Is 'A Civil Tongue' only a book now?
I recently began re-reading a charming book, “A Civil Tongue” by Edwin Newman (1975: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Indianapolis and New York). Newman, a former “correspondent” — reporter and anchorman — for NBC News, wrote that when he came into the news business in 1940, he “thought that I had taken an oath to preserve, protect,... Read more »

The comfort of teatime

The comfort of teatime
I’m only on page 227 out of 503 (before the sources and bibliography) in Erik Larson’s book “The Splendid and the Vile: a Saga of Churchill, Family and Defiance During the Blitz” (New York: Crown, part of Penguin Random House, 2020). But even apart from the two times when I’ve laughed out loud already, I’ve... Read more »
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More about self-care: Move!

More about self-care: Move!
It’s been a tough few days — anniversaries will get me. So, assuming that a particularly obvious anniversary’s effects may be common among us, I’m going backĀ for today’s post to my pandemic-time survival index, “The *More or Less* Definitive Guide to Self-Care” by Anna Borges. I have been looking for my sewing supplies today, since... Read more »