Woe is I by Patricia T. O’Connor – Mini Review

Woe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English by Patricia T. O’Connor
Published by Riverhead Trade, an imprint of Penguin

From the publisher:

In this new edition of Woe Is I, Patricia T. O’Conner unties the knottiest grammar tangles and displays the same lively humor that has charmed and enlightened grateful readers for years. With new chapters on spelling and punctuation, and fresh insights into the rights, wrongs, and maybes of English grammar and usage, Woe Is I offers down-to-earth explanations and plain-English solutions to the language mysteries that bedevil all of us:

  • Avoid the persistent (and persistently embarrassing) grammatical errors that bewilder the best and the brightest
  • Pronounce and spell words that even the smartest people mangle
  • Correctly use hundreds of woefully abused words and phrases

I actually read Woe is I at work, we spent Friday afternoons reading things that could be pertinent to our positions, and since I did a lot of writing and web writing at work, I chose Woe is I. Below are some of my thoughts as I was reading:

  • Really good cross-referencing: O’Connor is very good about noting where similar rules are discussed, and similar ideas mentioned and pointing you to them.
  • Good examples: The examples are not only easy to understand, they are relevant, and it is not difficult to figure out how they translate to other situations.
  • Clear rules: O’Connor lays out in plain terms what the rules are, why they are, and when you can ignore them. All of this written in plain English, in case you don’t know a subject from a predicate.
  • Funny: The funny in Woe is I tends towards the corny, but it is funny all the same. For example, on page 130 in the discussion of spell-checkers and using them only as a backup, “oar Yule bee sari.” This and similar jokes keep Woe is I entertaining, a must if you’re going to read over 250 pages about grammar.

Both engaging and informative, Woe is I is a great basic grammar guide.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Borrowed copy.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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A Bitter Veil by Libby Fischer Hellman – Book Review

A Bitter Veil by Libby Fischer Hellman
Published by Allium Press of Chicago

At college in Chicago in 1977, Anna meets the handsome and charming Nouri. Nouri is Iranian, worried about the future of his country. Many students – Nouri included – are protesting the Shah, although even in America they must be wary of the Shah and SAVAK. Despite the turmoil, Nouri is looking forward to returning to his home country after graduation, and he wants to take Anna with him as his wife. At first their life together in Iran is good, lubricated by the wealth accumulated by Nouri’s father and the family’s social standing. They have arrived in Iran at a turbulent time, however, and before long being American becomes a liability for Anna, and being married to an American becomes a liability for Nouri. As the stability of the country starts to disintigrate, so does Nouri and Anna’s marriage, until finally she is accused of his murder.

A Bitter Veil takes a unique look at the Iranian Revolution. Anna is particularly vulnerable in Iran in this period, because she has no support system beyond that of her husband’s family and when he turns against her there is not much that they can do. It is very easy for an American reader to relate to Anna, there is a good deal of tension, as readers know what is coming in Iran, with the Ayatollah coming into power.

There are times early on when the writing of A Bitter Veil is ever so slightly uneven, but Hellman soon settles into a rhythm, and the story she is telling draws the reader in enough that they will not notice any further unevenness.

Overall, A Bitter Veil is a fascinating and engaging book. Recommended

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Borrowed.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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