Monday, December 8, 2008


PS (pre-script): Fabi, this blog is not for you.

OK...I know. I am a librarian and a doctoral student. If you didn't know me...and didn't read my blogs, you may think I am an intellectual.

Those who do know me...and do read my rants here, know otherwise.

I am pretty down to earth. My thoughts tend to be as deep as the saucer my grandmother used to cool her coffee in. I end sentences in prepositions. Often. I even write in fragments!

That said; I am a reader. I love to read. I will read anything but not everything.

I recently read a review of a wonderful book about Einstein and his mistakes. Wow! I though (I also overuse exclamation marks, ellipses and parenthetical asides), what a great book. The book also coincided with my qualitative analysis class readings on keeping a research I placed a hold on the book and took it home. I read the first couple of chapters. Then (can you imagine) the book started to get heavy on the physics side of things. I had physics...I even made an A in the class. This is a different kind of physics though. The kind that gave me a headache. So I put it down. (Hans C. Ohanian, Hans C. (2008) Einstein's Mistakes: The Human Failings of Genius)

Anyway...the point of this blog.

I am aware that I don't read the most stimulating books published. I read tons of "pop" lit, some "chicklit," but more young adult and children's literature than anything. So there are certain things I do to keep up with what is being written and by whom.

1) I try to read the yearly publication of the best American short stories in The O'Henry Award Winning Stories collection. This just lets me have a little taste of the style and process of the great writers out there. In this years' collection the only author I am really familiar with is Alice Munro who also ended her title with a preposition: "What do you want to know for?" HA! Great minds think alike. Although I am sure hers is artistic and mine is just bad form.

2) I read reviews. Lots of them. Then I put books on hold and read them. If they cause headaches, I put them down and move on to the next book. is the part of the blog where I get to the "faker-pants" portion of the title.

I subscribe to Barnes and Noble Booksellers email notifications. I get to hear if there is a sale and they often send out coupons for free cookies with the purchase of coffee. Like you can even go to the bookstore without purchasing coffee? Have you ever heard of something so ridiculous?

Today's automated email had a column called "A year in reading" in which book reviewers wrote about the things that caught their eyes and imaginations this year. I thought: "Well, this will be a great way to catch any titles that I have missed!"


Here is a snippet of the column:

The most surprising book I've read this year is The Secret Life of Words: How English Became English, by Henry Hitchings, author of Defining the World: The Extraordinary Story of Dr. Johnson's Dictionary. It has just been published, by Farrar, Straus. I've always been a logophile, and, like many of my fellow roundtablers, I bet, I've read a lot of the books that are clinically symptomatic of logophilia -- starting with The Elements of Style and coming up to the recent past with Woe Is I, by Patricia O'Conner, copyediting legend of The New York Times Book Review. The Secret Life of Words is one of the few such books that succeeds in making a really engrossing narrative out of the development of a language. Hitchings has a cheerful, almost ebullient style, and so, for example, as he describes the evolution of the hegemony that the East India Company had over commerce on the subcontinent, he cleverly works in the 18th- and 19th-century equivalents of etymological verbal pop-ups: of one contemporary author, Hitchings writes, "He was the first to write of an avatar, the sweet song of the bulbul...and dharma."

The italics are in the original, and they're keyed to a wonderful index in the back, which allows readers to look up any word so italicized in the text.

Did you catch where he commented that he read "Elements of Style?" Seriously? I thought that was just a book they made every freshman in college buy for the sake of having it on your shelf.

I'm sorry. I may have to call a "Faker-Pants" on this one. I don't for a moment believe that anyone read that book for fun.

And who are they trying to impress here? This is an email sent out to Barnes and Noble car members, not the Pulitzer committee!

I am sad, because these reviewers had a chance to reach people like me, time crunched readers, and they missed out on a unique opportunity. Instead they leave me, and I am sure countless others yelling "Faker-Pants."

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