Tuesday, September 24, 2013

National Punctuation Day

First of all, I can't believe there is such a thing as "National Punctuation Day". I will leave it at that.

Secondly, I can't believe someone would have the audacity to suggest additional punctuation. But that is exactly what French writer Herve Bazin did. In his 1966 essay Plumons l’Oiseau (“Let's pluck the bird”), Bazin proposed six new punctuation marks:

Hervé Bazin's Punctuation Marks

His manuscript:

I don't know about you, but I find this extremely ... ridiculous. He has an explanation for each new mark, but they are not necessary, in my opinion. Do you really need to make question marks into a heart, like a 15 year old girl, to note love? The line through the exclamation point denotes that you really, really mean it. The irony point is placed at the beginning of the sentence so the reader will know that the statement is meant to be ironic. As Steve Lovelace writes, isn't pointing out irony a bit ironic?

You see my point. It was audacious, moving toward foolhardy, to suggest this. I am just glad that no one took it seriously.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Blue Diary by Alice Hoffman

For more than thirteen years, devoted father and husband Ethan Ford has been running from his past. But one day the police show up at his door-and his life as an irreproachable family man and heroic volunteer fireman begins to come apart.

My take: 4 stars
It took me an inordinately long time to read this book. Maybe because I was reading an actual book, as opposed to an electronic version, and I tended to save it for outdoor reading. It was not a difficult book to read, was not character-heavy or full of plot twists. No, it was a relatively straight-forward plotline and was interesting.

So, having finally decided to finish the darn thing, I started plowing through it yesterday and finished this afternoon, with tears in my eyes.

You find out quite early in the novel that Ethan is, in fact, guilty of murder, so I don't consider this a spoiler. There is really no question. The lovely part of the book is the reality of the changing people around Ethan, who have loved, trusted, befriended, and relied upon him. Each character is drawn out, shaped, pounded, left to rise, and worked over again, reminding me of a baker making an artisan loaf of bread.

Jorie, the wife, is traumatized. The mother-in-law is in denial.  The best friend is paralyzed with grief, then turns to action. Jorie's best friend Charlotte has troubles of her own. Twelve year old son Collie is the most damaged, but the reader sees how his friends are affected, as well. The story is so completely blossomed at the end of the story that I turned the last page with a satisfied sigh.

Highly recommended