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06 June 2009 @ 12:31 pm
The Duke and I, Julia Quinn

This chick really should not advertise the fact that she attended Harvard - the reason being, I associate Harvard with super-duper smart people. Not people who don't know the difference between 'cutting a SWATHE' and 'cutting a SWASH' (whatever the fuck a swash is. It's probably related to swabbing).

This book was purportedly set in Regency England and yet it was rife with horrific modernisms AND Americanisms. I really, really can't believe someone from Harvard didn't know even one English exchange student that she could have inveigled into reading over this and informing her of some salient points, like:

- People in 21st century England don't use the term 'block,' so it is far from likely that people in 18th century England would have. I've been reading American books since the Babysitter's Club as a bb, and I still have yet to figure out what the fuck a block is. A housing block? An apartment block? A street? WHAT? Regardless, I doubt there's a Duchess on record who ever used that term. Okay, maybe Fergie, but she so doesn't count.

- Simon, or indeed any other man, could not sit on his 'fanny', for the simple reason that the distinguishing feature of a human male is the lack of vaginas.

Someone had the audacity to call Quinn 'the modern Austen'. What cheek! Okay, I did stop to ponder whether it would have been more toolish for her to try and write in a contemporary style, but there are some simple rules to follow in cases like these:

Don't use 'a bit', use 'a little.'
Don't use 'sort of/kind of,' use 'rather.'
Don't use phrases like 'ditched her groom'.

The sex scenes were so incredibly, amusingly bad. 'Cradle of her feminity'! OH HOW I LOL'D. Also, I've decided that 'climaxed' is the worst synonym for 'orgasmed', like, ever.

At least this book never aimed to be anything other than mildly bad. It makes a change from lauded classics that are supposed to be the model for all literature and are still bad. I suppose.

Previously, on Book Glomp 2009:
He Knew He Was Right, Anthony Trollope
The Bostonians, Henry James
For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway
For Esme - with Love and Squalor, JD Salinger
The Outsider, Albert Camus
The Princess Diaries: Ten out of Ten, Meg Cabot
The Vicar of Bullhampton, Anthony Trollope
Molesworth, Geoffrey Willans
Villette, Charlotte Bronte
The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James
The Way of All Flesh, Samuel Butler
Cecilia, Fanny Burney
The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark
Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut
Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann
Siddhartha, Herman Hesse
The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga
you do often seem cursedivyenglish on June 6th, 2009 01:34 pm (UTC)
Huh. I actually never thought about how weird blocks were until I was trying to figure out how to explain them. (It doesn't help that they're used in two ways - i.e. "around the block" and "4 blocks away.")

My lame attempt:

Assume to start that the streets of a town or city are laid out in a grid pattern (not always true, but close enough). If I were to walk "around the block," starting at my house, I'll turn right and walk until I reach the first intersection. Instead of crossing the street, I turn right and keep walking until the next intersection, where I turn right again. I do that two more times, until I'm back at my house.

The distance from one intersection to another is also a block. So when you walk around the block, you could also say you've walked 4 blocks, technically. A block might have 4 houses on it or 14, it really varies. (When I used to live out in the middle of nowhere we still referred to them as blocks, even though the distance from one intersection to another was almost a mile.)

So basically, it's a square, and a block either refers to the perimeter of the square or one side of the square depending on the context.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Disney: Little Mermaid pink dress of winscoradh on June 6th, 2009 05:53 pm (UTC)
Assume to start that the streets of a town or city are laid out in a grid pattern

This is where the problem lies! Of course, America was colonised by Europeans AFTER the Dark Ages, and most European towns and cities - certainly all the ones I know well - are based on mediaeval towns with walls and streets with about enough room to drive a cart down. They were built pretty helter skelter, whereas I believe New York (and probably all American cities) is a shining emblem of neat, sensible and forward-thinking planning.

So basically, it's a square, and a block either refers to the perimeter of the square or one side of the square depending on the context.

Yeah, I know of no town/city where you could walk around in a perfect square. :D Except the Cork courthouse, and that's only because it used to be surrounded on four sides by rivers that were filled in.