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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
killer of men... killer of HENCHmen!: chicagocatechism on June 7th, 2009 01:18 am (UTC)
I am here to confuse the issue! In some cities, blocks actually ARE a precise measurement. Chicago is laid out on a very precise grid, eight blocks to a mile. So here, if something is four blocks away, it's half a mile.

Although! Almost the only time I would say something like that is while giving directions to someone who doesn't know the city very well. If I had to tell a Chicagoan where something was, probably I would give them the full address and expect them to know the cross street. Like I'd say, "2396 W Fullerton," and they'd be expected to say, "okay!" and know that the cross street there is Western. This is crazy magic when you first move here, and then one day you can just do it. But you can do it because of the grid system; Western is 2400 W, and it is ALWAYS 2400 W, and therefore addresses here actually say something about the geographic location of the thing they describe.

But anyway, the blocks-as-measurement thing only works in some places, since obviously not everyone is crazy. Where I actually live (in Evanston, maybe six blocks (!!) from the Chicago city limits), we don't have that kind of crazy grid system, but we are still always talking about blocks. It's just easier to say that Church street is four blocks north, because then you know to go through four stop signs and then you're at Church street. It doesn't actually matter how far apart those stop signs are. It also doesn't matter that much if the road isn't entirely straight; I'll use the term "block" even when I'm in a place with curvy streets.

But even when you're not in a place like Chicago where it IS a unit of measurement, it can a useful rough distance guide. If something is six blocks away it's completely walkable, but if it's 27 blocks away, it's probably a few miles and you want to think a little about if you really want to walk it.

[Bonus tidbit: If you ever hear anyone say "make the block," they mean, "go around the block."]

Man, I had no idea you guys didn't use this term! Or that I had so much to say about it!

Edited at 2009-06-07 01:19 am (UTC)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: Marie Antoinettescoradh on June 7th, 2009 12:26 pm (UTC)
*moans* That is so crazily complicated! Blocks, then, can basically mean anything! I think I prefer the whole idea of just saying 'go through three traffic lights and turn right.' D:D:

killer of men... killer of HENCHmen!catechism on June 7th, 2009 04:12 pm (UTC)
They are not really that complicated! At least not until you try explaining them. They CAN be, but pretty much everything has the potential. "Go through three lights" means the same thing as "go three blocks"! Just focus on that, and you'll be fine. That is the most basic meaning: the distance between intersections. All the rest of the crap about whether the streets are straight and how precise the grid is, all that stuff is gravy. Blocks are fun! :D