Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Queen of English Reads, Writes, and Laughs

Amid all my craziness last week, my major project was completing a research paper for my young adult literature class. I didn't really get started writing until Wednesday afternoon, and considering that it needed to be about eight pages, I felt crammed. But the topic made everything better. I investigated Nancy Drew and tried to find her successor in a young adult mystery series today. In all my searching, I found a great new series that seems to be made for me, no matter that it's not like Nancy Drew very much at all. (It made for a great contrasting paper....I hope.) I completed my rough draft on Saturday night after feverishly writing all weekend, so on Monday morning I needed only to finish revising this draft.

Rewind to a week ago, when I emailed the author of this series with a few research questions after my professor recommended that I do so. I hadn't heard back from her, so I figured I either wouldn't at all, or wouldn't until it was too late to add the information to my paper. No big deal. Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles, when I checked my email yesterday afternoon, just before I was set to make some major revisions, what was in my inbox but a response from Alane Ferguson herself? She was so excited that I liked her series and wanted to answer my questions, but she wanted to do it by phone. I called her and we had a forty minute conversation, mostly about the series, but covering a wide range of topics. She calls Twilight "chick porn," a title I find fitting, and she is having a very busy Thanksgiving. The best part of all: she told me I ask questions better than some reporters. That's a big compliment, considering that Nancy Drew was sometimes known as "Girl Reporter."

I'm recommending the book to everyone out there. I loved it because the main character wants to become a forensic pathologist, so it has all those cool science clues I'm used to from "Crossing Jordan" or the CSIs, but presented in a realistic way. The main character Cameryn's "got spunk," but there's nothing in it that would make you call it "chick porn"--always a plus. It's the best mystery I've read in a long time. There are two other books in the series after the one I just devoured, The Christopher Killer. I'll keep you posted.

After all my hard work, today I got a prize for turning in my paper. Once a week, the university has a guest lecturer for the entire campus, and I've been looking forward to this speaker for a while now. Her name is Lynne Truss, and she probably has more claim to the title of Queen of English. For one thing, she is English, speaking with the accent and everything. Her main claim to English fame, however, is her book "Eats Shoots and Leaves," also known as "Eats, Shoots, and Leaves." See what a difference punctuation can make? I haven't actually read the book yet, but it just shot to the top of my list. Lynne Truss said she goes around "proofreading the world," a hobby I also enjoy mostly because it makes me laugh when you find the humor behind meanings that weren't intended. If you don't think you could stand a narrative about the power of punctuation, I challenge you to read "Eats Shoots and Leaves" without laughing. Proofreading the world will soon become your new hobby, too. (And now that I've gone on this English tangent, I hope everything is punctuated correctly.) In future editions of the Birthday Card Philosopher, I hope to add little tidbits inspired by Lynne Truss about my experiences proofreading the world. Until then, mind your comma placement.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Patience is a virtue

Sorry for the delay in posting, and this won't even satiate your appetite for new words from me. I'm a college student. I'm in the middle of the busiest month of the semester. I work fifteen hours a week, I'm in class fifteen hours a week, I need to sleep and eat and find time for homework, so sometimes the blog gets put on the backburner. Here's a promise that I'll return by next week.