christmas book wishes

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Sat Dec 20 13:42:00 EST 2003


In <6.0.1.1.2.20031220110228.01d2f868 at shawmail>, Robyn Starkey wrote:
>If it were still available, *The Well-Tempered Sentence* by someone
>>>whose name I can't remember, but I fear that when *The New Well-Tempered
>>>Sentence* came out my chances of getting that became very slim, if it
>>>ever even existed at all.
>Why is the new one unacceptable? 

Because I already have it!  

>Is it by a different author? 

I think the same but can't check, because somebody has my copy of the
later one on loan...  I think they must be by the same person, since I
only know there *was* a previous one because of hints in the [?] second.

>I am curious 
>about the book; is it a serious (as in helpful) book, or just funny?

Whether it is helpful or not might depend on the reader; under the
humour it is accurate (or if one thinks it isn't, one can still see the
reasoning behind it) but it requires that one have some idea, to start
with, as to why some of its humour is funny.  Which means one needs to
know a bit about grammar before one starts, in order to appreciate when 
liberties are taken.

A bit like *1066 and All That*, which isn't anything like as funny, I
don't suppose, if one is entirely ignorant of English history. 
Similarly, for Molesworth it helps to have an up-to-11-year-old idea of
various subjects in the way in which they used to be taught in English
prep. schools.  Otherwise an awful lot of it probably zips past
unappreciated.

>I looked on amazon and the publisher sites, but the info they give doesn't 
>really answer this question.

I suspect they may find it a bit baffling to try to sum it up? I find it
hard to think of any helpful way to describe/define it, and I don't
think it would be very easy for anyone to write an informative
back-cover blurb, as it were, that would really convey the flavour of
the thing.

Minnow
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