Morton – Tortillas: A Cultural History

Morton, Paula E. 2014. Tortillas: a Cultural History. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

Date read: 16-31 December 2014

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cover of Paula Morton's Tortillas: a Cultural History

Cover of Paula Morton’s Tortillas: a Cultural History

Paperback, xxiii, 157 p

Published 2014 by University of New Mexico Press.

Overall I enjoyed this book. Throughout it kept me exceedingly hungry for “proper” nixtamilized corn tortillas made completely from hand. Of course, the horrifically gendered work that went into them is a non-starter. The work that went into them—no matter who’s doing it—is a non-starter.

Despite being on an academic press this is definitely a general audience book. There is a notes section in the back with a couple of paragraphs per chapter but not proper notes. There were one or two claims made that I wanted to look into but could find no references to them.

I chose a lot of categories for this post as the author does cover issues of gender, language and word issues, pop culture, technology, and so on.

The book is an easy read but I really wanted more out of it. A bit more scholarly, perhaps, but not enough to throw most people off. The author is a journalist so it has some of that feel. My biggest gripe is the easy nonchalance in which the author reported on wholesale cultural genocide. “Aw, shucks. It happens eventually to everyone [paraphrase].” The sheer bloodiness of European expansion into Central America and Mexico is enough to make us sit up and reconsider our own cultural heritage. At the least. And as European expansion was pretty much bloody everywhere, it simply cannot be “Aw, gee shucks” awayed.

Near the end as she’s wrapping up loose ends (somewhat) and bringing us fully up-to-date, the author provides some statistics. I believe they are completely and utterly incorrect and highlight an utter fail of editing (on everyone’s part):

“In 2002 in Mexico the average daily consumption of corn tortillas per person was 548 pounds. In 2010 the daily consumption was 346 pounds, according to the Mexican National Household Income Expenditure Survey (ENIGH in Spanish)” (124).

Um, No one, I say no single person, is (or was) eating either 346 or 548 pounds of tortillas per day! Not even once on one day. That figure could be the annual total per person perhaps or it could be the weight eaten by all Mexicans in a day but for that it seems way low. Either way, that last cock-up sealed the feeling I’d had about the book all along. I wanted—I expected—more. So I only gave it 3 stars.

Still I learned a fair bit and will be on the lookout for much better tortillas on occasion.

Books read in 2014

So I read a boatload of books in 2014. I gave up on quite a few and a few are on hold to pick back up another time. I am not even going to try to account for those in the last two categories this year. It seems I read and finished 80 books this year.

[Updated 31 December 2014 – see bottom]

As for those finished I was hoping to link to my 2014 Goodreads Challenge shelf but it seems only Goodreads members can see my pages. This goddamned job of listing books has never really gotten any easier or any better. Can I just get a righteous “Fuck me!” here? Zotero and Open Library all have their (major) issues for this task. Open Library so much so that I stopped using it after last year.

Yep. I was correct. It started out as a nightmare but I got it whipped reasonably. After a goodly break away from it.

Here is the list of books I read in 2014 by title, author(s – not complete) and date finished. Almost all are in Goodreads but there are a couple I have not yet entered, as in added the book to the catalog. I am definitely growing disillusioned with Goodreads too. Not directly because of Amazon but they are now in charge of maintenance and updates so it is their boat to float or not. My biggest gripe right now is the damnable conflation of editions. I haven’t quite nailed down exactly what it is doing but I do not like it. It may be new too; I’m not sure.

I divided the list up by broad topics and listed the books in the order finished within a group.

Title, Author(s), Date Finished

Graphic Novels
Raise The Dead Hardcover (Raise the Dead), Leah Moore & John Reppion, 1/1/2014
Atomic Robo and the Fightin’ Scientists of Tesladyne (Atomic Robo, #1), Brian Clevinger & Scott Wegener, 2/26/2014
Atomic Robo and the Dogs of War (Atomic Robo, #2), Brian Clevinger & Scott Wegener, 2/27/2014
Transmetropolitan, Vol. 1: Back on the Street (Transmetropolitan, #1), Warren Ellis, Darick Robertston & Garth Ennis, 3/12/2014
Transmetropolitan, Vol. 2: Lust for Life (Transmetropolitan, #2), Warren Ellis & Darick Robertson, 3/15/2014
Transmetropolitan, Vol. 3: Year of the Bastard, Warren Ellis, Darick Robertson & Rodney Ramos, 3/18/2014
Transmetropolitan, Vol. 4: The New Scum (Transmetropolitan, #4), Warren Ellis, Darick Robertson, Rodney Ramos & Keith Akin, 3/25/2014
Transmetropolitan, Vol. 5: Lonely City (Transmetropolitan, #5), Warren Ellis, Darick Robertson, Rodney Ramos & Patrick Stewart, 3/26/2014
Transmetropolitan, Vol. 6: Gouge Away (Transmetropolitan, #6), Warren Ellis, Darick Robertson & Rodney Ramos, 4/9/2014
Transmetropolitan, Vol. 7: Spider’s Thrash (Transmetropolitan, #7), Warren Ellis, Darick Robertson, Rodney Ramos & Darren Aronofsky, 4/10/2014
Transmetropolitan, Vol. 10: One More Time (Transmetropolitan, #10), Warren Ellis, Darick Robertson& Rodney Ramos, 4/20/2014
Transmetropolitan, Vol. 8: Dirge (Transmetropolitan, #8), Warren Ellis, Darick Robertson & Rodney Ramos, 4/21/2014
Transmetropolitan, Vol. 9: The Cure (Transmetropolitan, #9), Warren Ellis, Darick Robertson & Rodney Ramos, 5/7/2014
Transmetropolitan, Vol. 0: Tales of Human Waste (Transmetropolitan, #0), Warren Ellis, et al., 5/13/2014
Age of Bronze Volume 1: A Thousand Ships, Eric Shanower, 7/17/2014
Planetary, Vol. 2: The Fourth Man, Warren Ellis & John Cassaday, 7/26/2014
Planetary, Vol. 1: All Over the World and Other Stories, Warren Ellis, John Cassaday & Alan Moore, 7/26/2014
Planetary Vol. 4: Spacetime Archaeology, Warren Ellis & John Cassaday, 7/27/2014
Planetary, Vol. 3: Leaving the 20th Century, Warren Ellis & John Cassaday, 7/27/2014
Planetary: Crossing Worlds, Warren Ellis, et al., 7/30/2014
Crossing Midnight, Vol. 1: Cut Here, Mike Carey, et al., 11/10/2014
The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Ship That Sank Twice, Mike Carey & Peter Gross, 11/14/2014
The Unwritten, Vol. 8: Orpheus in the Underworld, Mike Carey, Peter Gross, & Dean Ormston, 11/16/2014
Crossing Midnight, Vol. 2: A Map of Midnight, Mike Carey, et al., 11/18/2014
Crossing Midnight, Vol. 3: The Sword in the Soul, Mike Carey, et al., 11/20/2014

Beer and Brewing
Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer, Maureen Ogle, 1/9/2014
Short Course in Beer: An Introduction to Tasting and Talking about the World’s Most Civilized Beverage, Lynn Hoffman, 2/27/2014
Extreme Brewing: An Enthusiast’s Guide to Brewing Craft Beer at Home, Sam Calagion & Kevin Fleming, 2/18/2014
Vintage Beer: Discover Specialty Beers That Improve with Age, Patrick Dawson, 3/9/2014
A Year in Food and Beer: Recipes and Beer Pairings for Every Season, Emily Baime & Darin Michaels, 3/13/2014
Brewing 2nd ed., Ian S Hornsey, 4/22/2014
Beer: A Quality Perspective, Charles W. Bamforth, et al., 6/25/2014
Dinner in the Beer Garden, Lucy Saunders, 6/27/2014
Beer and Skittles, Richard Boston, 7/4/2014
Beer, Michael James Jackson, 7/17/2014
Beer: The Story Of The Pint: The History Of Britain’s Most Popular Drink, Martyn Cornell, 8/20/2014
The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer – A Rant in Nine Acts, Max Bahnson & Alan McLeod, 8/25/2014 (ebook)
Three Sheets to the Wind: One Man’s Quest for the Meaning of Beer, Pete Brown, 9/15/2014
Evaluating Beer, Publications Brewer, Elizabeth Gold, 9/23/2014
Beer and Brewing (National Conference on Quality Beer and Brewing #8), Virginia Thomas, 10/28/2014
Red, White, and Brew: An American Beer Odyssey, Brian Yaeger, 11/9/2014

Literature / Language
The Best American Poetry 2013, David Lehman, 1/19/2014
Dog Songs, Mary Oliver, John Burgoyne, 1/21/2014
13 Ways of Happily, Emily Carr, 4/23/2014
Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman Capote, 4/27/2014
Thomas Sebeok and the Signs of Life, Susan Petrilli, 5/2/2014
These Mountains That Separate Us: An East/West Dialogue Poem, Jack e Lorts, 11/4/2014
The Next American Essay, John D’Agata & Guy Davenport, 11/10/2014
The Romantic Dogs, Roberto Bolaño, Laura Healy, 11/22/2014

Technology and Software
Take Control of 1Password, Joe Kissell, 2/12/2014 (ebook)
Take Control of Scrivener 2, Kirk McElhearn, 10/14/2014 (ebook)
Take Control of Upgrading to Yosemite 1.0 and 1.2, Joe Kissell, 10/30/2014 (ebook)

Erotica / Sex & Gender
Hurts So Good: Unrestrained Erotica, Alison Tyler, 2/26/2014
Mommy’s Little Girl: On Sex, Motherhood, Porn, and Cherry Pie, Susie Bright, 4/7/2014 (ebook)
Sexual Fitness: The Ultimate Guide to Pump While You Hump, Tone While You Bone and Shred in the Bed, D.J. Gugenheim, et al., 6/23/2014
Candy, Terry Southern, Mason Hoffenberg, 6/24/2014
Wetter, Harper Bliss, 7/24/2014 (ebook)

Photography
Richard Renaldi: Touching Strangers, Richard Renaldi, 6/16/2014
Focus on Food Photography for Bloggers (Focus on Series): Focus on the Fundamentals, Matt Armendariz, 6/16/2014
Dancers Among Us: A Celebration of Joy in the Everyday, Jordan Matter, 9/30/2014
Portraits of Time: Ancient Trees from Around the World, Beth Moon, 12/15/2014

YA and Children’s
How the Stars Fell into the Sky: A Navajo Legend, Jerrie Oughton, Lisa Desimini, 3/18/2014
Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors, Hena Khan & Mehrdokht Amini, 3/21/2014
Godless, Pete Hautman, 9/8/2014
Between the Spark and the Burn (Between, #2), April Genevieve Tucholke, 9/21/2014
The Daylight Gate, Jeanette Winterson, 10/24/2014
Collected Children’s Stories, Sylvia Plath, 10/29/2014

Assorted
Atlas of the Pacific Northwest, Philip L. Jackson, 3/3/2014
The Age of Wonder, Richard Holmes, 4/23/2014 (ebook)
The Foods of the Greek Islands: Cooking and Culture at the Crossroads of the Mediterranean, Aglaia Kremezi, 4/27/2014
Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, & Other Typographical Marks, Keith Houston, 10/13/2014
The Body: An Essay, Jenny Boully, 10/19/2014
Copyflow: Typesetting Procedures for Book Composition, George Z. Kunkel, 11/1/2014
A Pocket Philosophical Dictionary, Voltaire, 11/1/2014 (ebook)
How to Think More About Sex, Alain de Botton, 11/2/2014
Really Big Numbers, Richard Evan Schwartz, 11/4/2014
How to Live: A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer, Sarah Bakewell, 11/14/2014 (ebbok / together)
Francis of Assisi and His World (IVP Histories), Mark Galli, 12/2/2014
Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings: Save Money, Save the Earth, Jennifer Thorne Amann, Katie Ackerly & Alex Wilson, 12/16/2014

Currently Reading
Tortillas: A Cultural History, Paula Morton
Take Control of Automating Your Mac, Joe Kissell
Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, Syliva Martinez (ebook)
A Place of My Own: The Architecture of Daydreams, Michael Pollan (reading to Sara)
Craft Beer World, Mark Dredge

I don’t expect to finish any of these but something else could possibly be read. No worries, I say. I’m calling it books read this year. Not perfect but very close.

31 December 2014 Update

I did finish a couple more books. Sara brought home a new(er) Warren Ellis, et al. graphic novel, Moon Knight (v. 1): From the Dead with which I wasn’t too impressed. I finished (or as much I am going to) Craft Beer Beer by Dredge. And just this morning I finished Morton on Tortillas. Goodreads now says I have read 81 of 75 books for my 2014 Challenge but again there are at least three that are not in Goodreads.

Temperance

Friday night at BTBS I had Dr. Evelyn Crook read my tarot. My question was “How will DigiWriMo go for me?” She decided to do one card with the possibility of more. [See my previous post for more context.]

I drew the Temperance card. We did not draw more.

Temperance tarot card [little processing]

Temperance tarot card [little processing]

Temperance in Emily’s deck was the Blue Heron, which got her excited. She said it was about self-determination and self-reliance and progress through evolution and compromise. [OK, that’s what my couple words of notes say when I reconstruct them.] I asked her about the water drops (tears?) and fire and she said it represents the calm in the midst of the two extremes. This is echoed in Pollack below [not quoted].

Looking in Mistress Quantum Sum’s books:

Pollack: Seventy-eight Degrees of Wisdom 105-

“Temperance, appearing below the Chariot, shows a person whose behaviour [sic] is once again connected to the real world but in a way more meaningful than ever before. … Temperance indicates the ability to combine spontaneity with knowledge.” 105

“The divinatory meanings, like the card’s ideas, begin with moderation, balance in all things and taking the middle path.” 108

Bartlett: The Tarot Bible 112

Keywords: Self-control, compromise, moderation, virtue

Key phrases: The blending of ideas, harmony and understanding, Alchemical process

My interpretation/commentary:

Moderation seems to be a key to staying away from the [what the fuck do I call one of my “attacks”?] pain and long-term elevated stress levels. Moderation is often a good guiding principal whether of natural, right action or as an ethics-backing one. In this case, it is focused on bringing opposites/dualities into balance/inseparability.

Compromise: between ambition and desire, between others and myself in the production of ‘writings,’ and between the many others that will arise.

Blending ideas, alchemically or otherwise, is definitely one of my goals and desires. Always a desire.

As I said at the end of my last post, “Temperance. Am going to have to spend some time with that concept.”

This is a slippery one; eel-like. More like chameleon eel-like. Slippery and changing its “appearance.”

DigiWriMo 2014

I have committed to participating in Digital Writing Month 2014, more commonly known as DigiWriMo, this November. I did it its first year in 2012 and made my goal of 50,000 digital words. Most people who know November as a writing month know it as National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo. There is also Academic Writing Month, AcWriMo. Wikipedia says there’s an Academic Book Writing Month, AcBoWriMo but that’s a new one on me. Well, on Twitter there is no #AcBoWriMo but there is plenty of #AcWriMo.

I have been driven to write lately—perhaps driven by the mysterious and as yet undiagnosed illness; which is neither here nor there. I have so many ideas and there are tons of old ideas not finished, or ever even fleshed out, to work with.

Preparation has involved recording these ideas as they occur and corralling old recorded ones too, prepping my Scrivener project file (my writing tool), and spending more time learning to use it well.

This year my goal is ≥ 1k words/day, with a total of ≥ 25k words/November. Yes. I am aware of the missing 5 days. I am trying to be gracious with myself. [If this illness can possibly help teach me that idea then, OK, I’ll take the rest. I’m not counting on this being an actual lesson, though.]

I do not know how much I will do with the, thankfully, re-expanded DigiWriMo folks’ official efforts but I will be “playing along at home” at a minimum. I certainly hope and plan to interact a fair bit. I just have to manage my stress triggers and adding a #digiwrimo twitter search window to my already overflowing two twitter accounts for a month ….

I also recently acquired a new phone making the leap from an iPhone 4S to a 6. I had been eligible for an upgrade for well over a year and $200 was the most they were ever going to give me anymore for my 4S. Or that anyone was going to give me. For a lot of hoops and a delay of several weeks, I got to pay roughly $100 and a $35 activation fee to move from a 16GB 4S to a 64GB 6. I took that deal.

It was particularly tempting as I use both TextExpander and 1Password on my computer. They have also both been on my phone but were basically useless. Finally iOS 8 allows them both to be useful. [Sadly, I will not be putting iOS 8 on my iPad 2. It is struggling already.]

The point of all this is that having those 2 programs actually doing good work on my phone may let me use it to do just a couple more tasks than I would’ve before. Also, the bigger screen isn’t to laugh at with my old eyes. They will also allow me to more productively write digitally even though what I “write” on my phone will still be pretty damned minimal.

Some of what I write will be public, much as now although even more will be. Much will be kept private. I really want to start doing a better job of journaling, in a couple senses of ‘journal.’ I hope DigiWriMo will spur me to do so, or at least take advantage of the illness’ urging me to do so. I hope to get a few more blog posts up here and definitely more written on By the barrel.

Poetry, 2015 goal planning, book reviews, tweeting, and all sorts of other writing endeavors are on the docket. Some of the topics I hope to address, whether public or not, include Facebook, gender labels (as language), gender on labels (as in depiction of on beer labels), sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, body image, altered consciousness, and many others. We will see what happens.

If any of you are participating in some kind of writing month in November let me know if you would like some support and hopefully we can find a mutual venue.

We never know how high we are. 420 humor.

I get a Poem-A-Day via email from Poets.org. If you like poetry then you should sign up for the free poem-a-day from the Academy of American Poets and be sure to check out the rest of the site if you are not familiar with it. It is a great resource!

I think someone there was having a little 420 fun yesterday when I saw the following subject line in my email: We never know how high we are (1176) by Emily Dickinson, which actually discplayed as:

We never know how high we are

I saw that first thing in the morning when I checked my email and just cracked up and wondered who at The Academy had such a sense of humor.

On that note, Emily Dickinson:

We never know how high we are
   Till we are called to rise;
And then, if we are true to plan,
   Our statures touch the skies—

The Heroism we recite
   Would be a daily thing,
Did not ourselves the Cubits warp
   For fear to be a King—

Gelman, Dark Times Filled With Light

Dark times filled with light: the selected work of Juan GelmanJuan Gelman; Open Letter 2013WorldCatLibraryThingGoogle BooksBookFinder
Saying that I enjoyed this book is true but also must be expanded upon. Juan Gelman, of Argentina, has been writing poetry for decades and, according to the introduction and back jacket is regularly “on the short list of Nobel Prize candidates” (xi).

His early poems were the ones I liked the most and they are small commentaries on life, love, the act of poetry, and the typical mundane aspects of life. His middle and later poems are more focused on the Argentine reign of terror and the “disappeared” and his decades of exile in Europe. These are powerful poems that address a heinous period in Argentina’s and its people’s history that needs to be known more widely. His poems of exile are especially powerful. I marked all four included poems from Under Foreign Rain (footnotes to a defeat) (1980) as ones that spoke to me in an utterly heartrending manner.

The poems come from 26 different books and, I assume, give a good idea of his writing across time. Some of the books only had one poem in here and sometimes I found myself wishing for more if what was included particularly resonated with me.

Thank you Open Letter and the University of Rochester for these wonderful poems in translation. If you have any interest in reading (and supporting) literature in translation—all kinds of lit from all over the world—then do yourself the favor of looking into Open Letter. I have a subscription to them and have enjoyed the couple I have managed to read so far, with the added bonus of having several other translated works sitting at my fingertips when I am ready to dive in.

One of the many poems that particularly spoke to me:

I Sit Here Like An Invalid (from The Name of the Game (1956-1958))

I sit here like an invalid in the desert of my desire for you.

I’ve grown used to sipping the night slowly, knowing
you’re in it somewhere filling it with dreams.

The night wind whips the stars flickering in my hands,
broken-hearted widows of your hair, still unreconciled.

The birds you planted in my heart are stirring and
sometimes with a knife’s cold blade
I’d offer them the freedom they demand to go back to you.

And yet I can’t. You’re so much a part of me, so much alive in me
that if I died, my death would kill you.

Thoughts on book-spine poetry and a meta-poem

Recently I started writing (composing? arranging?) book-spine poems. I have been aware of them for a while now but have never tried them. Library Thing has, for instance, done it, and they seem to be inspired by Nina Katchadourian and her Sorted Books project.

I was recently reminded of them and inspired to try my hand at them by @admcgregor3 who I met through DigiWRiMo. Here is the post he shared that nudged me to tryHere is another.

I asked him whether there were any rules (that he followed) and he said “no rules. I just do what I think fits…”.

So here are my thoughts on what I am doing; no real rules but some guidelines for now:

  • Books are stacked from top to bottom—may try some left to right vertically—in reading order.
  • They may or may not have a title.
  • Use the pages side (opposite the spine) of a book as spacer between title and poem or between stanzas or for whatever reason I need space.
  • Subtitles will be generally ignored, although I am free to use as I like.
  • Punctuation may be added freely at the ends of lines but, for now, I will retain punctuation present in a spine title.
  • Generally, one title per line of the poem but free to do as I please.

I also could not resist making a book-spine poem about book-spine poetry, a sort of meta-poem, if you will:

This delicious madness (image 1) - pile of books

This delicious madness (image 1)

This delicious madness (image 2) - another pile of books

This delicious madness (image 2)

This delicious madness

Signs of writing
Describing language;
Mediated
Mimesis.

Reverence
Connected
The image
Beyond snapshots.

Seeking meaning,
Man and his symbols
Desire
Figures of thought.

This craft of verse:
Transformations,
Evidence,
The contrast.

How it seems to me:
Verses and versions
Shout out
The art of looking sideways.

My poems so far:

And to see some others around the interwebz just do a Google Image search for book-spine poetry (with or without the hyphen).

No idea how far I’ll take this or how long I’ll continue to putter with it but I have lots and lots of book titles at hand to work with.

 

Doty, The Art of Description: World into Word

The art of description: world into wordMark Doty; Graywolf Press 2010WorldCatLibraryThingGoogle BooksBookFinder 

I really enjoyed this book while it was utterly frustrating at the same time.

It opens with an epigraph by Lyn Hejinian: “We delight in our sensuous involvement with the materials of language, we long to join words to the world—to close the gap between ourselves and things—and suffer from doubt and anxiety because of our inability to do so.”

My own experiences with attempting to turn the world into words, whether in prosaic conversation or in my more lyrical moments, are reflected in Doty’s attempt at explaining ‘how’ to do something inherently undoable, while my rational, logical side kept screaming “Just tell me what to do.” In reality, I know that my experience is correct, and while some people may be better at it or find it easier, that this is our essential existential condition.

Contents:

  • World into Word
  • A Tremendous Fish
  • Remembered Stars
  • Instruction and Resistance
  • Four Sunflowers
  • Description’s Alphabet [a letter-by-letter romp through selected concepts/ideas]

Some of my favorite quotes:

• “each descriptive act is one attempt to render the world, subject to revision. Perception is provisional; it gropes, considers, hypothesizes. Saying is now a problematic act, not a given; one might name what one sees this way, but there’s also that one, and that one.” 19

• “Poetry concretizes the singular, unrepeatable moment; it hammers out of speech a form for how it feels to be oneself.” 21

• “That is what artistic work and child’s play have in common; both, at their fullest, are experiences of being lost in the present, entirely occupied.” 23 [flow]

• “It’s the unsayability of what being is that drives the poet to speak…” 30

• “saying what you see and saying what you see.” 45

• Incomplete: “The power of this strategy is partly a function of the humility of the speaker, who does not presume knowledge, but involves us in his active quest for it, and takes the limits of language and understanding not as a reason for silence.” 89

• Uncertainty: “Questions are always a little more trustworthy than answers. And even if what is said does not take the rhetorical form of a question, the best descriptions contain room for that which must remain indeterminate; they somehow manage to acknowledge the fact of limit.” 126

This book is part of the usually high-quality The Art of series, which is a series of smallish books on topics of the writing craft. I have read a couple of these and have one more that I recently acquired.

I have and have read The Art of the Poetic Line by James Longenbach, which I remember finding useful. Waiting for me to read is Dean Young’s The Art of Recklessness: Poetry as Assertive Force and Contradiction.

I also read Ellen Bryan Voigt’s The Art of Syntax: Rhythm of Thought, Rhythm of Song and I pretty much hated it. It may, in fact, be an excellent book but she realizes entirely on music theory and concepts to discuss syntax and seeing as my knowledge of music theory is pretty much deficient I couldn’t understand what she was trying to tell me. While her method may be quite valuable, there are also other ways to discuss poetic syntax and I guess I needed one of those. I certainly need to learn more about musical concepts and theory also. That is a given.

If you are interested in writing, be it fiction, nonfiction or poetry, I suggest you at least prod the books in this series.

Levithan, The Lover’s Dictionary

While this review is real and I wrote—it exists at goodreads—this post is primarily a test for John Miedema of the newest version of the OpenBook plugin.

I, too, have seen this in assorted places but once Sara brought it home from the library I chose to read it. Took about an hour and a quarter maybe.

Beginning with “aberrant, adj.” and ending with “zenith, n.,” it charts the course of a relationship through the alphabetic conceit of a dictionary.

My favorites were “punctuate, n.,” “rest, v. and n.,” and “sacrosanct, adj.”

I must admit, I was let down by the ending somewhat. I could see it coming but wanted it to end on the other cusp of the arc.

Anyway, quick read and if you are a ‘wordie,’ as many of us are, then you may enjoy it.