The Reading Corner is a place where books of all genres are examined and reviewed. Comments, questions and disagreement are welcomed. Grab some coffee and a comfy chair and make yourself at home.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lynne Truss and Shakespeare

I am currently reading Lynne Truss's book "Talk to the Hand" and it is every bit as good as "Eats, Shoots & Leaves" -although I did catch a grammatical mistake in it that made me cringe. For someone who wrote a book about grammar, that did kind of bum me out.

However, Truss's humor is every bit as sharp and to the point as it was in ES&L, and that's its saving grave. TttH is about 'The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door" (its subtitle). I am all for staying home and bolting the door normally, simply because I am antisocial and prefer my own company to the company of most other people. Thanks to Truss, I now have excuses to stay in.

She makes good points. So far, I'm only about halfway through the book, but I find myself nodding sadly at each point she makes, and chuckling ruefully at her jokes.

What has happened to politeness? Where are the people who say please, thank you, sorry and generally act as though they are aware that they are sharing public space with other human beings? Perhaps it's because I live on a college campus, but it seems to me that politeness is in short supply -short enough that I actually remember it when someone holds a door for me, or thanks me when I hold it for them, or does something genuinely kind, whether it's for me or not. I think it's sad that something that was once called 'common courtesy' is now so uncommon as to be noteworthy.

Truss places a lot of blame on the technological age, and I find it hard to disagree with her. The internet has made us solipsistic and shallow, directed more by the choices we are offered than the choices we make. That's a problem.

During my reading of TttH, I make it a point to turn off my computer for a little longer each day and actually do something. I tried it yesterday and found myself at a loss. What was I to do without the internet to distract me? I read. I wrote a little for pleasure. I savored a cup of coffee instead of sipping at it distractedly and burning my lips in the process. I relaxed.

And it was really quite nice. It forced me to get my work done more quickly and more efficiently, and believe you me, there is nothing wrong with that. Obviously I have no intention of dissociating myself from the internet completely (my job is on the internet, after all), but I think taking more frequent breaks -and even days off -will do me a world of good. It would do us all a world of good.

As far as academic reading goes, the only book worth commenting on at the moment is Shakespeare's "As You Like It." I like it as it is. It's funny. I'm only 3 acts in, but I am definitely enjoying it. What are your thoughts on it, reader?

I'll be watching the Kenneth Branagh film in class come Wednesday (and am I ever happy about that -my mom and I both have a thing for KB, if I'm not mistaken), so I'll report on that as well once I've read it.

That's it for this week. :) Next weekend I'll probably have more to write about, but we'll see! Stop back and check.

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