There are great guides to creating and improving sentences here. The book discusses repetition, emphasis and flow in a clear, concise way. As before, I found the examples to be some of the most interesting parts of the book. They discuss topics from history, relatively current affairs, sociology, education and many other topics. I would love to know how and why the subjects were chosen!
Twain’s “scheme” for finding a desirable job was great, but I don’t think that it would likely work today. I loved the section where he talked about the post office and the odd ways that people have addressed letters to him! I am so glad that his wife saved envelopes and things so that he had those addresses to tell us about.
Twain has little patience for unnecessary and illogical things. This results in a general annoyance towards any bureaucracy and a perfect willingness to ignore or otherwise give up on any endeavor requiring interactions of such a nature. I don’t know what he would have done today, in a world where such nonsense absolutely cannot be avoided. He would have gone crazy!
This book does a pretty good job of giving clear examples of why things should be a certain way. The examples for things like number agreement and other issues commonly messed up, especially in everyday speech, are especially strong. I really am extremely impressed with the clarity and organization of this book. I would absolutely recommend it as a good writing and grammar book.
Twain has very biting remarks to make about various things he hears about in the news. I have to agree with him if the “battle” in the Philippines that he described really was what he says it was. He’s a very interesting man and I can certainly appreciate why he would have wanted this published only long after he and anyone mentioned in it would have died!
The story about Twain’s visit to the White House when he got Mrs. Cleveland to sign a card for his wife verifying that he followed her instructions was funny. It may be one of the funniest stories I’ve read in this book so far! I also love how he and his wife had a code so that she could correct his mistakes during social engagements. I wonder how they came up with such a system?
Verbs are why English is such a complicated language. Over 200 verbs are irregular and there isn’t really any way to make learning them any easier – each simply needs to be learned individually.
This book does a good job giving examples and practice passages. I wonder where those sentences and paragraphs come from, though. Do they find them somewhere or is there someone who wrote a whole bunch of random passage for them? It would be interesting to see how this book was written.
Twain speaks very lovingly of his wife and how she raised his children. He talks about how she allowed Suzy to decide for herself if a crisis was large or trivial and he describes how she managed a small baby in a house of mourning. And despite it all, he seems ever in awe because she was always in pain and had difficulty moving much for long (a left-over from a childhood illness or perhaps a chronic condition not fully understood at the time). She sounds like she was a wonderful woman. I wish that I knew more about her.
Suzy’s biography of her father is wonderful and it’s clear that Clemens treasures it. At first I was annoyed that he’s only giving us little pieces of the biography at a time but now I think that it’s actually working well. I’m enjoying hearing what memories of his her comments trigger! The more that the character and personalities of his wife and daughters come out through his descriptions of them and anecdotes, the more I like them and wish that I knew more about them. I’m particularly curious about his wife. She seems so interesting and what must it have been like to be married to Mark Twain?
Twain’s views on politics and civic responsibility were brilliant. I absolutely loved the section about how it is more patriotic to act on your conscience than to do what is expected of you, even if you disagree with it.
His descriptions of his daughter Suzy are wonderfully vivid. I was especially interested in his descriptions of how he and his wife let the girls help choose their own punishments when they were necessary. It reminded me a bit of Jo’s methods in Little Men. It’s an intriguing parenting technique and certainly something to think about.
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