Tag Archives: word rant

Most Popular Posts on Bookword

I’ve been walking in France. So only one new post and now I refer you to some of the most popular posts on the Bookword Blog to date. Please comment and let me know what you think.

I am thrilled by the success of the older women in fiction category. About 50 novels have been suggested so far. And I initiated the list because I thought there was a shortage of older women in fiction! Two novels are included in the list below. You can visit more of the twelve reviews in this series. Click on the category to find all the posts.

Book Reviews

  1. Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor. This review has never been out of the 15 most read of my posts. It’s a charming but distressing account of an older woman who on being widowed moves to live in a hotel in the Cromwell Road, London. Published in 1971, it still has things to tell us about ageing today, not least the challenge of loneliness. I wrote about what we can learn from Mrs Palfrey in a more recent post, which you can find here.
  2. The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen. I reviewed this soon after I launched the blog, and in the last 6 months it has become very popular (something to do with search engines?) and is currently the single most popular post on my blog. Elizabeth Bowen was a wonderful writer, and in this novel she explored Ireland in 1920 and the ways in which people communicate and don’t. The title refers to the impending troubles in Ireland of the 1920s. I have also reviewed her war-time novel (one of her best) The Heat of the Day, chillingly observant about people and why they behave as they do.25 Stone Angel
  3. The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence. Also in the series on older women in fiction, this is the story of Hagar Shipley, who is furious at her growing dependence as she ages, and at the ways in which she is treated by her son and by the medical staff who care for her. She is not going quietly into that good night. Margaret Laurence was a Canadian writer.
  4. Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys. Jean Rhys was not afraid to look into the darker aspects of life, in this case a woman who has very few resources, except her body, living in the demi-monde of Paris. It is bleak, amusing, insightful and leaves a sense of unease, especially in view of the author’s own later life.

    The young Jean Rhys

    The young Jean Rhys

Connected to Books

  1. Decluttering my books. Who would have guessed that the trying question of managing books would be so popular? And so riven with emotion. What to remove and the manner of the disposal. I was preparing to move house at the time I wrote this post, but it seemed to strike a chord with people who buy books. Book buyers always need more room.
  2. How do you organise your books? Another popular post about book management. This one also surprised me because so many people showed an interest in how books are arranged in their homes: alphabetically, by genre, by colour, by size …?

83 WPFF bookpile


A word rant, rather against my better judgement I made some criticisms of word use, as I like to play up the positive and not use the blog to vent spleen. But people had two reactions: they read it, and if they knew me they declared a fear of offending me with their use of language.

And our tribute to our editors, on the publication of our book also received lots of attention.101 RWA cover

I hope you find something to enjoy in this round-up of popular posts from the blog.


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Filed under Books, Elizabeth Bowen, Elizabeth Taylor's novels, Learning, Older women in fiction, Publishing our book, Reading, Reviews

Word rant

The English language is one of the richest. Why then are we assailed with clichés? I am risking accusations of pedantry here but I get very irritated by clichés. Here’s my collection of words and phrases that I hate, from twitter and other social media, radio, and in general use. I spend so much time trying get the right words that it annoys me that people are so casual.

Does it have to be that xxs are always y, as in these examples?

  • Streets always mean?
  • Hearts always beating?
  • Victims always innocent?
  • Learning always curved?
  • The line always the bottom one?
  • Or being drawn under?
  • Pauses always pregnant?
  • Standards bog?
  • Meals square?
  • Shares fair?
  • Shifts always paradigmic?
  • Sighs always breathed?
  • Dashes always cut?
Learning Curve by Alanf777 via Wiki Commons

Learning Curve by Alanf777 via Wiki Commons

Why do writers use these expressions?

  • Eclectic – when they mean varied
  • Iconic – meaning special (as in the iconic Grand Canyon – doh?)
  • Back in the day – meaning before
  • Comfort zones – out of which one should be tempted or thrust
  • Up, as in heads up, up-skill, up-scale, up-cycle, run up the flagpole,
  • At all, as in ‘have you got a credit card at all?’ which implies you might have a small bit of one at least.
  • Ahead of – meaning in the future
  • Back, in ‘reply back’ (back is redundant, you can’t reply any other way)
  • Awesome – unless they are an American teenager, in which case they can just use it and alternate it with ‘like’.

156 stop signOkay I’m definitely a pedant. So to counteract the amount of pedantry in this post here’s a link to Selkie Moon’s blog in which she looks at the value of clichés in writing a first draft. Her post goes  to consider the advantages of turning them around in revision to dig deeper.

And here’s some goobledegoop that baffles me:

We are excited to announce the immediate availability of a new feature: Amazon Machine Image (AMI) Copy. AMI Copy enables you to copy your AMIs across AWS regions, thus making it easier for you to leverage multiple AWS regions and accelerate your geographical expansion and help increase application performance and availability.

And some spam stuff, which makes me wonder which language it’s translated from, or whether a word bank was randomly rifled.

I loved as much as you’ll receive carried out proper here. The cartoon is attractive, your authored subject matter stylish. nevertheless, you command get bought an edginess over that you want be handing over the following. unwell no doubt come more formerly again since precisely the similar just about very continuously inside of case you defend this hike.

And here’s some clarity that makes me laugh.

156 Necess tools


Do you have some favourite unfavourites?

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Filed under Writing