Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Twerrific Twitterers

I haven't quite figured out how Twitter is useful for most writers, but there are two people I enjoy following on this... social network? ... whatever it is:
  • Ron Charles of the Washington Post for great news and reviews on books, publishing, writers, and all things literary (and not so literary) .
  • Andy Borowtiz of the Borowitz Report for when I need a laugh. (Thanks to Sheila O'Brien for the tip!)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Book Club Basics

Last night I participated in the first meeting of a book club that a friend of mine has started. I've never been in a book club before and wasn't sure what to expect. The other five guys in the club are all hugely successful in their respective fields--primarily investment/money/fund management. Then, there's me. Here's roughly how it went.

6pm - Meeting called to order at Yasuda, 204 E 43, NY, NY.
6-6:15 - Small talk.
6:15 - Someone mentions the title of the book we were supposed to be discussing. Rationale for its selection offered.
6:17 - Discussion of the situation in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan. Opinions shared on current administration, previous administration.
6:30 - Huge platters of sashimi and sushi arrive at our table. Political discussion continues.
7:00 - One of the members reads reviews of the book we were supposed to be discussing. In-depth discussion and analysis of each member's feelings about the book followed.
7:07 - Back to Obama and Bush, with some digressions to the Roman and Egyptian empires.
8:00 - Unanimous decision to continue book discussion across the street at an excellent Sake Bar.
8:03 - Arrive at Sake bar. Began drinking sake.
8:04 - In lieu of further discussion of the book we were supposed to be discussing, discussed potential books for next meeting and discussion.
9:00 - Decision made on book and date for next meeting.
9:01 - Near unanimous decision to test one more variety of Japanese wine.
9:29 - I begin mad dash for Grand Central Station to catch the 9:37.
9:36 - I board the train, grab a seat, and try to ignore my sake-filled bladder.

Ah... the literary life...

Monday, July 13, 2009

When Less is More, Not Less, Incorrect

Until yesterday, I had nothing against NY Governor David Patterson. Seems like a hard-working guy. (No snide remarks, please, about his post-Spitzer revelations.) He's smart, articulate, and doesn't back down from a fight with... well just about the entire NY State Assembly.

But then, when answering questions yesterday on the thorny issue of education, he started saying things like, "We'll have less students in less schools..."

Your Honor, may I suggest that you meant to use the word, "fewer" instead of less? As in "fewer students" and "fewer schools."

I know I'm being picky; after all, the guv was speaking off-the-cuff. But I hear this misuse all the time and it sets my persnickety teeth on edge. If you happen to care about these sorts of things, here's a quick rule of thumb to follow when deciding between less or few:
  • Use "fewer" when you are writing/talking about things you can count.
  • Use "less" for those things you can't count.
Of course, because English is such a fun language, there are several thousand exceptions to this rule. So for a more in-depth (and interesting) treatment of this subject, check out what Grammar Girl has to say.

She says it in fewer words than I ever could, which means you'll spend less time mastering this fine point of grammar.

Friday, July 3, 2009

A Face for Radio

If you've got about 40 minutes to kill, here's an in-depth interview on the experience of winning the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, the publishing process, and all sorts of extraneous information about yours truly.

I was interviewed by Wayne Norman, a radio legend. He made my first radio interview easy and fun.

Click here and follow the links to the audio file.