Metaphors – can you can have too many?

My journey through the furrows of a book, where literary gems lie strewn amid the tumbled weeds of a partially ploughed landscape, strewn with half collected crops of obtuse words, overworked adjectives and obfuscated prose ….

Tangled Jungle, photo by Ruth Livingstone.
Can’t see the wood
for the trees.

The use and abuse of metaphors

Just read a book of short stories (Dr Mukti and other tales of woe by Will Self) and found myself drowning in a sea of muddling metaphors, distracting similes and obscuring adjectives.

Here is an example of a metaphor used in the book: ‘this was only the lull before the storm hit the frail vessel of his foundering career’. This is not the greatest of metaphors but, compared to some in the book, it is reasonable in the context of the story. Why is this a reasonable metaphor? Because it conjures up a useful image for the reader and adds an element of suspense. From this metaphor, we are aware that the character is in difficulty at work and we are waiting, in anticipation, for the storm to strike. Continue reading “Metaphors – can you can have too many?”

Worst Science Fiction Book Cover Art ever?

For anyone interested in science fiction, particular old sci fi from the middle part of the twentieth century, I recommend Joachim Boaz’s blog, Science Fiction and other Suspect Ruminations.

I laughed and laughed at this post (see below). Actually, I don’t find this cover particularly offensive. Just rather silly.

Has anyone got any suggestions as to what the story might be about?
– a woman who turns into a shark at full moon?
– an alien woman who keeps a shark as a pet?
– a man meets an alien woman who bites and scratches …. (perhaps I better stop there!)

Egregious Science Fiction Cover Art: The Jaws That Bite, The Claws That Catch (1975), Michael G. Coney I nominate the cover of Michael G. Coney's The Jaws That Bite, The Claws That Catch (1975) as the worst I've ever seen.  I've submitted it to Good Show Sir so hopefully it gets posted on that hilarious website soon.  Kelly Freas is considered one of the best sci-fi artists of all time — but this, is there an explanation for this pathetic/sexist piece of ___? Perhaps if I knew what the book is about (the internet doesn't give me any clues) — I m … Read More

via Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations

Reading lately…

I have been reading furiously and have been too busy reading to write about reading.

  1. The Checklist Manifesto (non fiction book about the power and importance of checklists).
  2. Stephen King’s book of 4 shortish stories, Full Dark, No Stars
  3. Graham Swift’s Waterland – silt, mud and eels in the Fens.
  4. Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants – absolutely compelling read and best book I have read for ages
  5. Ernest Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not – a strange and somewhat unpleasant book
  6. Solar by Ian McEwan is my latest read. I have to say, I am really enjoying this book (having struggled to enjoy the two previous Ian McEwan books). This one is very funny.

Books I am reading this week

It would be really sad to be learning from a writer whose books I don’t actually like. Therefore, it was a big relief to find that I enjoyed Holly’s book immensely and will be trying to track down more.

Have spent the past couple of weeks reading books avidly, instead of writing. I have tried to choose books from different genres, revisiting some old friends and reappraising some new ones.

fiction books I am reading Fiction:

  1. Talyn, by Holly Lisle.

    I follow Holly Lisle on her blog and I am working my way through one of her online writing courses ‘Create a Plot Clinic’. Deciding it was high time I actually read one of her books, and unable to find copies in my local bookshops, I ordered Talyn from my local library (cost me 25p). It would be really sad to be learning from a writer whose books I don’t actually like. Therefore, it was a big relief to find that I enjoyed Holly’s book immensely and will be trying to track down more.
    Visit my Ruthless Readings site to see my blog on Talyn, by Holly Lisle

  2. Farewell Summer, by Ray Bradbury

    Took me a while to get into this book. I normally love Ray Bradbury – both his science fiction and non-SF books – and I count his Dandelion Wine as one of the finest books I have ever read. I found Farewell Summer hard going. But, in the final few chapters, this book finally came alive for me – so alive, I started it again and read it through from the beginning. (This is the first time I have ever read a book through, twice, all in one sitting). Read my review here.

  3. Black Dogs, by Ian McEwan

    Being one of our most respected authors, I was disappointed in the first, and only, Ian McEwan book I have ever read – On Chesil Beach. There is a certain dis-engaged style to his writing that I have difficulty with. I decided to give him another try. And I have to report that I enjoyed Black Dogs.

  4. About to start Minority Report, by Philip K. Dick (actually this is one of a collection of short stories, I believe)

    Philip K. Dick is a great science fiction writer. I had never heard of Minority Report until the film came out. And it was a great film. I hope the book lives up to my expectations. Finished the book – actually a collection of short stories – and I saved Minority report to last. What did I think of it? Read my review of Minority Report on my Ruthless Reading blog.

  5. Non-fiction Reading: The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande – compelling writing by a surgeon, extolling the virtues of checklists, to improve the safety of medical procedures.