Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added)
is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers.
--John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Oh, the Dreadful Little Humiliations of Writers!

Oh, the comedy of it all! I hope Miss Brittany M will forgive me for finding amusement in the question below and its answer, particularly since Catherwood is a rather modest book in size. I speculate that during the time she took to search "ALL OVER," she might have actually read the book. The internet has a cunning way of devouring time. It is the modern fairyland, where people go for seven years and find that generations have gone by when they return.

In lieu of reading, she might add some froth and air and whip something like the NYTBR review into a 4-paragraph essay, I suppose. I wouldn't know, being one of those bizarre souls who loves to read books. But I don't demand that everybody else do or be likewise, and I certainly don't want Brittany M to read my book when all she wants it for is a puff of words in the shape of an essay. After all, I don't want to go drag racing or have my nails done or do a thousand other things that I might do instead of reading.
Here goes the question, copied from
Yahoo Answers:

Where can i get a good book summary of Catherwood By: Marly Youmans?

ive searched ALL OVER & i cant find anything. i have to write this 4 paragraph essay on it, & i havent read the book.

About me: so my name is brittany, and i love to give advice.
but since im not perfect, i have problems of my own as well.


Answerer 1
can't find much for you - just the professional and customer reviews here

http://www.amazon.com/Catherwood-Marly-Y...
  • 20 hours ago

4 comments:

  1. This is just too...too...tragically funny. Especially since she obviously doesn't feel embarrassed at all--not even a tiny bit--in asking the question!!! i guess there have always been kids with this attitude and gall...but my mouth is still hanging open at her shamelessness.

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  2. Marly, I think it would be hilarious if you wrote to her and told her to read the book. She would be shocked that writers are real people. This is the kind of person I have in my class quite a bit.

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  3. I make my classes aim high with dare I say it...a 5 paragraph essay roughly an intro, 3 points, and conclusion. Its tough, but by the final many of them step up. Hell, its history class, they don't even have to have perfect spelling as long as it is phonetic! hahaha

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  4. Hi zephyr, Robbi, Susangalique--

    I know this isn't uncommon, but somehow I thought it especially amusing. A skewed innocence and oblivousness that leads to "gall."

    Yes, I think it's very easy to forget that writers are people too, and very often people who take things to heart too much. I'm very glad that I have acquired a tough skin when it comes to book-related remarks. Most of the time, anyway! It is also possible to hurt writers into silence--I know some silent ones.

    Miss Susanna, I am glad that you promote the liberty of spelling! It would be hypocritical to do otherwise!

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.