About

I'm Mike Pope. I live in the Seattle area. I've been a technical writer and editor for over 30 years. I'm interested in software, language, music, movies, books, motorcycles, travel, and ... well, lots of stuff.

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It appears from the evidence that there was never a golden age in which the rules for the use of the possessive apostrophe in English were clear-cut and known, understood, and followed by most educated people.

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Blog Statistics

Dates
First entry - 6/27/2003
Most recent entry - 9/21/2018

Totals
Posts - 2522
Comments - 2582
Hits - 2,081,846

Averages
Entries/day - 0.45
Comments/entry - 1.02
Hits/day - 374

Updated every 30 minutes. Last: 6:52 AM Pacific


  10:39 PM

Maciej Ceglowski muses on what makes a good dating book:
... that is, the carefully selected work you lend a prospective lover sometime in the golden honeymoon period between your second cup of coffee together and the first time you spend a night in the same bed without touching. In that short window of time, your partner is still a delicious mystery to you, an enigmatic and discerning being, and to her you are a dark continent of adventure and excitement, waiting to be explored. And so you lend her books that are funny, playful, and good subway reading, but also complex enough to hint at your Hidden Depths. Something unusual is a plus, as are lots of sexy bits, to serve as a reminder of the animal fires that burn within. And since you don't yet know one another too well, you try to choose a shotgun of a book that fires a wide pattern, thematically speaking. Like an early physicist studying the atom, you will hurl little bits of culture at your new love and collect valuable data about her inner life by observing the way they bounce off.
He readily acknowledges the "panty-melting" qualities of literature from exotic Eastern European countries. But he's perplexed about why for their dating book so many people select Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Ceglowski is, shall we say, no fan of Kundera's, let alone of this book: "Milan Kundera is the Dave Matthews of Slavic letters, a talented hack, certainly a hack who's paid his dues, but a hack nonetheless. And by his own admission, this is his worst book."

So! What's a body to do, then, for a dating book? Why, Ceglowski provides a nicely annotated list of candidates from the "A-team of Slavic authors". The Master and Margarita. Pushkin. Nabokov, when he was still writing in Russian. And people that you've never heard of, unless you have deeply investigated the subject of Slavic dating books.

For each book, Ceglowski provdes a description, including juicy author bio notes, and a handy Slav-o-liciousness rating. Who wouldn't want to at least have a peek at the book Moscow To The End Of The Line, which Ceglowski describes as ...
A first-person celebration of the Russian national pasttime, alcoholism, as narrated by an inebriated passenger riding a rickety suburban train to see his girlfriend and her young son. The narrator gets progressively more plastered with each station - think of it as Dante on Thunderbird.
Ceglowski promises that each of his selections has ...
... great literary merit and philosophical depth that are fun to read no matter the mental wattage at your disposal. And just as importantly, fun to re-read -- a salient feature of dating books is that you are likely to have to read through them over and over again in your great romantic life journey. In fact, you may start to find that the books are more fun than the dating, and then you're in the best position of all.
Alrighty then. Now that I've stolen a lot of the good bits of his wonderful list, I'll urge you to go read the rest (just as good), and whilst visiting his site to check out his other terrific writings, including the popular entry A Rocket To Nowhere. Ceglowski is a very fine writer who posts all too infrequently, I'm selfishly sad to say. But always worth the wait.

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