….And I think I\’ll be okay with that.
I got my new catalog from Quality Paperback Book club today. The sheer number of adjectives and adverbs used to promote books is mindboggling. I\’m thinking of suggesting a rationing program. Conserve adjectives and adverbs, save some for future generations.
The gushing reviews are so \”stunning, dazzling, and powerful\” that I want to order each and every \”astonishing\” new novel by every \”beloved\” and \”best-selling\” author. I have found the ads to be \”[S]trangely affecting.\” On one page, I can order a \”feat of imaginative sympathy and technique…\” because the author \”delivers images of odd beauty and a mounting existential distress that hangs around long after.\” Mounting existential distress that hangs around long after? Sounds like the last time I tried to cook Thai food from scratch.
These authors work with a \”Dickensian vocabulary and an Atwood-like ability to meld literature with science fiction.\” The novels themselves have \”deceptive simplicity,…extraordinary emotional depth and resonance.\” They are \”finely wrought and shimmering with intelligence.\”
But wait. I could also have books that are \”painfully funny and brilliantly executed.\” \”Utterly original.\” \”A dazzling epic.\”
Do writers sit down and say, \”I think today I\’ll write a novel that\’s \’buoyant and beautiful\’?\” Or \”daring and unforgettable?\” How about \”witty, wise and heartbreaking?\” \”Brilliantly absurd?\” \”delightfully improbable?\” Or, \”Enchanting…beautifully crafted and as dazzingly imaginative as it is dizzyingly romantic.\”
I think the world would be a better place if someone, preferably someone rich and anonymous, bought every book reviewer a copy of Strunk\’s Elements of Style. There are adverbs and adjectives being ABUSED out there, people! It is up to those who love words to rescue them and redeem then to infrequent usage so that they may regain the power and the glory that is in excellent descriptive writing. Please, send a book reviewer a verb. You\’ll be glad you did.
I agree, except. When they are applied to one of mine, I\’ll complain more sincerely. And cry all the way to the bank.