Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Review: Tales of a Texas Boy: Large Print by Marva Dasef

Tales of a Texas Boy: Large Print by Marva Dasef is a delightful collection of vignettes about a boy growing up on a farm in Texas during the great depression. While each chapter can be read separately as its own short story, they come together to give the reader a picture of family and community on a small farm in West Texas. Despite the hard times, the stories are all uplifting, some poignant and some laugh-out-loud funny.

The affection and warmth the author has for her characters illuminates every story. Even though the tales are fiction, I think the book’s dedication says it all: “Dedicated to my father, the real Little Eddie.” I heartily recommend this book.

Note: I read the Kindle edition.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

When a word won't do

One of my favorite passages from This Time, my first book about Richard III in the 21st-century, came about because I couldn't use the word sympathy. Early in the novel, Richard observed what we would call a sympathetic expression from Katarina, a linguist who was part of the team helping Richard adjust to this century. Being a man of the late 15th-century, he spoke what is now called Early Modern English. According to The Oxford Essential Dictionary of Word Histories, sympathy did not come into use until the late 16th-century, and the adjective, sympathetic, until the mid 17th-century. The following short paragraph is the result.
Katarina’s pupils grew large and her lips parted slightly. While Richard would not describe her expression as one of pity, the word that came to mind was in his Latin vocabulary—misericors—caring heart.