Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Complete This Sentence

My pet peeves. A list. No, just one item. Big one though.

Sentence fragments. Drive me nuts. Doubling over. In pain. Oh, the pretentiousness!

That's why I quit The Marrowbone Marble Company by Glenn Taylor. Amazon fell in love with this book, touting it as one of the best of whatever year it came out. A story about simple people who have a good idea and start up a company sounds tempting, no? I love those kinds of stories.

But Taylor, man of fragments, came off like a rank amateur. Maybe he should try his hand at haiku.

I did, however, love running my fingers over the embossed bird wings on the book jacket.

Next up, Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain. I had my doubts. The cover was a dull gray, and no embossed bird wings to fondle.

But now I understand why Twain is famous. We have no plot here, and too many characters to remember. We're talking about a twisty, long river, for goodness sakes, and the people who pilot it and put up with its floody moods. Still, between Twain's exaggerations and his self-deprecations, he makes it all (well, most of it) quite engaging.

He begins in his boyhood, where all his little friends in Hannibal, MO, watched the steamboats chugging up and down the river. They all longed to get on those boats and Live Life. Finally, one of the Hannibal boys hired on to a boat, and when he returned to tell his adventures, to brag about how well he knew "St. Looy," they "envied him and loathed him."

You have to slow down and adopt the rhythms of yesteryear to enjoy Twain's book. But at least the man completes his sentences. I'm sorry that he's long gone. I'm sure he would have made for a most interesting dinner guest.

As for your dinner, I offer  Almond Raspberry Tossed Salad. This is for people who would rather skip vegetables and go straight to dessert. If we make the green stuff interesting enough and sweet enough, I will devour it.

We served this at the Jim's wedding "rehearsal dinner." All the new relatives got along great. I think the salad deserves the credit.

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