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Wit lovers rejoice! There's a new edition (the fifth) of The Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations. Gyles Brandreth has taken the editorial reins from the late Ned Sherrin, and the new edition fine-tunes what was already an impressive and entertaining reference work.  Continue reading...
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The Best Punctuation Marks in Literature

On New York Magazine's Vulture blog, Kathryn Schulz has compiled what she considers the five best uses of punctuation in the history of literature. From the colon in Dickens's A Christmas Carol ("Marley was dead: to begin with") to the ellipses in T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," it's a fascinating list. Read it here.
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I was speaking at a conference several years ago and talking about mindmapping. I spotted one tall, skinny guy in the middle of the very large hotel conference room, smiling and nodding his head vigorously. I could also see a few rather grumpy faces — people who looked either disappointed or disbelieving. A few even looked angry!  Continue reading...
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The single most valuable thing an aspiring writer can do to improve his or her work may be stated in three words: Read good books! Unfortunately, the statement begs the question, what makes a good book? The book you prize I may scorn; the book that thrills me may bore you.  Continue reading...
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When I learned I was pregnant with triplets, 20 years ago, I was desperate to know their gender. Did I, God forbid, have three boys? (In my mid-30s, I was sure I didn't have the energy for that!) Now, with the benefit of many years of parenting, I can recognize my desire for that knowledge as not just mere curiosity. It arose out of my intolerance for ambiguity.  Continue reading...
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Stories, we learn in school, must have beginnings, middles, and ends. Creating each leg of the age-old triangle poses daunting challenges, yet for writers eager to write a deathless masterpiece, no challenge is more daunting than beginning.  Continue reading...
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Today is the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Or, to put it another way, the best-known American speech is seven score and ten years old. Although it's famous, familiar, and was often memorized by schoolchildren, the text of the Gettysburg Address is uncertain: we all know the words, or many of them, but it turns out that there are many Gettysburg Addresses, not just one.  Continue reading...
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3 4 5 6 7 Displaying 29-35 of 330 Articles