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Up to my neck in cookbooks: But what makes me drool?  Design guru Caz Hildebrand's marvelous black-and-white pasta cookbook, chock full of etymology, great graphics, and delicious recipes. And lists -- of ingredients, steps, tools, pastas . . .  What do we do, stylistically and grammatically, with lists?

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Elizabeth Bishop (1911-79) is one of America's most distinguished poets. And we all know that poets are blissfully free of the compulsion to follow the "rules of grammar" as we know them, right? The recent publication of new editions of Bishop's Poetry and Prose, however, reveals a writer in full command of her commas, and more.

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Yoga and Grammar: The virtues of flexibility are many, but being flexible about which word to use is not one of them. As I was poring over Claire Dederer's Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses, the benefits, and limits, of flexibility came to mind.

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At 592 pages, The 4-Hour Body covers a lot of ground. Except what to do about numbers vs numerals in text. Does that 4 in the title make you wince more than the diet the book recommends? Let's see why.

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Powder keg on the Mississippi: a noted Twain scholar releases an edition of  Huck Finn in which he's searched and replaced a word 219 times -- probably the most incendiary racial slur in English. Did he just blow up the whole raft?

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My joy at reading a prepublication excerpt from Mark Twain's long-awaited autobiography was somehow tempered by the sight of a Snapple advertisement remarking, "Best, Bestier, Bestiest!" The fecund American language never ceases to astonish, from Twain to the Bestiest Stuff on Earth.

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Ape House, a wonderful new over-the-top romp of a novel by Sara Gruen, explores a world of language-enabled bonobos and reality TV. What's even better than imaginary reality TV? Reality. Sara met these grammatical bonobos in person. They exist! So what is the Grammar of the Apes?

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British author David Mitchell's latest extraordinary novel, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, has, shockingly, not made the shortlist of six finalists for the Man Booker Prize, one of Britain's most presigious literary awards. That made me think about all the great titles Mitchell has produced, including Cloud Atlas and Black Swan Green. With Thousand Autumns, he returns to a standard noun-and-prepositional-phrase form for his title, but let's take a closer look at those earlier titles.

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Gail Caldwell's new book about her best friend Caroline Knapp ends with Knapp's heartbreaking death from lung cancer; a life sadly abbreviated at 42. What grammar can I find for that? A gentle note about contractions, and a fervent wish for many readers for this beautiful book. Read more...
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How excited am I to read the new Jonathan Franzen, FREEDOM? Very. Did I love THE CORRECTIONS? Yes. Would I have "corrected" a single word in it? Probably not, because since I've been editing for grammar, there are some places I just don't go. Like that whole since/because thing. Read more...
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About Unabashedly Bookish: The BN Community Blog
Unabashedly Bookish features new articles every day from the Book Clubs staff, guest authors, and friends on hot topics in the world of books, language, writing, and publishing. From trends in the publishing business to updates on genre fiction fan communities, from fun lessons on grammar to reflections on literature in our personal lives, this blog is the best source for your daily dose of all things bookish.

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