Have you ever felt like some famous writers are a little overrated? Well, you’re in good company—other famous writers felt the same way (and were neither polite nor cautious about expressing it). Enjoy our favorite author-on-author insults below!
Not a fan: William Faulkner
“A hack writer who would not have been considered fourth rate in Europe, who tricked out a few of the old proven sure fire literary skeletons with sufficient local color to intrigue the superficial and the lazy.”
Not a fan: D.H. Lawrence
“Nobody can be more clownish, more clumsy and sententiously in bad taste, than Herman Melville, even in a great book like Moby-Dick…. One wearies of the grand serieux. And that’s Melville. Oh dear, when the solemn ass brays! brays! brays!”
Not a fan: Stephen King
“Both Rowling and Meyer, they’re speaking directly to young people…. The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good.”
One of my favourite books is free on Amazon.
This is such an amazing read and Niki Slobodian is the woman you want to be, well not the unemployed and broke one but the kind that saves herself.
Niki Slobodian sees things – things that aren’t supposed to be there. Labeled an Abnormal by New Government, her name is tacked onto the Registry, which seems to be getting longer these days. Now she can’t work or she’ll end up the same place as her father: in prison. But with no money coming in, Niki’s getting desperate.
So when a mysterious client offers to get her off the Registry in exchange for taking his case, Niki jumps at the chance. All she has to do is round up a homicidal Dark that’s escaped from Hell and is cruising around the city in borrowed bodies. The murders are piling up, with Niki’s notorious father somehow involved, and Niki’s running out of time. And it seems the Dark isn’t the only thing that escaped…
Clearly I´m not an author but I am still trying to write that book to scratch the item off my bucket list. A book that will never be published mainly because it´s work in progress, much like the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, an ongoing project that will probably take me a hundred years or more to complete.
The big difference being that Gaudi created a true masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia is not just a cathedral, that whole structure and everything within it´s wall, and outside, is a work of art. The only similarity between my work and Gaudi´s is the time invested in it and let´s be honest, his time was extremely well invested.
So for those who are authors, that have finalised a book, even if you haven´t published, if it took you long to write it, who did you blame, if anyone?
ALSO, if you’ve not started the Irin Chronicles series yet, you can pick up THE SCRIBE: Irin Chronicles Book One this week for only $0.99! This is three dollars off the regular retail price, so grab it while you can. Sale price has updated on Amazon and Smashwords, but should be updated at other retailers very soon.
My review of the The Staff and the Blade will be up this weekend.
Expresso is a little tool to edit texts and improve your writing style. It will teach you to express yourself through writing more efficiently and help make your texts more readable, precise, and engaging.
I often complain that authors don´t pay enough attention to spelling and grammar and publish books without proper editing. Although I understand that editing can be expensive and not all authors can afford it, it does not change the fact that a book needs proofreading and some editing before publishing. For those that can´t afford a professional editor this might be a useful tool worth trying.
In the middle of the 19th century, a relatively unknown author named Pedro Carolino rapidly gained intercontinental popularity over a small Portuguese-to-English phrasebook. English as She Is Spoke (or O novo guia da conversação em portuguez e inglez) was originally intended to help Portuguese speakers dabble in the English tongue, but was penned by a man who spoke little to no English himself. And, instead of helping Portuguese speakers learn a second language, it became a cult classic for fans of inept and unintentional humor.
It quickly gained notoriety among English speakers, including author Mark Twain, who wrote the introduction for the first English edition, published in 1883. Twain endorsed the book, saying “Nobody can add to the absurdity of this book, nobody can imitate it successfully, nobody can hope to produce its fellow; it is perfect.”
The cover for O Novo Guia de Conversação, em Portuguez e Inglez, em Duas Partes. (Photo: Public Domain)
It is presumed that Carolino wrote the book through the aid of a Portuguese-to-French dictionary and a French-to-English dictionary, using the former for an initial translation of a word or phrase from Portuguese, and the latter to convert it from French into English. The result, of course, is a mishmash of cloudy gibberish.
For instance, the second chapter is titled “Familiar Phrases,” and features sentences intended to help the weary Portuguese traveler in everyday conversation. These phrases include classics like “He has spit in my coat”; “take that boy and whip him to much”; and the oft-used “these apricots and these peaches make me and to come water in mouth.”
The book opens with a preface written in an idiosyncratic style of English. It details the book’s intended audience, stating that it “may be worth the acceptation of the studious persons, and especially of the Youth, of which we dedicate him particularly.” Perhaps predictably, English as She Is Spoke did not become popular among Portuguese-speaking students. In fact, it was never published in Portugal, although it did find an audience 133 years later in Brazil, when it was released as a comedy title.
A photochrom of the Tower of London, 1890. The book, published in 1855, was intended to help Portuguese speakers to improve their English language skills. (Photo: Library of Congress/LC-DIG-ppmsc-08566)
Literary journals, small newspapers, and other niche groups helped spread the word about Carolino’s work before it was given its first proper release as a humor book, first in Britain in 1883, and then in the United States later that year. Endorsements by esteemed writers like Twain and James Millington helped the unusual phrasebook grow a fanbase, and it subsequently received many requests for republishing. The book is even rumored to be the inspiration for the popular “Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook” skit from Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
The book itself is a guessing game of intention and phrases contorted in the unorthodox translation process. If English as She Is Spoke is to be believed, trade occupations might include Coffeeman, Porkshop-Keeper, and Chinaman. The list of aquatic life noted under the heading “Fishes and Shell-Fishes” features well-known sea creatures like the Wolf, the Hedge-hog, and a Sorte of Fish. The section entitled “Games” is even more open to interpretation: the listed games include Mall, Pile, and Keel. (The book is often falsely attributed to Jose Da Fonseca, a popular linguist of the time period, but many believe that Carolino listed him as a co-author to give the work more credibility.)
The title page for English As She is Spoke. (Photo: Public Domain)
There is also a section featuring potential dialogues for everyday situations, such as visiting the dentist, purchasing a book, or visiting a sick family member. Of course, the conversations are mostly incomprehensible, but the chapter closes on an ironic high note, in this discussion about learning a language:
“Do speak French alwais?”
“Some times: though I flay it yet.”
“You jest, you does express you self very well.”
Perhaps the most notorious section of the book is an aptly named chapter entitled “Idiotisms and Proverbs,” which again features phrases that careen between barely understandable and completely nonsensical. Examples of Carolino’s twice-translated proverbs include: “nothing some money, nothing of Swiss”; “friendship of a child is water into a basket”; “take out the live coals with the hand of the cat”; and simply “to fatten the foot.”
The translations of idioms and proverbs. (Photo: Public Domain)
A review of the baffling phrasebook in an 1860 volume of Harvard Magazine opens with a disclaimer stating that the magazine is not intending to insult readers’ intelligence by publishing such excerpts, asserting that they “speak for themselves.”The work in question “purports to be a ‘New Guide to Conversation in the Portuguese and English Tongues,’” the reviewer dryly comments, but “No one, I think, will feel disposed to question its title to novelty.”
English as She Is Spoke is a charming book created by a gentleman who only wanted to help teach the English language to his peers, but instead created a literary disaster that became a linguistic phenomenon. The book has been republished a number of times, the most recent edition printed in 2004 by Collins Library. (A scan of an 1884 pressing can be viewed for free at the Public Domain Review.) Sadly, this was Pedro Carolino’s only published work, although it is an accidental piece of transcendent art with a legacy that has lasted centuries.
One could ponder why Carolino took on the task of creating a phrasebook in a language he did not speak, but sometimes it is better not to look a gift horse in the mouth; or as Carolino says, “a horse baared don’t look him the tooth.”
Okay, so here goes I confess, I was seduced by the title and the cover, I mean look at it, would´t you be tempted?
Have you ever read a book that you were sort of annoyed and wanted to close it but at the same time curiosity got the better of you and you just keep on going? That was what this book was like for me until about half way through then I just kept going until I finished. What made me want to close it? Too many eighteen year olds, their thoughts and inexperienced minds (to no fault of their own).
It was an interesting read although reading about young adults and what goes through their minds can be a challenge but there are enough twisted adults in this book to overlook this. As the story progresses these annoying dialogues somehow dissipate as the eighteen year olds are forced to make tough decisions and they grow from frightened kids into potential interesting adults.
Fortunately Daniel Arenson is a good story teller and included just enough violence and action to make the book worth reading. The characters are diverse and alluring, all in their own right. From the weak, to the brave and feisty where emotions range from fear to anger revenge and hope. I will look forward to reading book 2.