Thursday, September 19, 2019

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Semicolon: The Past, Present, and Future of a Misunderstood Mark

Cecelia Watson

The semicolon. Stephen King, Hemingway, Vonnegut, and Orwell detest it. Herman Melville, Henry James, and Rebecca Solnit love it. But why? When is it effective? Have we been misusing it? Should we even care?

In Semicolon, Cecelia Watson charts the rise and fall of this infamous punctuation mark, which for years was the trendiest one in the world of letters. But in the nineteenth century, as grammar books became all the rage, the rules of how we use language became both stricter and more confusing, with the semicolon a prime victim. Taking us on a breezy journey through a range of examples—from Milton's manuscripts to Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letters from Birmingham Jail" to Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep—Watson reveals how traditional grammar rules make us less successful at communicating with each other than we'd think. Even the most die-hard grammar fanatics would be better served by tossing the rule books and learning a better way to engage with language.

Through her rollicking biography of the semicolon, Watson writes a guide to grammar that explains why we don't need guides at all, and refocuses our attention on the deepest, most primary value of language: true communication.

Nonfiction. Call number: 428.23 Wat. View in our catalog

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Everything Inside

Edwidge Danticat

Rich with hard-won wisdom and humanity, set in locales from Miami and Port-au-Prince to a small unnamed country in the Caribbean and beyond, Everything Inside is at once wide in scope and intimate, as it explores the forces that pull us together, or drive us apart, sometimes in the same searing instant.

In these eight powerful, emotionally absorbing stories, a romance unexpectedly sparks between two wounded friends; a marriage ends for what seem like noble reasons, but with irreparable consequences; a young woman holds on to an impossible dream even as she fights for her survival; two lovers reunite after unimaginable tragedy, both for their country and in their lives; a baby's christening brings three generations of a family to a precarious dance between old and new; a man falls to his death in slow motion, reliving the defining moments of the life he is about to lose.

Fiction. Call number: FIC Dan. View in our catalog

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The Stolen Kingdom

Bethany Atazadeh

Arie eagerly anticipates becoming Queen of her humble kingdom. Even when a Jinni's Gift manifests before her 18th birthday, she fights to hide the forbidden ability. But when a neighboring king attempts to manipulate her into marriage and steal her kingdom, discovery feels imminent. Just one slip could cost her throne. And her life. A Jinni hunter and his crew of thieves are the only thing that might help her remove this Gift. And she must remove it before it's exposed. Or die trying.

Teen fiction. Call number: YA FIC Ata. View in our catalog

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Guest: A Changeling Tale

Mary Downing Hahn

When her adorable baby brother is replaced by an ugly, ill-tempered changeling, Mollie is determined to find the so-called Kinde Folke who took baby Thomas, return the changeling she calls Guest, and make them give Thomas back. Natural and magical obstacles and her own reckless temperament make her journey arduous and full of dangers, and a plot rich in surprises and twists makes this book a must-read for Mary Downing Hahn's fans.

Youth fiction. Call number: J FIC Hah. View in our catalog

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My Big Bad Monster

A. N. Kang

Have you ever met your monster of self-doubt? This girl has. When she's had enough of his negativity, she discovers that with a little help from new friends and a lot of boisterous music, he'll disappear for good!

Youth easy book. Call number: J EASY Kan. View in our catalog

Descriptions and images provided by the publishers.

© 2019 William P. Faust Westland Public Library