Thursday, May 29, 2008


     After a long day of presenting oral arguments, deposing witnesses or meeting with clients, I like nothing better than coming home and settling down for the evening with a good novel.  I am particularly fond of those authors who are capable of vivid development of the fictional characters presented and the environments in which they exist.  I've recently come across two novels in this mold that I enjoyed very much.  

     Just last night I finished The Distant Echo, by Val McDermid.  Ms. McDermid has become one of my favorite writers.  She is particularly adept at creating plots that are filled with intrigue and suspense.  McDermid is from Scotland, and her novels are typically set either there or in England.  While reading her books, I enjoy becoming immersed in her terminology from the United Kingdom.  I've been heard recently speaking about pulling my vehicle into a car park (a parking lot), snacking on some crisps (potato chips),  and picking up a pack of fags (cigarettes).  The unusual terminology is never distracting to me.  To the contrary, it seems to add to the flavor of the novel.  The Distant Echo is a good read indeed.   

     I also recently read Beyond the Stars, by William David Ross.  I had not previously read anything by Ross, but I found this book to be quite worthwhile.  (My brother Jonathan turned me on to it.)  Beyond the Stars is a historically based novel about Native American Indians and their struggle to survive in the high Dakota plains after the arrival of the white folks.  It is well-written and thought provoking.  The book is described as an epic of the American West.  Reading it made me want to head out west for a hiking and camping trip.  It also made me want to learn more about Native American heritage and traditions.  Reading it was time very well spent.  

     I heartily recommend The Distant Echo or Beyond the Stars to you for the next time you are preparing to settle down into your favorite reading chair.  While you're at it, you might just want to enjoy some crisps.  


Blogger white rabbit said...

Matthew - after a hard day lawyering, I usually collapse on my back ;)

The differences in US and English English are intriguing. There are wide linguistic variations in England (and the US too of course). the 'Sid the Sexist' clip is set in Newcastle where the local accent is so strong that other English people can find it hard to follow.

Oh and a helpful tip for americans in Britain. Randolph/Randy is pretty much unknown as a man's name here but randy does mean the same as - um - horny in US English. So on no account go up to women at parties and say...

'Hi! I'm Randy!'

I have heard of it happening. Didn't go down well...

12:49 PM  
Blogger Meatbe said...

Thanks for the tip, Andrew. I'll know not to use Randy as my assumed name if I ever visit there.

I'm still laughing about your Sid the Sexist clip. Very funny. Is that a regular cartoon there?

I've noticed a few other terms that are used in England, but not here: arse, shite and bloke all come immediately to mind. I've also noticed that you Brits tend to use "round" where we would use "around." i.e., I'm wearing a chain round (around) my neck.

It would be fun to compile a list of the differences. I'm sure that such a list must exist.

10:59 AM  
Blogger white rabbit said...

Matthew - Sid the Sexist is a strip cartoon in the English magazine 'Viz', a parody of more straight laced comic books foe children. It is relentlessly smutty and was at one point the best selling magazine in the UK. You can theorise why but the Englsih undoubtedly find sex/huan anatomy/bodily functions convulsively funny. It goes all the way back to Chaucer's 'The Miller's Tale' and no doubt beyond.

Here is link to the Viz webpage where you will find Sid under 'Viz TV'. The crazed letters page ('Letterbocks')is worth a look.

Political correctness has gone too far. These days I am expected to get permission off my own wife before I make love to her. Well it seems a shame to wake her up.
T Chipboard

As is 'Top Tips'

SMOKERS. Take a tip from tumble dryer users. Enjoy a crafty fag at your desk by attaching a flexible vent hose to your face and running it out of the office window.
Aston Martini, London

And the spinoff book Roger's Profanisaurus

(I looked for a milder example but gave up - theer don't seem to be any)

3:10 AM  

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