The Joy of Language Meme

I stole this interesting meme from Andi. It was concocted by LitLove at Tales from the Reading Room.

List some of your favourite words: verdant, ambidextrous, portage (with a French accent), toile
What’s your favourite maxim or proverb? Keep your head up and your stick on the ice.
What’s your favourite quotation: "A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until you put her in hot water." -Eleanor Roosevelt
What’s your favourite first line of a novel? "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again." from Rebecca by Daphne duMaurier.
Give an example of a piece of description that’s really pleased you in your reading lately: The only thing that comes to mind is a passage from My Antonia by Willa Cather: "Just as the lower edge of the red disc rested on the high fields against the horizon, a great black figure suddenly appeared on the face of the sun. We sprang to our feet, straining our eyes toward it. In a moment we realized what it was. On some upland farm, a plough had been left standing in the field. The sun was sinking just behind it. Magnified across the distance by the horizontal light, it stood out against the sun, was exactly contained within the circle of the disk; the handles, the tongue, the share—black against the molten red. There it was, heroic in size, a picture writing on the sun."

Which five writers do you particularly admire for their use of language? Vladimir Nabokov (#1!), Thomas Hardy, Edith Wharton, Carol Shields and Margaret Atwood
And are there writers whose style you really dislike? Henry James, Ernest Hemmingway. While James is too wordy, I find Hemmingway is too sparse.
What’s the key to really fine writing, in your opinion? An author's ability to create a visual picture with the simplest language and turn of phrase without being cliché.
Go ahead and try it yourselves!


  1. Interesting answers! You're the second person to mention that line from Rebecca; I think I'll have to read the book.

    If I didn't know it already, that maxim would have told me you're Canadian. It reminds me of my father's surgeon, who told him that his post-op leg pain would be like taking a hockey puck to the thigh. When my dad told me about it, all I could think was, "Only in Canada."

  2. lol! That one just popped into my head.

  3. Excellent answers! I adore Nabokov's use of language, and I can't BELIEVE I forgot to put him on my list. Gah!


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