<$BlogRSDURL$> Spontaneous Things: Karina Sumner-Smith's Blog
Monday, September 20, 2004
My New Favourite Sentence

As I was flipping through the books section of the Globe and Mail's Sunday edition, I noticed that they had a review of Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell. Now the publicity folks have really been doing their job well for this one, because in the last little while I have seen quite a few mentions of this book, often with notable enthusiasm. And as the book itself does sound interesting, I was planning on reading a copy from the library at the very least. So when I saw this particular book review--which happens to be by Kenneth Oppel, of YA novel Silverwing fame--I grabbed it and brought it back home with me to read at my leisure.

I then spent a very long time laughing, because the first sentence of this book review is this:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a woman in want of a good fortune should write a book about magic.

Listen up, ladies--we've hit the jackpot here! If you feel like someone in need of a little money, your course of action is clear: merely write a book about magic, and lo!, a fortune shall drop into your lap. Skeptical? No need! This is a truth universally acknowledged! None can deny the truth of this statement--after all, one need merely look at the statistics. J.K. Rowling became rich by writing "a book about magic" and another woman might very well do the same thing. That would be two women. Proof undeniable!

I mean, who ever heard of a fantasy author with a day job? And a female fantasy author? Guaranteed a fortune.

So after I laughed about that for a while, I went on to read the second sentence of this review. It says:

With the world of children's literature lucratively crowded with young magicians, faeries, dragons and djinn, it was only a matter of time before the adult equivalent was conjured up.

First, we must give the man points for his clever wording. Did you catch it? He said "conjured up"--like a spell! When referring to a book about magic! Gold star, truly top-notch.

Second, can someone please give this man a prize? For he has stumbled across an absolutely astounding idea: what if someone wrote a book about magic ... for adults? Like it would be some kind of ... oh, I don't know, genre or something. Ponder, if you will, what it would be like to read an adult book that has a dragon in it. No, seriously! A dragon! Or perhaps some sort of magician or witch. The mind boggles.

I am going to cut this book review out and post it somewhere for inspiration, for as a female in want of a good fortune, I might want to try writing one of these crazy books about magic. You know, on a whim, since they're creating a whole new genre and all.

(And please note how all through this entry I totally resisted the temptation to recommend that Kenneth Oppel stick to writing about bats.)

(Update: And yes, I know the first line is supposed to be a play on Pride and Prejudice, really I do. I'll respond here as I have in email: cleverness does not--or should not--outweigh sense. Quote what you like, but remember that your resulting sentence should still be applicable, should preferably not appear ridiculous, and should not make 20-something girls nearly suffocate from derisive laughter.)

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 9:10 PM


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