1. If there’s one thing which really reduces me to ravingly incoherent rage its buying and then reading a book which has been badly edited. It makes me LIVID. I mean, I paid good money for that book, for god’s sake! [as opposed to bad money, which presumably is what Russian oligarchs and Nigerian politicians pay for their books?]
Night Train to Lisbon is a decent book – not marvellous or life-changing, but intelligent and thought-provoking – however, the editor and proof-reader need to be taken out behind the building and slapped soundly. Several times. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. Typos abound. And who on earth decided not to translate the german word ‘Gymnasium’ but to leave it as is? It actually means secondary school, not gym, which I imagine would be enormously confusing to many non-German-speaking readers, since its where the main character works.
I was extremely tempted to correct the entire book in red pen and send it back to the publisher, pedant that I am.
2. Despite the fact that I am single and 38 years old next month – and thus increasingly unlikely ever to have children – I have lately found myself considering what to name my children. Possibly triggered by the arrival of three new babies (welcome Ben, April and Jarvis!) born to friends over the Christmas and New Year holidays.
And I honestly don’t feel I could decide – I mean, its such an enormous responsibility. Its essential not to pigeon-hole your child just because of their name. Perhaps this is not so important in societies which are less class-conscious than the English, but current common names (in more ways in one, sniffs the snob in me) in England for girls are things like Chardonnay (after the wine, presumably) and Chelsea (rather an up-market London suburb), both of which achieve exactly the opposite of their intention and immediately classify the child and their entire family as irredeemable Chavs (that’s ‘white trash’ if you’re in the US).
As does any name containing an apostrophe.
My brother and sisters and I were all given unusual names which were the bane of our childhoods, and which still have to be repeated and explained whenever we meet new people. Consequently, I favour simple names like Sarah and John, except that they have biblical associations which irritate my godless soul.
And its worth mentioning at this point that all the nice, traditional names like Thomas, Alexander, William, Emma, Anna, Isabel etc have been well and truly used ad nauseam by nice middle-class friends of mine.
Which leaves me with either a) Irish names, like Padraig and Aoife, as a nod towards my father’s nationality and my favourite half of myself [of course, the major stumbling block here is that non-Gaelic speakers can’t spell or pronounce them] or b) classical Latin or Greek names from history, because of my love for the period… a love which might well become resentment in any child forced to go through life called Leonidas, Gaius or Arete.
Overall, probably a good thing I’m not pregnant, no?
3. So, I’ve been back in Sydney since last Tuesday and neither Twinkly-Eyed Guy nor Tall Pilot Guy have so far been in touch to ask me out. *shrugs*