September 9, 2008

In Search of Bill Clinton and also improved grammar

John Gartner, an acquaintance from my Goucher College days, has a new book coming out. In Search of Bill Clinton is a psychological study of the former president written by a practicing therapist. In his email, John pointed out that the book cover is amazing -- no words at all, just a picture of Clinton -- "like the White Album." Obviously, John makes great connections -- reason enough to read the book.

Feedback on the book so far is good. I had a little trouble with the comment below, though. Let's play a quick game of "What's wrong with this paragraph?"

"John Gartner's new book In Search of Bill Clinton will, I think, help solve the riddle of the forty-second President: how a man with such superhuman talent could risk his entire life's work, as he did over Monica Lewinsky. In a wonderfully engaging quest, Gartner - a highly-experienced therapist - does what no psychologist has bothered to do over the past two decades of Clinton-watching: interview those who grew up with the man, and have intimate knowledge of his strengths and weaknesses. Written with lucidity, humor, compassion and amazing insight, it is a tour de force that not only helps explain one of the smartest yet complex men of our time, but shines a fascinating spotlight onto the problem of the super-gifted individual in our society. " -- Nigel Hamilton author of "Bill Clinton: An American Journey” and “Bill Clinton: Mastering the Presidency"

Did you find them both? The first one is "highly-experienced." Because "highly" is an adverb, Nigel needs to lose the hyphen. The second is the phrase "one of the smartest yet complex men." What's needed here is a balanced construction. The obvious choice is "one of the smartest yet most complex men." But that may not be what he means, what with the "yet" in there suggesting that complexity and brains aren't usually paired.
That's hardly accurate.

Maybe it should be enough for me to know that Nigel Hamilton approves of the book. Trouble is, before I finished my first cup of coffee this morning I ran across a blog where the word "noon" was capitalized. (That's bound to ruin anybody's day.) Trouble is, I haven't read John's book yet but I'm certain it warrants more careful attention than Nigel gave to his blurb.

And don't get me started on the commas.

No comments: