Servant of the Secret Fire

Random thoughts on books and life in the reality-based community

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Location: New York, United States

The name I've chosen comes from "Lord of the Rings," when Gandalf faces down the Balrog in the Mines of Moria. My Hebrew name is Esther (which is related to the word for "hidden" or "secret") Serafina (which means "burning"). This seems appropriate because although I don't usually put myself forward, I do care very passionately about a lot of things. Maybe through these blogs I can share some of these passions, as well as less weighty ideas and opinions, with others.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Book Review: Talk to the Hand

Talk to the Hand by Lynne Truss *****

The latest book from the author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves is another extremely civilized rant complete with a generous dollop of dry British wit, this time about the lack of civility in society at large. Rather than attempting to teach us “manners” a la Emily Post, Truss sensibly takes a broader approach, attempting to “save the world from philistinism and yobbery” with her “six good reasons to stay home and bolt the door.” She makes a lot of excellent points about how simple it is to show basic courtesy, the sheer annoyance of a lot of automated customer service (I personally don’t mind it most of the time but feel that there should always be a real person readily available for those who do), and the general self-centeredness of the iPod and cell phone society, not overtaxing our resources and making us smile when we’re not nodding in agreement - and sometimes when we are. Not a deep book - as the author rather pitiably reminds us, she has "gone quite pale and crosseyed" reading those so that we don't have to - but an enjoyable and accessible read on an always timely subject.

Luckily, I don’t seem to encounter a lot of this rudeness everyone always talks about, maybe because I hang out with such civilized people!

The truest sentence in the book, and the one that sums it all up for me: "In a truly egalitarian society, everyone would show respect for everyone else" – not dis respect, in other words.

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