Questions in the Writing & Language category.
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October 18

Book recommendations 2020

It's (going to be) that time of year again, where I find gifts for people who already have everything. Recommend me some good nonfiction books from this year or last (but not too good, or they'd already own them). *or something else I can give them; clever solutions welcome
posted by queen anne's remorse at 9:06 PM - 23 answers

October 12

Books like “Hyperbole and a Half”

Seeking books like “Hyperbole and a Half” for a bright 9 year old who doesn’t normally like to read. [more inside]
posted by nicodine at 7:02 PM - 10 answers

October 9

Nonreligious quote for a holiday card when the world is terrible

I'm hoping you can help me find a short, nice quote for our holiday card that acknowledges the horribleness of 2020 without being too hokey or depressing. [more inside]
posted by pintapicasso at 5:28 PM - 24 answers

Poem for retirement of fabulous gay man

I am something of a go-to person for occasional verse among my friends and acquaintances, and a friend who is retiring has asked me to read a poem at his retirement party. Help me find my way to the right one. [more inside]
posted by Orlop at 2:35 PM - 8 answers

Recommend Me A Non Fiction Book Writing Coach. Does Such A Thing Exists?

I have landscaping company with a very specialized focus (mostly native plants, very low maintenance, low water needs plants). My dream is to write a DIY book about it for the general public. Need help! [more inside]
posted by Sentus at 9:50 AM - 7 answers

October 7

Seeking Spanish-to-English interpreter (by zoom) for Argentinian meeting

I'm hosting a virtual meeting with several monolingual Spanish speakers from Argentina later this month, and several monolingual English speakers from the US. As long as we're all on Zoom, we'd love to hire a Spanish-to-English interpretation service who will use Zoom's fancy translation features. Ideally, we'd find folks who would make our Argentinian attendees comfortable. This is for higher ed, but for a conversation about labor law, so bonus points for anyone who may have familiarity with legal/organizing terminology / pro-worker politics. We've got one lead, but need to sort this out sooner than later, so would love to have a few backups. Any suggestions?
posted by rdn at 8:34 PM - 2 answers

October 5

What are some short stories where the characters discuss fiction?

Have you ever read a short story where the characters spend a large part of the time talking about specific works of fiction? I'm interested in how the author does it, given that the reader may not be familiar with the story in question.
posted by storybored at 9:05 PM - 9 answers

October 4

What are some highly regarded books that have faded into obscurity?

I'm interested in non-fiction books written maybe between 1970-2000. For example, I just picked up The Unconscious Civilization, which won awards and popular acclaim in its time, but which I've never heard anyone refer to in the past 20 years. (and which has a total of 27 reviews on Amazon) [more inside]
posted by mikek at 11:12 PM - 42 answers

September 26

Need more detail, please!

I'm a writer for an organization whose editor is a real stickler for detail - his comments on my writing are always "Need to beef up here", "This is a little weak", and "Add some things here to make it a bit longer." I know that means adding more detail, but I don't know how to do that. I think I write too fast. What writing exercises can I do to strengthen this lack of detail? ADHD diagnosed, too.
posted by adverb at 4:56 PM - 9 answers

September 25

Salem Architecture, 17th c.

Is the "meeting house" in Crucible (Arthur Miller) a civic hall or a church? [more inside]
posted by plant or animal at 8:42 AM - 5 answers

September 24

Looking for fiction about learning new skills

I'm looking for recommendations for fiction that includes well-written descriptions about learning new skills. [more inside]
posted by creepygirl at 9:38 PM - 22 answers

Organizing Zotero Citations for Fun and Syllabus

I use Zotero to organize academic references and the material I use for my research into.... lets say.... beans. I also teach a class on beans. I'm trying to organize and/or tag these references in a way that makes it easy to find what I'm looking for and also to quickly generate citations that I can past into a syllabus that is divided by weekly readings... [more inside]
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 10:32 AM - 1 answers

September 18

What is this Norwegian children's song about waffle irons?

When I was a kid, I knew a Norwegian girl who shared a song her mother sang to her. The only bit I remember is a part about a heart being like a waffle iron. She explained that the Norwegian words for "heart" and "waffle iron" sound similar. Any ideas what this is?
posted by easy, lucky, free at 2:01 PM - 6 answers

September 16

Earliest example of YYXX??

Early video games would sometimes say they were set in "199X" or "20XX" to indicate a general setting without tying it to a specific year. Every now and then I run across other uses of this construction in very non-videogame contexts, and I swear I've seen this in 18th century lit but can't think of any examples off the top of my head. What's the likely earliest example of this variable/unknown date style?
posted by curious nu at 8:33 PM - 5 answers

Deutsche sprache mit kaput ohren lernen

Any tips for learning to speak and understand German when half deaf? [more inside]
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 6:43 AM - 3 answers

Memoirs about ordinary people who endure tragedy and make peace with it

Hello! A friend of mine is looking for memoirs about people who endure some tragic incident -- i.e., terrible car accident, spinal cord injury, etc. (does not have to be physical, but life-changing), then thrives and/or finds a way to make peace with what happened/channel their life in a new way. Probably best if one-off tragedy, rather than years of abuse, for example. Any suggestions?
posted by caoimhe at 3:51 AM - 21 answers

September 15

How fast could my kid learn to speak French?

How long would it take my language-skilled 5.5 year old to learn French in a fully French environment? Is 2 months "enough" in terms of language acquisition? [more inside]
posted by andreapandrea at 8:40 PM - 19 answers

September 14

Names for mother's boyfriend/unmarried "father" in laws..

I'm writing a story featuring a character who is the boyfriend of the mother of my protagonist and am looking for as many terms for this role as I can find. [more inside]
posted by mani at 11:23 PM - 32 answers

Automatic Citation Generator or Other Guide for Chicago Manual of Style?

Is there an endnote and bibliographic citation generator online that you've found reliable? [more inside]
posted by kensington314 at 5:20 PM - 9 answers

"The Story of Zohreh and Manouchehr" in English

I'm trying to find an English (or French) translation of The Story of Zohreh and Manouchehr by Iraj Mirza. Does one exist? [more inside]
posted by sciencegeek at 3:51 PM - 1 answers

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