This weekend's edition of the Globe and Mail didn't send me into the apoplexy of rage that it often does, especially the Book Review section, which actually included several well-reasoned critiques, including one by my colleague Lorna Jackson. (I suck up to her not simply because she wields power over whether I keep my present job but also because she has spent a lot of creative energy wrestling with the art and duty of the book reviewer.)
Still, a word choice in one review stuck in my craw. Because of my generous mood, I'll leave the writer anonymous. Instead, I'll indulge in a frequent daydream fantasy that I call "Words I'd Ban if I Were Made Dictionary Deity":
From all book reviews: lambent, lustrous, luminous... in fact, any light-emitting diction to describe someone else's prose or poetry. These adjectives are as vague as the equally galling modifier nuanced, although perhaps they serve a role as code words to warn that the book under study is yet another of the faux-poetic, over-written CanLit melodramas that make me want to take my eyes out with a fork.
From the style sections of newspapers and magazines: I know, having written plenty of trends fluff and home porn myself, that "lifestyle journalism" is an oxymoron. Still, I think we can finally fumigate the following literary tics: fashionista, foodie, boite (for a restaurant rather than a box of takeaway in France), and bling (unless, of course, you have gold teeth, diamond-encrusted brass knuckles, and did a nickel in Sing Sing before recording your first multi-platinum gangsta rap album).
And, mea culpa, my own over-fondness for cutesy dialogue tags. No one should muse, opine, or marvel about anything. Stop me before I opine again.