I love June Casagrande.
I could have written that I love June Casagrande because she has such an irreverent sense of humor. I could have written that I love June Casagrande because she takes a subject as mind-numbingly boring as sentence structure and creates a light and entertaining read. But now that I’ve read It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences I feel as if the sentence “I love June Casagrande” is a better choice for an opening sentence.
If you are a regular in the Virginia Shop at the Library of Virginia you know that we shamelessly promote Casagrande’s earlier work Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies: A Guide to Language for Fun and Spite and display it as a regular feature on the sales desk. The title usually evokes a chuckle from people as they wait for their credit card to process through the insanely slow state-managed computer network. It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences is now featured prominently beside it. I will admit that I did not actually read Grammar Snobs but instead listened to it on CD while on a road trip. I have since reread some of the chapters, less intent on learning anything than getting a good laugh, and it never fails to generate a chuckle at the very least.
I still enjoyed the humor in It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences, but I also took away some great advice on building better sentences, tips that could prove useful to writers of all skill levels. I know just enough about grammar to know that I should feel a little self conscious about my writing. I dread the fact that as soon as I make something public I’ll immediately notice a typographical error or a really unfortunate word choice. In fact, I worry that June Casagrande herself might Google her own name, read my blog post, and decide one of my sentences is bad enough to use as an example of bad writing in her next book. I’m hoping that since The Virginia Shop probably sells more copies of her books than any other store in the country that she’ll take pity on me.