Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Rule

If you are going to write a review about three books on basketball, as Andrew Ervin did for yesterday's Washington Post, you simply cannot write a sentence such as this one about a book on Ivy League basketball:
Understandably, perhaps, it's not every season that an Ivy League team participates in the hysteria surrounding the annual March Madness tournament, yet the teams share a long and exciting history of extremely competitive basketball.
. . . and then complain about "the terrible writing in The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy."

Read the excerpted sentence. I have no idea what it means. For one thing, what is its subject? And since the regular season Ivy League champion receives an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament every year, the sentence seems factually wrong if it says what I think it is trying to say. I know it's sort of unfair to cherry pick one sentence from a review like this. It's a bit like criticizing someone for grammar or a spelling error or a typo in a blog comment. But when you lead off your discussion of a book by saying it is terribly written, you really cannot afford a shit-storm of a sentence like that in your 800 words.


Andrew Ervin said...

Ha! Yes... that is a shitstorm of a sentence!

dcat said...

Andrew --
Thanks for the sense of humor and for weighing in. No harm intended, and I want to read all three books, especially the one on the Ivy League (I already have Sports Guy's book, agree that he is a lazy writer and that his schtick gets old.)


Andrew Ervin said...

dcat: send me your address via the url linked here & I'll mail you the other 2 books. I think you'd like them.