3 out of 4 stars
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Why Do We Quote? by Ruth Finnegan is an interesting and informative non-fiction book about the nature and history of quoting. The author has conducted a considerable amount of research to determine how and why people quote. The method and manner of quoting covers a wide range of topics. The author created a thorough and thought-provoking analysis of the circumstances in which quoting is useful based on responses she received from informal interviews and from an online survey conducted in England.
When people were asked if they quote, many responses were in the negative. People generally, at least initially, did not believe they quoted in their daily lives. It was only when the author dug deeper that the individuals realized that they do quote quite often. Quoting is not limited to formal quoting with citations in a formal research paper. Quoting family sayings and folklore verbally is done on an almost daily basis by most people. Something as simple as ‘it’s raining cats and dogs’ is a quote frequently used by many people without realizing they are quoting a saying created by someone else. People that completed the online survey also said that they believed quoting may be viewed by others as pompous. While they may have inspirational quotes to motivate themselves, they would hesitate to quote to others at the risk of appearing in a negative light. Another large portion of responders felt that quoting at all meant you were incapable of an original thought and needed to rely upon the thoughts of others.
There were positives and negatives presented for the use of quotes. I felt that both positions had valid points. The responses were thoughtful and interesting to read. I was pleasantly surprised when I read this book. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the title and thought it might be focused on how to quote properly in a formal setting. The book was much more interesting than that. The author focused on many different aspects of quoting and provided copies of interesting responses from the online surveys. She also included photos that enhanced the book. I liked reading the family quotes submitted by some people and the stories behind them. I think sometimes we quote our ancestors through family sayings without realizing how they originated.
The author also included a variety of quotes that are commonly used by people. These quotes are from Shakespeare, philosophers and folklore. It is obvious that the author is well-read and highly educated. Her analysis of the research she conducted was fascinating to read. I was impressed with how detail-oriented she was and how well she organized this book. Each section presented a different aspect of quoting with examples and analysis of responses from people.
I enjoyed reading this book. However, it is very detailed and advanced in its presentation and analysis of quoting. Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend this book for younger readers unless they are interested in advanced analysis of this subject matter. I think this book would appeal to anyone interested in the subject of quoting. I give this book a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. Although, I thought the book was well-written and interesting, there were some grammar errors that prevented me from giving it a perfect score.
Why Do We Quote?
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