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What to Read: A Way with Words

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October 15, 2015
What to Read
Boro Petrovic

What's On the Bookshelf
Over the years, we’ve had numerous conversations with industry leaders and often one of the topics that we discuss is the latest book read. We thought it would be fun to share some of these booklover conversations with our readers. Here are what our industry leaders are reading.

A Way with Words
by Michael D.C. Drout

[Review by Boro Petrovic, Oracle Hospitality GBU]

I listen to audio books while I run on a treadmill. Now, you have to know that there are few things more boring to me than running on a treadmill for a long time. That was until I discovered the “Modern Scholars” series of audio books – particularly, audiobooks by Professor Michael D.C. Drout.

There is a way that Professor Drout writes and narrates, a way that continuously captivates attention, makes me immersed in the content and I forget that I am running on a treadmill. I would often pass my planned mileage just to hear to the end of the chapter.
I suppose Professor Drout would call it “A Way with Words,” like the title of his, in my opinion, best book.

“A Way with Words” comes in four parts: Writing Rhetoric and the Art of Persuasion, Approaches to Literature, Grammar for Adults and Understanding Poetry. 

Throughout the book, Professor Drout methodically introduces the audience into the essence of language using effective analogies and powerful quotations.

My favored analogy is the relationship between literature and the universe as one, as in between a map and a territory. “Even the most realistic literature is not reality… Literature is a map, not the territory that the map is describing… A map has to simplify things.” This analogy and the following quote by novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch had a powerful impression on me. Iris Murdoch wrote, “The purpose of novel is to prove that other people really exist.” Which I interpreted as: if there are no human minds that could get an image of a territory based on the map, then there would be no purpose in creating a map.

Professor Drout uses many quotes like this one, which require the reader to pause and let them sink in. I will finish my review with one more quote by Prof Drout when explaining the purpose of rhetoric, “What is the point of being right if you cannot convince anyone?”
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