Archive for July, 2009


Stammering, Its Cause and Cure

July 29, 2009

I kind of want to quote all of the prefatory material from Stammering, Its Cause and Cure, because it just gets better and better. I mean, the title is pretty great, for starters. Then the author, Benjamin Nathaniel Bogue, is described as “A Chronic Stammerer for Almost Twenty Years; Originator of the Bogue Unit Method of Restoring Perfect Speech; Founder of the Bogue Institute for Stammerers and Editor of the “Emancipator,” a magazine devoted to the Interests of Perfect Speech.” Then there’s a dedication to his mother, “that wonderful woman whose unflagging courage held me to a task that I never could have completed alone and who when all others failed, stood by me, encouraged me and pointed out the heights where lay success.”

Then there’s the table of contents, which starts with “Part I–My Life as a Stammerer,” and contains such sections as “A Stammerer Hunts a Job,” and “Can Stammering be Cured by Mail.”

The book seems to be among other things, an advertisement encouraging parents to send their stammering children to the Bogue Institute, which is presided over by Mr. Bogue and his mother.

No offense to anyone with a speech defect, of course, and I’m sure Mr. Bogue had the best of intentions and possibly even some success, but…”these experiences, however, were valuable to me, even though they were costly, for they taught me a badly-needed lesson, to wit: That drugs and medicines are not a cure for stammering. “


The Telegraph Boy

July 14, 2009

So, I have this New York Book Company edition of Horatio Alger’s The Telegraph Boy. I think I got it at The Book Barn more than a year ago. Anyway, it’s been sitting on a shelf on my family’s house upstate for kind of a while, because I compulsively buy Alger books and forget to read them. This past weekend, though, I forgot my Kindle at a 4th of July party and ended up being without it for, um…twenty hours? Which resulted in me reading a couple of actual physical books that I wouldn’t have read otherwise, one of which was The Telegraph Boy.

(I recognize that I am overly attached to my Kindle. I may actually be as attached to it as my brother once was to his Gameboy Color, which is saying a lot. I feel bad about this, because I really do love actual paper books, especially when they’re old and the pages are turning brown and they smell kind of weird.)

Anyway, the point of this post is that I rarely finish an Alger book and think to myself, that was really good. In fact, I’m not sure that’s ever happened before, and I love Alger more than the vast majority of people, I think. I don’t know what made The Telegraph Boy work so well for me, but here are some guesses: Read the rest of this entry ?