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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why weren't the school grammar books like this?
You don't get Karen Elizabeth Gordon's language books for a complete reference on the English language; there are far more comprehensive guides than these. No, you get them because you're allured, nay, *seduced* by her prose, and because she has a flair for leading you on, then looking innocently on as you stumble over your own wicked thoughts.
Gordon published her...
Published on 25 Mar 1998

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2 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For those who already know what they are doing.....
I bought this book by recomendation from a close friend who is also a published author, so I thought it was worth a shot. Even though I'm sure the book is using lay mens terms I am none the wiser about grammer after reading it (several times). This is because my grammer and punctuation are truly appauling and I was going into this book with no real knowledge of grammer. I...
Published on 1 Sep 2004


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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why weren't the school grammar books like this?, 25 Mar 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager and the Doomed (Hardcover)
You don't get Karen Elizabeth Gordon's language books for a complete reference on the English language; there are far more comprehensive guides than these. No, you get them because you're allured, nay, *seduced* by her prose, and because she has a flair for leading you on, then looking innocently on as you stumble over your own wicked thoughts.
Gordon published her original *Transitive Vampire* in 1984, and it was a delight to read then. The newer edition, published in 1993, has only gotten better. There are more lurid examples and, of course, more of those pictures.
This isn't to say that the book is devoid of useful grammar instruction. While copy editors are unlikely to find a use for this book, almost everyone else will find something here that they weren't aware of before, whether it's the rule on number agreement or the cases of pronouns.
But the real value of Gordon's book is that it makes us actually want to read through it, and the grammar lessons seep into our ears almost by the way. Other grammar books are reference sources; this one reads more like a good novel, and is practically as hard to put down.
Gordon's cast of characters include a dour but charming gargoyle named Jean-Pierre, the lovely Alyosha, assorted bats and demons, and even the Statue of Liberty. This gothic motley trundles through the book, whispering sweet nothings about verb tenses. At times, Gordon plays the vamp: "The debutante rocks on her haunches and sucks her thumb."
That alone ought to send some to their dictionaries, eagerly looking up what haunches are, and why a scantily clad debutante might be rocking on them.
This book is a must for gothic logophiles--and anyone who isn't, might consider playing the part, if only for a night, just to read it.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The quintessential grammar-really-can-be-fun read., 11 Feb 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager and the Doomed (Hardcover)
At age 54, starting to write for the first time, it seemed only natural to scour the shelves of my local purveyor of books for helpful references. Both the cover and the title of this book fairly leapt into my visual field, making it impossible to leave the vampire--or his debutante--on the shelf. Not only did it clearly answer my rather pedestrian questions about the various parts of speech, etc., it did so with gusto, elan, humor, and very clever self-defining plays on words. More importantly, Ms. Gordon's characters brought home to me WHY these various grammatical entities were essential, showing me ways to convey intent, innuendo, shadings of meaning, and so forth that have been immensely helpful.
I recommend this book to writers, writers-manque, lovers of both the English language as well as linguistics in general. Not to be missed.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scrumptious, 23 Aug 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager and the Doomed (Hardcover)
I have long held the notion that grammar really isn't as bad as it's cracked up to be. Ms Gordon not only proves my theory, but her darkly entertaining illustrations and sentences serve as the sugar that helps the proverbial medicine go down. Her information is accurate, her teaching style is swift and fun, and you'll walk away from this book with a smile on your face, a few auxiliary verbs in your pocket, and an overwhelming urge to buy a samovar. Run -- don't walk -- to your wallet and fetch your credit card right now. . .
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 28 May 2013
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Mr. Edmund Fireman (UK) - See all my reviews
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Stick this in your downstairs loo and toilet times will never be dull again.
Informative, educational and witty, go on, you'll might even learn something.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If God exists, why would he want to hang around?, 18 Feb 2010
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Expecting to be entertained by a book on grammar is like tuning into Big Brother for an informed discussion of Middle Eastern politics, but prejudices are there to be knocked into a cocked hat by the facts. The subtitle of Karen Gordon's wonderful book - "An Adult Guide to Grammar" - promises something out of the ordinary if not actually saucy, and she does not disappoint. Any pedants squirming in their seats by such an irreverent approach may well be comforted by the highbrow epigraph from Wittgenstein that graces the introductory chapter, but it's not long before we're back to the lowbrow examples that typify and titillate in equal measure: the sentence "His pants are bulging" is followed hard by "She pants at the sight of him" to illustrate the simple idea that the same word can be used as several different parts of speech.

There is a peculiar activity that is very recent in our evolutionary history, even more recent than our ability to talk: manipulating abstract symbols on a surface and expecting them to communicate meaning to a reader, otherwise known as writing. If you want to write, it is the sentence that "is your point of departure" and this priority over words is reflected in the order of chapters one and two: first sentences, then words. This may seem like putting the cart before the horse. Surely, words are more fundamental units of language? In one sense, perhaps, but they are not units of thought: the sentence is what expresses a complete thought and so determines whether or not we are making sense.

What goes into sentences, of course, is words. Or, if you're Hamlet in an antic disposition, "Words, words, words", although this fails to discriminate between their various guises. A sentence made up of the same kinds of words would as likely as not be nonsense. Words have their own behaviour, their own personality. You might not believe that mere lists of words could be fun to read, but here are two extracts that boggle the mind: "editor, ruffian, zealot, somnambulist, cellist, pimp, nomad" (different kinds of person) and "monad, horror, Cubism, archangel, aroma, silence, siesta" (different kinds of abstraction). These are like delicious ingredients begging to be put together into poetry or prose. (Incidentally, I like the metaphysical decision to categorize "archangel" as an abstraction and not a person.)

With a new edition coming out later this year, over twenty-five years after it first appeared, this is turning into a genuine classic. And with vampires all the rage among those age groups most in need of instruction and least likely to pick up a book on grammar, this might be the breakthrough book for parents concerned for their children's ignorance of predicates and participles and prepositions. If you haven't yet been bitten by the grammar bug, or have been terrified or bored stupid or both by the subject, then bare your neck and let the transitive vampire get to work.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The writer's companion I never had, 3 Mar 2009
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This review is from: The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager and the Doomed (Hardcover)
If only, as a fledgling teenage writer with a vampiric obsession, I had known of the existence of this book!

If you like words (possibly polysillabyc, flummoxing ones), gothic literature and pretty pictures, this is the book for you.

I have not yet delved deep enough into it to see whether or not it has much to teach me as a grammar handbook, but no matter: the obvious love with which Gordon recounts the deeds of her unusual cast of characters makes this a charmingly different fairy-tale in snippets, and if nothing else her vast lexicon could teach us all a word or a hundred.

Which brings me to the best feature of this edition (on top of the added characters and pictures): the enormous margins, left on purpose so that (between an angel and a gargoyle) you may take notes. Draw doodles. Play noughts and crosses.

Only gripe? Apparently, an even newer one is now available for Amazon preorder; if it's a new edition rather than simply a reprint, I might have to invest...! The dramatic irony; I only bought this last week.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that can turn any student into a lover of grammar!, 9 Feb 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager and the Doomed (Hardcover)
A wonderful book to introduce (or brush up on) the rules of grammar without ever forgetting the beauty and playfulness of the language. As a teacher, I owe a debt of thanks to Ms. Gordon and her gothic cast of characters in the _The Deluxe Transitive Vampire_ for giving me a text will help me to show my students the heights that their writing can achieve.

Chris Lehmann
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on grammar I have ever read, 10 Jun 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager and the Doomed (Hardcover)
I first read this several years ago when I was editor-in-chief of a medical journal, POSTGRADUATE MEDICINE. I found it right on target and much fun. Would that newspaper reporters might see this marvelous book and be appropriately influenced by it.

Robert B. Howard, MD
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2 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For those who already know what they are doing....., 1 Sep 2004
By A Customer
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This review is from: The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager and the Doomed (Hardcover)
I bought this book by recomendation from a close friend who is also a published author, so I thought it was worth a shot. Even though I'm sure the book is using lay mens terms I am none the wiser about grammer after reading it (several times). This is because my grammer and punctuation are truly appauling and I was going into this book with no real knowledge of grammer. I also find the book hard to read because of it's lack of summary's and quiz's, sometimes I thought I was just nodding along for the sake of just finishing the book. In my opinion you really do need to a reasonable amount of grammer to read this book.
For those who are looking for a simple and workable layout I reccomend 'Basic grammer' and 'Basic punctuation' by John Murray.
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