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Avatar for KaliO KaliO said:
Author Roy Blount loves letters. He loves words. He loves their sounds, their combinations, their meaning, their roots and parts and histories and foreign companions. And as a contributing editor to Atlantic Monthly, a regular panelist on the NPR quiz show “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” and a usage consultant for the American Heritage Dictionary, Blount has been lucky enough to make a living with his love of language in all its written and spoken forms. Alphabet Juice is a dictionary, of sorts, or an encyclopedia; at least its entries are arranged in a standard A to Z format. But the stupendous subtitle of should supply enough of a hint that this book is interested in sheer fun as much as it is in fact, in the secret origins of the word “stock,” in the joy inherent in the phrase “speckled pup,” in explaining what a “spoonerism” is—and that’s just a few entries from the S section. There are also entries on “tallywacker,” “hmmmm,” “cowlick,” “King Taufa’ahau,” and the controversial “ain’t.” Blount waxes poetic about each letter (such as his detailed discussion of Homer Simpson’s infamous utterance “D’oh!” in D’s entry), makes lists of the best one- and two- and three-word sentences (Touché. Jesus wept. The game’s afoot.), and drops names, literary allusions, and pop culture references a plenty. Blount himself acts as a keen and chatty guide through his engaging lexicon; it’s the kind of friendly book that you pick up, put down, flip through, pass around, and come back to over and over again. The passion in Alphabet Juice knows no bounds, and the reader will be utterly swept away by the glorious surprises of the good old ABCs.
posted Jan 21, 2010 at 10:54PM
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