From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The humorist and panelist on public radio's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me pours a tall glass of wordplay, witticism, curmudgeonry, and anecdote in this beguiling follow-up to Alphabet Juice. Leafing through the Oxford English Dictionary and other respectable sources, Blount compiles his own facetious lexicon of terms that pique his interest and prod him into a ramble. "Sonicky" words always get high marks for sheer auto-evocativeness- " âÇÿsplotch' explodes from the mouth and makes an unmissable mess of itself"-but any dubious etymology, quaint and off-color usage, or over-reaching lexicographer's dictat is liable to get him going. Then he's off into historical digressions ("not until 1598 did prick appear as an insult"), grammatical rants (you-all is not singular, Yank), miscellaneous peeves (Karl Rove's prose, people who think somebody else wrote Shakespeare's plays), and, always, a shaggy-dog story he wants to tell. Such is the force of the author's free-associational logic that the entry on meta-narrative carries us straight through Jean-François Lyotard's theory of the postmodern to international news reports of a rash of hog- and possum-hurling misdemeanors in Mississippi. Blount's hilarious collection of riffs and raves adds up to a cantankerous ode to the English language in all its shambling grace. (May)
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Lamenting critics of finicky language users, humorist Blount declares that when it comes to language, he intends to �finick� until the day he dies. And finick he does, with joy and curiosity and a great appreciation for words. In this follow-up to Alphabet Juice (2008), Blount contends that letters and sounds are not arbitrary, as some linguists claim, but are connected to our senses. Savoring the juiciness of some words that connect to our senses of sight and sound, Blount introduces the concept of �sonicky,� the satisfying or curious sounds of words. His collection is a discourse on oddities of origin, meaning, and pronunciation. His sources are as venerated as the Oxford English Dictionary, as contemporary as urbandictionary.com and YouTube, and as eclectic as his own tastes and experiences. Blount�s selection of words is particularly �sonicky� and is accompanied by amusing facts and anecdotes and crazy stories that show the peculiarities of etymology and definitions and the deep and abiding beauty of words. Writers and readers will love this book. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Well-known humorist and library panelist Roy Blount Jr. follows up Alphabet Juice (2008) with another entertaining look at language, which will be supported by an author tour and a national advertising campaign. --Vanessa Bush