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An Epidemic of Epigrams: or An Avalanche of Aphorisms Paperback – September 17, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 162 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; original edition (September 17, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1484051718
  • ISBN-13: 978-1484051719
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,765,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

“A compilation of laconic, pithy sayings meant partly to guide daily life and partly as a tribute to the rich tradition of literary aphorisms. In an era of 140-character tweets, Wick (The Devil's Tale, 2006) revisits Twitter’s intellectual predecessor—the epigram, and its close sibling, the aphorism—in a series of sometimes surprising, often thought-provoking, but always brief satirical statements and philosophies for everyday living. With an obvious enthusiasm for language and its history, the author introduces the quasi-restrictive form and its notable fans and pioneers, from the ancient Greeks to William Shakespeare to Samuel Johnson, even proposing that Jesus Christ’s most famous quotations had in them the spirit of epigrams, combining observations and wit to subvert and challenge conventional thinking. In this vein, Wick presents his own aphorisms, encouraging readers to take them at their leisure and in no particular order. The bits share no overarching theme, though they revisit several subjects, railing against vague social and moral restrictions and offering some commentary on the way society engages with faith and religion. All are offered without context (as all good aphorisms should be), but the collection has a derisive tone that appears early and obviously—“If you see a blind beggar kick him. Why should you be kinder than God?”—and saturates the work. However, though cynical, none of the entries fall back on the ease of sarcasm, always shooting for insight or irreverence, sometimes achieving both. And while aphorisms and epigrams often aim to promote different ways of thinking, entertainment seems to be the book’s primary goal, as it regularly goes for easy laughs with simple puns and malapropisms and boasts comical “reviewer comments” on the cover from figures such as Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde and Apollonius of Tyana. The use of such names is no accident, of course, since the text knows its influences and pays respect to each…this collection loves the form and offers plenty of wit and humorous observations.” --Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Daniel L. Wick is an international award winning author of three previous books, eight plays, and more than 150 essays, articles and reviews in major publications. Dr. Wick has a Ph.D. in History from the University of California and is an award-winning researcher and university teacher. He has been composing epigrams and aphorisms for many years.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 9 customer reviews
Erudition and reflection are a must.
Marcy Dunne Ballard
Any 4th grader could read this entire book cover to cover in 10 minutes.
Bill
This book presents 152 original epigrams, each on its own page.
W. Niocaill

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joan Baucus on June 7, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Two of my favorite one-liners from Daniel L. Wick’s latest book, “An Epidemic of Epigrams” are: “Praise is usually foolish and always welcome” and “Everything unimportant has already been said.” So here is some important foolishness. I appreciated the book’s Foreward, especially the division of epigrams into types such as reverse cliché, philosophical, witty, or subversive. Wick chose not arrange his epigrams by these categories so it is almost a challenge to the reader figure out what goes where. It is wise to follow his suggestion not to speed-read the book, but to take one epigram at a time –like a little shot of wit and wisdom. Many of the epigrams are reverse clichés -- a twist on an well-known saying. Some of these reversals are quite clever, even more thought provoking than the source, but the author shines in the philosophical, witty, subversive etc. categories as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By W. Niocaill on June 4, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book presents 152 original epigrams, each on its own page. These are true epigrams—concise, in various combinations witty, wry, wise, funny, or startling, and each expresses a truth about at least our lives and times if not of the human condition more generally. The truth we recognize in a good epigram is not a common place and may be subtle but should be readily available. Good epigrams are not riddles. That said, Dr. Wick has more going on here than the presentation of his own set of epigrams. By my count about sixty-percent of his epigrams will bring to mind another and usually familiar epigram. (A little digging surely would increase this percentage.) One of my favorites among Wick’s epigrams was the first: “The sleek shall inherit the earth.” (“sleek” vice “meek of course.) And there is a big part of the fun—two epigrams that make statements we recognize as true that if not flatly contradictory at least criticize each other. The white space on the pages is there for the reader’s convenience as they reflect on contrasts evoked by the epigrams, and I found it very useful. Dr. Wick suggests, in his forward, that readers “…browse [the book] at their leisure.” Take this book (and a pencil) to the beach to turn to when you have tired of this season’s page turner.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Darryl B. Holden on June 12, 2014
Format: Paperback
Aphorisms are not easy. They are the distillation of the mind's eye. They unleash the power of brevity - the soul of wit. They are not terse but pithy. They ignite our imaginations.
Daniel Wick lets his well-honed, keen and fearless mind range far and wide. A joy for the reader. There should be a pocket sized book so that we may keep his words near.
How do you pare down a thought, an idea to its very essence yet entertain and amuse your audience? You create create aphorisms to new thoughts. All of the great aphorists were keen minds who grasped the human condition as few others. Wick is an author who shares this greatness. Bravo!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Richard Narum Schwab on December 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
An Epidemic of Epigrams is simultaneously hilarious and profound. Daniel L. Wick's new book is funny without being trivial. Although often wry and ironic, An Epidemic of Epigrams is largely laugh-out-loud funny, the sort of humor that takes you by surprise. Wick successfully makes fun of several things at once, politics, religion, philosophy, pretentiousness and much more. If you want smart, insightful, and gloriously funny, this is your book.

Prof. Richard N. Schwab
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Marina Estabrook on November 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dr. Wick has written yet another gem of a book filled with humor, wisdom, and sheer cleverness. This time, however, his use of words is economic. In "An Epidemic of Epigrams or an Avalanche of Aphorisms" (the title itself is hilarious), there appears one epigram per page and some less than ten words. Why? As the author points out, each epigram must stand on its own and be viewed without context or explanation. And it works!

The author states in the foreword that he has been a life-long student of epigrams and epigrammatists (Oscar Wilde, C.K. Chesterton, Mark Twain, Shakespeare, Voltaire, etc.) and his scholarly background is evident. It is noteworthy, however, that Dr. Wick has succeeded in developing a style of his own. Each epigram, and there are about 150 in the book, is pure Wickian. No small feat considering that the epigrams are quite varied in content and expression.

For sure, each epigram is to be enjoyed for its own sake. I followed the author's suggestion and read them randomly, a few at a time. The experience was wonderful, not unlike reading New Yorker cartoons. Some you get right away, others you have to ponder over. However, I soon realized that because the epigrams collectively cover a variety of subjects, the book has an additional function; it would be a useful resource to writers and orators. After all, there is nothing like injecting a clever quote into one's text or speech. In this respect, the book is a goldmine. Clearly, the Wick epigrams are witty, but some are outright funny.

All readers will have their favorite epigrams, but for the purpose of this review I have selected a sampling of mine:

"Atheists and dyslexics agree: they have no god in this fight.
Read more ›
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