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60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
There's a lot of material here that you won't find in, say, Bartlett's Familiar Quotations. And some of it is surprising, some of it is delightful, a lot is funny, and some of it useful for cribbing. (Take the structure of an insult aimed at x, rearrange a word or two, and aim it at y.) For example, Mark Twain is quoted on the cover as saying, "Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress, but I repeat myself." (Incidentally this gem is not in Bartlett's, at least not in the sixteenth edition, which I have.) Teachers, for example, can then say, "Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were an administrator, but I repeat myself." For those of you in the business world, just plug in "CEO," etc.
Also not found in Bartlett's (alas there's a lot unavoidably not found in Bartlett's, but that's another review), is this on critics from Marilyn Monroe: "I've always felt those articles somehow reveal more about the writers than they do about me." Dumb blonde?--troubled, but not dumb.
Compiler Colin Jarman organizes the verbal swordplay into chapters by category, beginning with "Critics and Criticism" in chapter one, followed by "The Creative Arts"...through literature, drama, film, music...religion, etc., ending with "Insults, Retorts, and Self-Criticism" in which the quoted get to insult themselves, e.g., "I'm as pure as the driven slush" -Tallulah Bankhead. There's an Index by name referencing both the speaker and the target.
The quality of the insults and ironic misspeakings is very high. I read this through in one setting some years ago, compulsively, and had many a chuckle and some outright belly laughs, and then I read it again a couple of years later and laughed anew. Looking through it once again, I have to say, there was a lot I underappreciated.
Bottom line: worth both the candle and the plastic.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
There are some amusing and chuckle-able quotes in this book, but overall I was hoping for something with more "bite" to it. There are only a few quotes here with practical application, something you could throw out at a moment's notice for a retort. The self-criticism section is probably the best here, and the most memorable quotes are the old film divas' classic one-liners.
The organization by subject is very handy, but overall I was fairly disappointed. Alas.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Editor Colin Jarman has compiled thousands of entertaining insults in "The Guinness Book of Poisonous Quotes"' 337 pages. The pithy put-downs are arranged by subject into sixteen chapters. Among the book's most entertaining chapters are those on Literature, Film, The Media, and Politics. Many chapters include gloriously mean-spirited quotes directed at particular individuals as well as venomous comments on the subject in general. "Poisonous Quotes" is an equal opportunity offender. Persons of all beliefs, tastes, and political persuasions are skewered indiscriminately. There is a very useful index in the back of the book where quotes can be located by the name of the person quoted or the person disparaged. This little volume makes a nice gift for yourself or your favorite curmudgeon.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2001
350 pages of great quotes, many, many of them are new to me - unlike other quote books that seem to recycle the same old boring flat quotes.
This book is a breath of fresh air and is so wickedly satisfying.
Many of the quotes can be used on yur friends or enemies ... great fun all round. It's a must for a gift book ...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
As a fellow quote book author, this book caught me completely by surprise. At first I did not like the style of the book, but it quickly started to grow on me. I found a few hilarious, back-stabbing quotes...then a few more....and then I was hooked. It was definitely not the traditional quote book, and I would suggest looking at the "search inside" function to make sure it is what you are looking for, but you will probably like this book after you get used to the style.

Have Fun!

Todd Hagopian
President/CEO
Hagopian Institute
Author of the popular "Quote Junkie" book sereies and the brand new "Idiom Junkie" series
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on November 6, 2007
I bought this book to have something to read while waiting in line or sitting in the doctor's waiting room. The idea was that it was something I could just pick up and put down quickly. It may not have been such a good idea though because I end up laughing out loud. Then I seem to have a ready come back for the next person I talk to and sometimes that is not such a good idea. Anyway I have enjoyed this book very much and will keep it close for when I need a snappy come back.
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on February 7, 2012
Great to investigate views and abstract use of words. Very helpful and very recommended to those who like to write and read spicy things.
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on October 30, 2011
Witty quotes from some noted raconteurs. Great for Master of Ceremony to lighten the atmosphere, or wryly state a position on a subject.
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on December 29, 2013
This book is so much fun I am buying
More copies for my friends and they will
Do the same!
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on December 21, 2014
Great mix of Historical and hysterical. Quick wit and repartee ...
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