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Alphabetter Juice: or, The Joy of Text [Format Kindle]

Roy Blount Jr.

Prix éditeur - format imprimé : EUR 14,54
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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

Fresh-squeezed Lexicology, with Twists

No man of letters savors the ABC's, or serves them up, like language-loving humorist Roy Blount Jr. His glossary, from ad hominy to zizz, is hearty, full bodied, and out to please discriminating palates coarse and fine. In 2008, he celebrated the gists, tangs, and energies of letters and their combinations in Alphabet Juice, to wide acclaim. Now, Alphabetter Juice. Which is better.

This book is for anyone—novice wordsmith, sensuous reader, or career grammarian—who loves to get physical with words. What is the universal sign of disgust, ew, doing in beautiful and cutie? Why is toadless, but not frogless, in the Oxford English Dictionary? How can the U. S. Supreme Court find relevance in gollywoddles? Might there be scientific evidence for the sonicky value of hunch? And why would someone not bother to spell correctly the very word he is trying to define on Urbandictionary.com?

Digging into how locutions evolve, and work, or fail, Blount draws upon everything from The Tempest to The Wire. He takes us to Iceland, for salmon-watching with a "girl gillie," and to Georgian England, where a distinguished etymologist bites off more of a "giantess" than he can chew. Jimmy Stewart appears, in connection with kludge and the bombing of Switzerland. Litigation over supercalifragilisticexpialidocious leads to a vintage werewolf movie; news of possum-tossing, to metanarrative.

As Michael Dirda wrote in The Washington Post Book World, "The immensely likeable Blount clearly possesses what was called in the Italian Renaissance ‘sprezzatura,' that rare and enviable ability to do even the most difficult things without breaking a sweat." Alphabetter Juice is brimming with sprezzatura. Have a taste.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 856 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 305 pages
  • Editeur : Sarah Crichton Books (10 mai 2011)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B004EPYW8I
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 étoiles sur 5  17 commentaires
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Tangy and tasty, but on the pulpy side 17 août 2011
Par Jean E. Pouliot - Publié sur Amazon.com
Lovers of word origins are sure to flock to Roy Blount Jr.'s "Alphabetter Juice" for a reinjection of Blount's trademark folksy erudition. The book is an alphabetical listing of essays on the origins and uses of words and phrases (flies, gillie, institutional memory, etc.) spiced with frequent Blount tangents. It's fascinating reading, mostly at the edge of comprehensibility. Blount seems hell bent on pounding into the reader's head his favorite concept of "sonicky" words. Sonicky words (unlike the closely-related onomatopoeia) are those whose pronunciation bears some resemblance to the meaning of the word. Take "push" and "pull." Push starts out with a plosive "P" sound that mimics the instant of propulsion, while the soft, lingering "sh" follows the poor devil's flight into the void. Pull, on the other hand, while starting with the same instant of the action's beginning, uses the long "l" sound to draws the word to an indefinite end. I found the concept of sonicky words interesting, though I'm not convinced that words are created this way. Wouldn't various languages have sonickiness that draws similar-sounding words for the same concept? Yet they don't. Maybe sonicky words are sonicky because we tend to pronounce them according the their meaning? Like the unconsciously long draw of "puuuuulllllll",

Which brings me to others reason for the lost star.

For all the wonderful material in the book (and there is a ton of it!) Blount sometimes can't seem to get out of his own head. More than a few of the entries were so loaded with clever wordplay and inscrutable allusions as to be incomprehensible. (What is it with his obsession with Frisian?) It's almost as though Blount was writing an ode to his own braininess, forgetting to let the reader in on the story as well. And his etymologies tended to be hard to follow, and hence unconvincing.

Best about the book were Blount's forays into personal anecdote. He is clearly a well-read and smart fellow. His asides - whether on Chesterton's verse, or salmon fishing in Iceland with a local girl, or pig-tossing in Mississippi - were as entertaining and lucid as parts of the rest of the book were not.

Lots of carping about a 4-star book, no? But there you have it. Roy Blount is a brilliant writer whose writing occasionally chases its own tail into the antechamber of oblivion. Squeeze as much out of "Alphabetter Juice" as you can, but don't worry if you run into some dark, soft spots.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Folksy and funny 28 septembre 2012
Par K.M. Weiland, Author of Historical and Speculative Fiction - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
I wasn't sure what I was getting in this book. Mostly, I bought it just because it was a buck fifty and pushed me over the Free Super Shipper Savings on Amazon. An annotated dictionary about the history of words. As a word nut, that sounded attractive. But it could very easily have ended being super tedious.

Not so. Not so at all. This book is a charmer from start to finish. Folksy, funny, self-indulgent in all the best ways, and downright educative. It's not juicy, so much as chewy - in a salty, lip-smacking, can't-eat-just-one sort of way.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Educational and Entertaining 17 août 2011
Par P. Miller - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
This title grabbed my eye on the new books shelf at the local public library, and I've laughed aloud more in the past two days reading it than in the past several months combined. It is both educational and entertaining. I'm ordering a copy as birthday gift for my son, who is an English major and has of late taken to referring to himself as "a scholar." It's the ideal busy thinking man's bathroom book, filled with etymologies and definitions that are brief, informative, and humorous.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A wonderful excursion into a writer's multi-faceted mind 27 décembre 2011
Par rlweaverii - Publié sur Amazon.com
Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

I have just begun reading-- I am only in the "As" -- but I have already fallen in love with this book. Blount is not only a terrific writer, but he has a sophisticated, intelligent, knowledgeable sense of humor. This is not all humor for humor's sake, it just seems so natural and conversational -- designed specifically for the educated audience of readers.

Having just reviewed Neil Pasricha's The Book of (Even More) Awesome (I enjoyed Pasricha's book!), I thought Blount's description of the word "awesome" was apt: "Sadly diminished by overuse. Time magazine should not be reduced to describing an Olympic boxer's victories as `jaw-droppingly awesome" (p. 24).

In the "Introduction," Blount writes, "I'm a writer. I like to handle words and pass them on by hand. The letters of the alphabet are my stuff" (p. 10). Throughout the book, he reinforces this statement, not just in the words he chooses to illustrate, but in all the descriptions, examples, quotations, and experiences he relates. If you want to be introduced to the writer's world, this book would be a great choice, for when you are a writer and when you are immersed in the universe of words and all the ancillaries that make up that word universe, books like this one naturally evolve out of that writer's multi-faceted mind. How great it is to see that mind at work!

I didn't read Blount's Alphabet Juice (his previous book similar to this one) - New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008 - but you can bet that I will look it up and acquire it. This book -- beautifully constructed and expertly written -- is an impressive (I was just about to use the word "awesome"!) sales tool for his first of these two books.

What a wonderful, thoroughly erudite, and compellingly entertaining sense of humor Blount has! He is a joy to read, and what an amusing and engaging way to spend several hours!

I took the author's direction (on page 64) and Googled "Video Stroboscopy of the Vocal Cords," and I was thoroughly enthralled with two separate short YouTube presentations. I had never seen the vocal cords in action, and this was a terrific introduction. That is just one of myriad possibilities that readers can take --- short excursions into a vast other space.

His description of the fly and his wife's fine and straight hair was charming (p. 75). There is so much in this book.

The range of sources Blount uses -- besides being overwhelming in their depth and breadth -- makes one realize the depth and breadth of his or her own resources. How meager, how un-informed, and how limited, deficient, and pitiful is the information we have available to us. You just get this feeling -- despite all the education, experiences, traveling, books and magazines read -- that we are all deficient (underfed and undernourished) in so many different ways. Blount leaves you breathless!

Even Blount's nostalgia trips are delightful: "Well, going back to my boyhood again . . ." (p. 75). As a writer, I can easily see how the words he chooses to talk about, triggered many different memories. I would wager that he had difficulty at various points in putting this book together, deciding which of his nostalgia trips to use, and it is guessed, too, that this book would have (could have?) been much longer had Blount not used careful discretion in selecting among his many experiences --- even what authors and quotations to include. Words and their descriptions are stacked like pancakes, and the juice is Blount's concoction of syrup dripping down the sides of this tall pile.

What a wonderful excursion into a writer's multi-faceted mind --- all laced with a delicious sense of humor!
1 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 not as funny as we expected 11 janvier 2013
Par lakenville - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
He is so funny on the radio, we were disappointed in the book - it's te 2nd of a series, which we didn't realize, but I am not tempted to get the first.
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