Mary Norris has spent more than three decades in The New Yorker’s copy department, maintaining its celebrated high standards. Now she brings her vast experience, good cheer, and finely sharpened pencils to help the rest of us in a boisterous language book as full of life as it is of practical advice.
Between You & Me features Norris’s laugh-out-loud descriptions of some of the most common and vexing problems in spelling, punctuation, and usage comma faults, danglers, “who” vs. “whom,” “that” vs. “which,” compound words, gender-neutral language and her clear explanations of how to handle them. Down-to-earth and always open-minded, she draws on examples from Charles Dickens, Emily Dickinson, Henry James, and the Lord’s Prayer, as well as from The Honeymooners, The Simpsons, David Foster Wallace, and Gillian Flynn. She takes us to see a copy of Noah Webster’s groundbreaking Blue-Back Speller, on a quest to find out who put the hyphen in Moby-Dick, on a pilgrimage to the world’s only pencil-sharpener museum, and inside the hallowed halls of The New Yorker and her work with such celebrated writers as Pauline Kael, Philip Roth, and George Saunders.
Readers and writers will find in Norris neither a scold nor a softie but a wise and witty new friend in love with language and alive to the glories of its use in America, even in the age of autocorrect and spell-check. As Norris writes, “The dictionary is a wonderful thing, but you can’t let it push you around.”
Melissa Mohr - Holy Sh*t
Almost everyone swears, or worries about not swearing, from the two year-old who has just discovered the power of potty mouth to the grandma who wonders why every other word she hears is obscene. Whether they express anger or exhilaration, are meant to insult or to commend, swear words perform a crucial role in language. But swearing is also a uniquely well-suited lens through which to look at history, offering a fascinating record of what people care about on the deepest levels of a culture–what's divine, what's terrifying, and what's taboo. _Holy Sh*t_ tells the story of two kinds of swearing–obscenities and oaths–from ancient Rome and the Bible to today. With humor and insight, Melissa Mohr takes readers on a journey to discover how "swearing" has come to include both testifying with your hand on the Bible and calling someone a *#$&!* when they cut you off on the highway. She explores obscenities in ancient Rome–which were remarkably similar to our own–and unearths the history of religious oaths in the Middle Ages, when swearing (or not swearing) an oath was often a matter of life and death. _Holy Sh*t_ also explains the advancement of civility and corresponding censorship of language in the 18th century, considers the rise of racial slurs after World War II, examines the physiological effects of swearing (increased heart rate and greater pain tolerance), and answers a question that preoccupies the FCC, the US Senate, and anyone who has recently overheard little kids at a playground: are we swearing more now than people did in the past? A gem of lexicography and cultural history, _Holy Sh*t_ is a serious exploration of obscenity–and it also just might expand your repertoire of words to choose from the next time you shut your finger in the car door.
Sterling Johnson - Watch Your F*cking Language
Let the squeamish beware! _Watch Your F*cking Language_ takes a no-holds-barred approach to taboo words and expressions. It shows you how to use them to your advantage–and have fun doing so. Building on the lessons learned in _English as a Second F*cking Language_, this book emphasizes traditional English swears as well as powerful (and hidden) expressions from other cultures and languages. Through numerous examples, it puts the real language of real people into context: FLOYD: I just heard a Dan Quayle speech. It was really f*cking confusing. RUBY: I just got back from a Mongolian clusterf*ck. It was really confusing f*cking. The name of the game is communication, and _Watch Your F*cking Language_ shows readers how to hammer home their messages with confidence and gusto. Among its features: • Numerous examples of proper (and so-called improper) usage • An Idioms section that emphasizes the niceties of swearing • A "Need to Know, "Nice to Know," and "Forget It" system for identifying swear words • A Final F*cking Exam
Susan Maushart - The Winter of Our Disconnect
For any parent who's ever IM-ed their child to the dinner table - or yanked the modem from its socket in a show of primal parental rage - this account of one family's self-imposed exile from the Information Age will leave you ROFLing with recognition. But it will also challenge you to take stock of your own family connections, to create a media ecology that encourages kids - and parents - to thrive. When journalist and commentator Susan Maushart first decided to pull the plug on all electronic media at home, she realised her children would have sooner volunteered to go without food, water or hair products. At ages 14, 15 and 18, her daughters and son didn’t use media. They inhabited media. Just exactly as fish inhabit a pond. Gracefully. Unblinkingly. And utterly without consciousness or curiosity as to how they got there. Susan’s experiment with her family was a major success and she found that having less to communicate with, her family is communicating more. At the simplest level, The Winter of Our Disconnect is the story of how one family survived six months of wandering through the desert, digitally speaking, and the lessons learned about themselves and technology along the way. At the same time, their story is a channel to a wider view - into the impact of new media on the lives of families, into the very heart of the meaning of home.
Lynne Truss - Talk to the Hand
After the success of her bestselling Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Lynne Truss turns her attention to manners, or rather, the lack thereof. With Talk to the Hand, she chronicles the rudeness and lack of manners that permeates society, and the effects it has on us all. Her approach to tackling this menace is to first identify it in all of its different forms, although she's quick to also note that pointing out rudeness usually begets more of the same. Lynne Truss also tries to show what a world would be like if manners were predominant. Talk to the Hand has received mixed reviews with The Independent saying, "Talk to the Hand does occasionally read like a thank-you letter extended ambitiously to the second side of the notepaper. Yet it addresses an important subject with intelligence and humour, and for that we should certainly be grateful."
Bill Bryson - Notes from a Small Island
"After nearly two decades in Britain, Bill Bryson took the decision to move back to the States for a while, to let his kids experience life in another country, to give his wife the chance to shop until 10 p.m. seven nights a week, and, most of all, because he had read 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another, and it was thus clear to him that his people needed him. But before leaving his much- loved home in North Yorkshire, Bryson insisted on taking one last trip around Britain, a sort of valedictory tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home. His aim was to take stock of the nation's public face and private parts( as it were), and to analyze what precisely it was he loved so much about a country that had produced Marmite, a military hero whose dying wish was to be kissed by a fellow named Hardy, place names like Farleigh Wallop, Titsey, Shellow Bowells, people who said 'Mustn't grumble', and so on..." 'Not a book that should be read in public, for fear of emitting loud snorts' The Times
David Lodge - Deaf Sentence
_Being deaf is less an affliction than a sentence..._ Retired Professor of Linguistics Desmond Bates is going deaf. Not suddenly, but gradually and - for him and everyone nearby - confusingly. It's a bother for his wife, Winifred, who has an enviably successful new career and is too busy to be endlessly repeating herself. Roles are reversed when he visits his hearing-impaired father, who won't seek help and resents his son's intrusions. And, finally, there's Alex. Alex is a student Desmond agrees to help after a typical misunderstanding. But her increasingly bizarre and disconcerting requests cannot - unfortunately - be blamed on defective hearing. So much for growing old gracefully...
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Bill Bryson describes himself as a reluctant traveller, but even when he stays at home he can't contain his curiosity about the world around him. _A Short History of Nearly Everything_ is his quest to understand everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization -- how we got from there, being nothing at all, to here, being us. The ultimate eye-opening journey through time and space, revealing the world in a way most of us have never seen it before.
Bill Bryson - At Home
Starred Review. Bryson (A Short History of Everything) takes readers on a tour of his house, a rural English parsonage, and finds it crammed with 10,000 years of fascinating historical bric-a-brac. Each room becomes a starting point for a free-ranging discussion of rarely noticed but foundational aspects of social life. A visit to the kitchen prompts disquisitions on food adulteration and gluttony; a peek into the bedroom reveals nutty sex nostrums and the horrors of premodern surgery; in the study we find rats and locusts; a stop in the scullery illuminates the put-upon lives of servants. Bryson follows his inquisitiveness wherever it goes, from Darwinian evolution to the invention of the lawnmower, while savoring eccentric characters and untoward events (like Queen Elizabeth I's pilfering of a subject's silverware). There are many guilty pleasures, from Bryson's droll prose--"What really turned the Victorians to bathing, however, was the realization that it could be gloriously punishing"--to the many tantalizing glimpses behind closed doors at aristocratic English country houses. In demonstrating how everything we take for granted, from comfortable furniture to smoke-free air, went from unimaginable luxury to humdrum routine, Bryson shows us how odd and improbable our own lives really are. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Henry Beard - X-Treme Latin
SUMMARY: This book is the perfect gift for the discriminating linguist. Unleash your inner gladiator with hundreds of modern putdowns and comebacks -- all with the superiority and anonymity of the ancient tongue. For example, it features classical kiss-offs such as "You want a part of me? Bring it on!: "Visne partem mei capere? Comminus aganus!." Spice up your snowboarding speak -- "Super rad! I'm Stoked!: "Maxime radicitus! Flagro!" Thanks to this little book, you too can tap the awesome power of Latin to dismay the ignorant multitudes. And, best of all, you'll be able to insult and abuse one and all in perfect safety, using a language that everyone respects but practically no one understands. "And have a nice day!": "Et futue te ipsum!"
Janet Evanovich - Two for the Dough
Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is still learning the ropes at her cousin Vinnie’s bail bond office, so when she sets out on the trail of Kenny Mancuso—a suspiciously wealthy, working class Trenton boy who has just shot his best friend—the stakes are higher than ever. That Mancuso is distantly related to vice cop Joe Morelli—who is trying to beat Stephanie to the punch—only makes the hunt more thrilling…. Taking pointers from her bounty hunter pal, Ranger, and using her pistol-packing Granda Mazur as a decoy, Stephanie is soon closing in on her mark. But Morelli and his libido are worthy foes. And a more sinister kind of enemy has made his first move…and his next move might be Stephanie’s last.
Louis Sachar - The Cardturner
When Alton's ageing, blind uncle asks him to attend bridge games with him, he agrees. After all, it's better than a crappy summer job in the local shopping mall, and Alton's mother thinks it might secure their way to a good inheritance sometime in the future. But, like all apparently casual choices in any of Louis Sachar's wonderful books, this choice soon turns out to be a lot more complex than Alton could ever have imagined. As his relationship with his uncle develops, and he meets the very attractive Toni, deeply buried secrets are uncovered and a romance that spans decades is finally brought to a conclusion. Alton's mother is in for a surprise!
Janet Evanovich - One for the Money
THE BOOK THAT STARTED IT ALL... Witty, fresh, and full of surprises, One for the Money catapulted Janet Evanovich and her incomparable heroine Stephanie Plum into crime-writing superstardom. Watch out, world. Here comes Stephanie Plum, a bounty hunter with attitude. She's from the "burg," a blue-collar pocket of Trenton, New Jersey, where cars are American, windows are clean, and dinner is served at six. No exceptions. Stephanie lives five miles from her parents, trying to sever the world's longest umbilical cord. Mom is a meddler, and eccentric Grandma Mazur is a few cans short of a case. Out of work, Stephanie blackmails her bail bondsman cousin, Vinnie, into giving her a try as an "agent." She knows zilch about the job, but she figures her new pal, fearless bounty hunter Ranger, can teach her whatever it takes. Her first assignment: nail Joe Morelli, a former cop on the run from a murder charge. He's also the irresistible jerk who took Stephanie's virginity and wrote the details on the bathroom wall of Mario's Sub Shop...and there's still powerful chemistry between the two. But chasing Joe could prove very dangerous -- while on the case, she encounters Benito Ramirez, a heavyweight boxer known for his brutality to women. His terrifying obsession with Stephanie complicates her manhunt, and it just might lead to murder. Meet Stephanie Plum in this thrilling, laugh-out-loud outing that made Janet Evanovich a household name.
Josh Kilmer-Purcell - I Am Not Myself These Days
I Am Not Myself These Days follows a glittering journey through Manhattan's dark underbelly – a shocking and surreal world where alter egos reign and subsist (barely) on dark wit and chemicals…a tragic romantic comedy where one begins by rooting for the survival of the relationship and ends by hoping someone simply survives. Kilmer-Purcell is a terrifically gifted new literary voice who straddles the divide between absurdity and normalcy, and stitches them together with surprising humor and lonely poignancy. As Booklist raved „as tart and funny as a Noel Coward play, for Kilmer-Purcell is especially good at dialogue, and, as in Coward's best plays, under the comedy lies the sad truth that even at our best, we are all weak, fallible fools. Again and again in this rich, adventure-filled book, Kilmer-Purcell illustrates the truth of Blake's proverb, 'The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.'”
Patrick Smith - Cockpit Confidential
A wry, thoughtful, and at times provocative look into the confounding world of commercial air travel, this is the ideal take-along for frequent flyers, nervous passengers, world travelers, and anybody yearning for an enlightened, behind-the-scenes look at the strange and misunderstood business of commercial aviation. More than just a book about flying, its subject is everything and everything about the grand theater of air travel, from airport architecture to terrorism to the colors and cultures of the world’s airlines. Patrick Smith has been called the thinking man’s pilot. For the better part of a decade, his _Ask the Pilot_ column at Salon.com was a singular and remarkable sensation: an aviation column, for heaven’s sake, that could offer up trenchant analysis of an air disaster one day, then the next day stride fearlessly into politics, culture, or even rock music, and somehow tie it all together. _Cockpit Confidential_ features the best of that material, refreshed and adapted into a seven-chapter volume of FAQs, essays and personal memoir. Whether it’s the nuts and bolts of cockpit operation or a hilarious critique of airline logos and color schemes, _Cockpit Confidential_ is smart, funny, and brimming with useful information. • How planes fly, and a revealing look at the men and women who fly them • Straight talk on turbulence, pilot training, and safety • The real story on congestion, delays, and the dysfunction of the modern airport • The myths and misconceptions of cabin air and cockpit automation • Terrorism in perspective and a candid look at security • Airfares, seating woes, and the pitfalls of airline customer service • The colors and cultures of the airlines we love to hate • The yin and yang of global travel • Gratuitous references to 80s-era indie rock bands
Patrick Smith - Ask the Pilot
Though we routinely take to the air, for many of us flying remains a mystery. Few of us understand the how and why of jetting from New York to London in six hours. How does a plane stay in the air? Can turbulence bring it down? What is windshear? How good are the security checks? Patrick Smith, an airline pilot and author of Salon.com's popular column, "Ask the Pilot," unravels the secrets and tells you all there is to know about the strange and fascinating world of commercial flight. He offers: • A nuts and bolts explanation of how planes fly • Insights into safety and security • Straight talk about turbulence, air traffic control, windshear, and crashes • The history, color, and controversy of the world's airlines • The awe and oddity of being a pilot • The poetry and drama of airplanes, airports, and traveling abroad In a series of frank, often funny explanations and essays, Smith speaks eloquently to our fears and curiosities, incorporating anecdotes, memoir, and a life's passion for flight. He tackles our toughest concerns, debunks conspiracy theories and myths, and in a rarely heard voice dares to return a dash of romance and glamour to air travel.
Jess Walter - The Financial Lives of the Poets
Meet Matt Prior. He's about to lose his business, his wife, his house, and maybe his sanity too. Financial journalist Matthew Prior quit his job to set up a website which couldn't fail. Only now he's woken up to the biggest crisis since the Great Crash, and it has. He's got six days to save his house. It's hard to focus when you think your wife's having an online affair with her childhood sweetheart, but there are the children to think about... So when he gets hold of some high-grade dope and finds he can sell a piece on at a profit, he begins to think this might be his salvation. A fabulously funny, heartfelt novel about how we can skate close to the edge of ruin - and pull back.
Stephen Fry - Moab is My Washpot
A number one bestseller in Britain that topped the lists there for months, Stephen Fry's astonishingly frank, funny, wise memoir is the book that his fans everywhere have been waiting for. Since his PBS television debut in the Blackadder series, the American profile of this multitalented writer, actor and comedian has grown steadily, especially in the wake of his title role in the film Wilde, which earned him a Golden Globe nomination, and his supporting role in A Civil Action. Fry has already given readers a taste of his tumultuous adolescence in his autobiographical first novel, The Liar, and now he reveals the equally tumultuous life that inspired it. Sent to boarding school at the age of seven, he survived beatings, misery, love affairs, carnal violation, expulsion, attempted suicide, criminal conviction and imprisonment to emerge, at the age of eighteen, ready to start over in a world in which he had always felt a stranger. One of very few Cambridge University graduates to have been imprisoned prior to his freshman year, Fry is a brilliantly idiosyncratic character who continues to attract controversy, empathy and real devotion. This extraordinary and affecting book has "a tragic grandeur that lifts it to classic status," raved the Financial Times in one of the many ecstatic British reviews. Stephen Fry's autobiography, in turns funny, shocking, sad, bruisingly frank and always compulsively readable, could well become a classic gay coming-of-age memoir.
Wendy Northcutt - The Darwin Awards 3.
Evolution takes another giant leap forward with this brand new collection of magnificent misadventures. _The Darwin Awards_ 3 honours those selfless individuals who continue to improve our gene pool by removing themselves in staggeringly stupid ways: - the parachute instructor who forgot to strap on his own parachute - the commuter who put his ear against the tracks to listen for the arrival of his train - the sheriff who inadvertently shot himself... twice With over 100 all-new Award winners, Honourable Mentions and Personal Accounts, this new compendium of hilariously macabre mishaps proves once again that when it comes to stupidity, no species does it better.