Alphabet Juice

Roy Blount Jr. 
A Sarah Critchton Book; Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009

Roy Blount Jr. – humorist, intellectual, journalist, and author  – grew up in the Atlanta suburb of Decatur, and over the past four and a half decades has brought his incisive wit and Southern sensibility to more than 20 books. Writings aside, he is known to National Public Radio audiences for his guest spots on the venerable A Prairie Home Companion and the light-hearted quiz show Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me.

The subtitle of Alphabet Juice mimics the ver-r-r-ry long counterparts for books from centuries past: The Energies, Gists, and Spirits of Letters, Words, and Combinations Thereof; their Roots, Bones, Innards, Piths, Pips, and Secret Parts, Tinctures, Tonics, and Essences; With Examples of Their Usage Foul and Savory. ‘Nuff said? Almost but not really, as you’ll realize if you buy this book and keep it by your bedside.

The format is A-to-Z (no surprise), running from aa, a Hawaiian word for lava) to zyzzyva, a class of weevils. Blount’s musings on words or phrases or linguistic curiosities of all sorts range in length from four pages for arbitrary to a mere six words for death, coolest euphemism for: “Copping that eternal nod.” — Louis Jordan.*

*See also Don’t Kill Death! in the Mystifiers menu of WTF?

One Response to Alphabet Juice

  • Bud from Denver says:

    Sounds like a fun book. I’ve never read anything by Roy Blount, but have heard him on the radio and think he’s very funny. Does anyone know of other books on words as entertaining as this one sounds?

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