Clackamas's Reviews > Verbatim: From the bawdy to the sublime, the best writing on language for word lovers, grammar mavens, and armchair linguists

Verbatim by Erin McKean
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Oct 15, 09

bookshelves: 2009, reference
Read in October, 2009

Someday, you should visit my bathroom. It's full (well not FULL, of course, since there has to be room left for normal bathroom activities) of books that are easy and fun to read in small bites. This one definitely will be housed there.

Verbatim was entertaining. It is a collection of articles and essays written by different people about aspects of the english language. As with any collection, some were better than others. Overall though, it was quite good. Most people who like reading/writing/words will enjoy it.

Wash your hands.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Ellis (new)

Ellis Hey, miss linguist, I read a good book on the relationship of linguistics and politics. If your interested it was called Don't be an Elephant.... I thought it was pretty interesting. It's amazing what power lies in these words of ours.


Clackamas Are you sure it wasn't Don't Think of an Elephant by George Lakoff? I read that one and liked it pretty well. If I recall correctly it was about how campaigns are won or lost by the person who is better able to control the language of the main issues. Reframing ideas in the way that makes you looks best and getting other people to swallow it is all about picking the right words. That book made me realize that a politician's speechwriter probably has a harder job than the politician.


message 3: by Ellis (new)

Ellis Don't be an Elephant? Who said that....? That's funny. You've just produced a very nice summary of the book while I managed to turn it into a weight-loss self-help item.


Clackamas Oh my gosh... that didn't even cross my mind when I read your title. Can you imagine a weight loss book called Don't be an Elephant? I'd have to buy several copies just to have it around for kicks. You know, leave one sitting on a table at the ice cream shop and see how offended people get when they see it. Or, leave on in the waiting room at the diet place to see how many women run away crying... the fun that could be have if someone only had the audacity...


message 5: by Ellis (new)

Ellis You asked me before about what it is that I do, and while this isn't the answer that I have for that question, I can tell you that some of my research deals with obesity. If I fail as a scientist then I may just take the road more traveled and write all sorts of "science" books based on my own ideas rather than tried and true data. If/When I do write my breakthough work, Don't be an Elephant, I'll be sure to send you a stack of them for your fun and entertainment. You'll have to promise to send back video footage of peoples responses to the book. (We'll use the video on the 2:AM infomercial.) Expect to see the book in 2 years. Tact and common sense aren't my strong points, and by that time I will have completely failed in science and will be bitter enough to be willing to cash in by any means possible.


Clackamas I've added it to my to-read list and am eagerly awaiting it's publication, camcorder in hand.


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