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richardderus

Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud

The Disheveled Dictionary: A Curious Caper Through Our Sumptuous Lexicon - Karen Elizabeth Gordon Rating: 3.75* of five (rounded up for star purposes)The Book Report: The book description says:"What on earth does lagniappe mean? A sluggard who lies around till noon? A she-wolf of Anapurna? A car that demands heavy pampering?" In fact, none of the above. But one can find this Creole French word delectably defined in THE DISHEVELED DICTIONARY, which does for vocabulary what Gordon's cult classic THE WELL-TEMPERED SENTENCE did for punctuation and THE TRANSITIVE VAMPIRE did for grammar. THE DISHEVELED DICTIONARY takes a voluptuary's approach to language, offering a lavish feast of words and their multiple uses. Favorite characters from Gordon's earlier books appear in cameo, including Yolanta, Jonquil Mapp, cowboys with lingerie, and assorted royal riffraff. With her trademark cache of illustrations and flamboyantly gothic examples, Gordon takes readers on a hedonist's tour of the world of words, where they can check into the Last Judgment Pinball Machine Motel, slip into susurrant silk pajamas at Cafe Frangipane, or plunge into scenes from such literary works as Torpor in the Swing,The Wretch of Lugubria, and Gossamer and the Green Light. Laced with erudite insights and eccentric wit, THE DISHEVELED DICTIONARY is about the music of speech and the sound and sensuality of language, celebrating not only the obsure but also our most beloved and basic words. My Review: I read this because Stephen-from-Ohio read it, so I could prove the point that I do NOT hate every book he loves. I was right, I don't hate this book, not at all. I like Gordon's funny, illustrative story snippets and I like the wide net she casts to bring us cool words. In fact, two of my all-time top-ten fave-rave words appear, with amusante little vignettes, on the same page: louche (disreputable, shady, dubious) and lubricious (sexually aroused or obsessed).The wonderful thing about such books, the browser's dictionaries, is the delight they afford the wordnik. I am unquestionably an enthusiastic wordnik, a complete grinning fool when it comes to English's unrepentant pillaging of other languages' treasuries of words for its own enrichment. I adore that facet of the Anglophone mindset that says, “ooo shiny little trinket gimme gimme” and adds thereby a shade of meaning to its already immense, lustrous, gorgeously hued pile of drachenfutter that is the vocabulary you and I can draw on. “Start” isn't the same as “commence” which isn't exactly “begin,” though they're all in the same family. Shades of meaning make language so much more fun to use and to examine. I love the little books that help me do this.See? See?! I liked a book you did, Stephen-from-Ohio! And liked it a lot! Thanks for showing it to me.