Life takes action

Through the serendipity of the web, I somehow came across a blog called 37 Days. Asheville, North Carolina writer Patti Digh asked the question, “What would I be doing today if I only had 37 days to live?” after her stepfather was diagnosed with lung...

Love is a 4-letter word

Has anyone read Four Letter Word: Original Love Letters (edited by Joshua Knelman and Rosalind Porter)? Although one reviewer said it “unleashes the romantic in all of us,” I didn’t find it that way at all. Confession: I am a hopeless romantic....

More odd book titles

This is such a great contest: The Diagram Prize’s Oddest Book Title of the Year. Its 2009 winner is The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-miligram Containers of Fromage Frais. I’m sure you are wondering, how could that possibly have beat out Baboon...

War on weasel words

The quest to rid employee communications of buzzwords and management-speak never ends, so it’s always encouraging to find support. Of course, it’s unlikely those who speak in “methodologies” and “strategic imperatives” will read...

Thanks, Studs

I have author/historian/actor/broadcaster Studs Terkel to thank for a shining moment of glory. Studs (real name Louis) died on Friday at the age of 96. During a game of Trivial Pursuit, my opponent practically rubbed his hands with glee at the question he was going to...

Reaching for a word II

I’ve written before about the delightful column in The Atlantic where Barbara Wallraff posts reader requests (and ideas) for words that don’t exist but should. I didn’t realize that she also has a book called Word Fugitives until my husband, knowing...

Have you heard of ‘tuckerized’?

Astrologers who find new stars get their discoveries named after them; so do researchers identifying new diseases. Did you know that there is at least one writer who has been similarly recognized, although for a practice rather than a discovery? I had never heard the...

Prize-winning odd titles

This spring, I posted about the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year. I recently found out that The Bookseller has crowned the Diagram of Diagrams, bestowing the title of Oddest Book Title among all the winners of the past 30 years. You may be surprised to...

I [heart] my local library

The library in my town has been there for me for many years. When my children were small, we joined the reading program every summer, and we were frequent borrowers of books and occasionally toys throughout the year. It’s the first place I turn when I hear of a...