Thursday, October 7, 2010

Phil Cousineau's Creative Fires Stoke Out in a New Direction--Professional Wordcatcher

Several months ago, no, I think it was a year ago, an ex-coworker asked me if any books had come out similar to I Never Metaphor I Didn't Like, an impulse-table like collection for language buffs. Over the years, I've been privy to many a surprise seller, such as Richard Lederer's Anguished English, and Lynn Truss's Eats Shoots and Leaves (and yes, I had to double-check whether there were commas, and if so, whether they were located--there weren't).

Well, I've got one. Phil Cousineau, who last year visited Boswell for Stoking the Creative Fires, has surprised me with something very different, a collection of language mini-essays called Wordcatcher: an Odyssey into the World of Weird and Wonderful Words.

You can into Wordcatcher at leisure, browsing for an entry that catches your eye. Perhaps you've always wondered if there is a word to describe hearing a song lyric incorrectly, inadvertently giving it a new meaning. That would be "mondegreen" and could have been used often with me as I was growing up. Or staying on this musical run, you might be pleased to know that there is a word to describe singing while crying. It's a French word, "chantepleure" and there's no reason why we shouldn't make this our own.

Wordcatcher isn't simply a entries on words you've never heard of and have no plans to schedule into your vocabular. Cousineau has plenty of interesting things to say about words from "bummer" to "stigma" to "zombification."

My problem is that I read these kinds of books incorrectly. I do not browse--I read them from cover to cover, as if they were a novel. I enjoy making my way through reference books in this manner, knowing I will not skip over a particularly good entry. Unfortunately, I will never finish this book in time for our event at Boswell on Friday, October 29th, at 7 PM at this rate, particularly since I usually read something with a bit of narrative at the same time.

We've got the book on our author gondola, and in the language section, but I move a small stack to our impulse table. Based on some of the other language book sales I've seen in the past, this could do pretty well.

And before I go, a little more reference work. What's with this Viva Editions. I knew it was an imprint of the renowned indie Cleis Press, but wasn't really sure where to go with that. Fortunately I found a Publishers Weekly article that put it in perspective. Looking to aquire in different areas, the Cleis name seemed to be too closely associated with their strong presence in sex positivity (that's a catchy turn of phrase, isn't it?)

That said, there's a decent collection of sexy words in Wordcatcher. Up for any canoodling?

No comments: