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Etymology

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  1. 5.5 hrs • 11/1/2014 • Unabridged

    The Elements of Eloquence highlights the importance of style in an age unhealthily obsessed with the power of substance. From classic poetry to pop lyrics, Charles Dickens to Dolly Parton, and even Jesus to James Bond, Mark Forsyth explains the secrets that make a phrase—such as “O Captain! my Captain!” or “To be, or not to be”—memorable. In his inimitably entertaining and wonderfully witty style, Forsyth takes apart famous phrases and shows how you too can write like Shakespeare or quip like Oscar Wilde. Whether you’re aiming to achieve literary immortality or just hoping to deliver the perfect one-liner, The Elements of Eloquence proves that you don’t need to have anything important to say—you simply need to say it well.

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    The Elements of Eloquence

    5.5 hrs • 11/1/14 • Unabridged
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  2. 7.0 hrs • 4/1/2014 • Unabridged

    Do you know … why a mortgage is literally a death pledge? why guns have girls’ names? why salt is related to soldier? You’re about to find out. The Etymologicon e-tə-‘mä-lä-ji-kän is: Witty wi-tē: Full of clever humor Erudite er-ə-ˌdīt: Showing knowledge Ribald ri-bəld: Crude, offensive The Etymologicon is a completely unauthorized guide to the strange underpinnings of the English language. It explains how you get from “gruntled” to “disgruntled”; why you are absolutely right to believe that your meager salary barely covers “money for salt”; how the biggest chain of coffee shops in the world (hint: Seattle) connects to whaling in Nantucket; and what precisely the Rolling Stones have to do with gardening.

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    The Etymologicon

    7.0 hrs • 4/1/14 • Unabridged
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  3. 7.0 hrs • 12/20/2012 • Unabridged

    It first surfaced in the gripes of GIs during World War II and was captured early on by the typewriter of a young Norman Mailer. Within a generation it had become a basic notion of our everyday moral life, replacing older reproaches like lout and heel with a single inclusive category—a staple of country outlaw songs, Neil Simon plays, and Woody Allen movies. Feminists made it their stock rebuke for male insensitivity, the est movement used it for those who didn’t “get it,” and Dirty Harry applied it evenhandedly to both his officious superiors and the punks he manhandled. The asshole has become a focus of collective fascination for us, just as the phony was for Holden Caulfield and the cad was for Anthony Trollope. From Donald Trump to Ann Coulter, from Mel Gibson to Anthony Weiner, from the reality TV prima donnas to the internet trolls and flamers, assholism has become the characteristic form of modern incivility, which implicitly expresses our deepest values about class, relationships, authenticity, and fairness. We have conflicting attitudes about the A-word—when a presidential candidate unwittingly uttered it on a live mic in 2000, it confirmed to some that he was a man of the people and to others that he was a boor. But considering how much the word does for us, and to us, it hasn’t gotten nearly the attention it deserves—at least until now.

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    Ascent of the A-Word

    7.0 hrs • 12/20/12 • Unabridged
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  4. 2.8 hrs • 6/1/2012 • Unabridged

    This book builds vocabulary by presenting the fascinating histories behind those words we need for more effective communication and comprehension. Focusing on a core of one hundred words and their background stories, the author links these words with hundreds of synonyms and antonyms. Greek and Latin word parts introduce additional words, and informative and amusing exercises reinforce the vocabulary entries. 

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