Arthur Plotnik’s book, Better Than Great: A Plenitudinous Compendium of Wallopingly Fresh Superlatives, aside from being possessed of the best title I have read in a long while, is also a pneumatic (page 180) thesaurus and reference; it’s a redoubtable (meaning “fearsome,” page 181) collection for when “terrific” or “wonderful” just won’t do. A thesaurus presents synonyms and antonyms alphabetically, but Better Than Great presents them in context.
The 15 chapters sort the words by what they might describe. Are you looking for something a little more descriptive of Scarlett Johansson than “beautiful”? Try “Callipygian” (a first-century BC statue of Venus looking down over her shoulder in order to regard her own shapely backside). Are you stumped when “large” or “gargantuan” just doesn’t seem to fit? How about “Godzillian”? A thesaurus can be a dull thing to read, but Arthur Plotnik lends it style. Each chapter starts with a brief description of why you might be looking for a particular word, and then describes how the collection might be used even more effectively. It’s difficult to describe how a thesaurus is entertaining, but the author has managed it. From the sheer number of quality adjectives, I imagine I would find one in this terrific – scratch that – frabjous (page 14) compendium.
From the beginning, Barrie Gauthier sets forward that his new book, The Black Cat Guide to Grammar Through Light Verse, is intended to provide entertainment as well as education. Many of his verses in its pages do bring out a smile. From the [...]
Who was the first Chinese-American woman to fly for the American military? Where did the Portland street names Terwilliger and Lovejoy originate? When did Oregon women gain the right to vote? These answers and more were uncovered by Portland [...]
“Ted Conover has ridden the rails with Hoboes, crossed the border with Mexican immigrants, guarded prisoners in Sing Sing, and inspected meat for the USDA” reads the book’s cover blurb. It’s all about going deep and spending time getting the [...]