28 April 2011
Book Review: The Pun Also Rises
Author: John Pollack
Publisher/Year: Gotham Books / 2011
Source/Format: TLC Book Tours / Print
Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid
The idea of linguistic history titillates me intellectually, but I must admit to not having a lot of luck with it in practice. My linguistics courses in general while in college were universally boring. But deep down inside, I knew that linguistics could be absolutely fascinating if put in the right hands. This book definitely proves that. A historical and cultural look at the role of puns, The Pun Also Rises informed, entertained, and challenged me.
First, the challenging part. I have always thought - despite popular belief - that puns were a mark of genius. While some puns are rather ridiculous and easily understood, many are intellectually complex and require a higher intellect to grok. Reading this book validated that thought, and not only did I definitely not understand some of the puns used, but I am pretty sure there were puns I didn't even recognize as puns. I like this for some reason.
Pollack clearly loves language. I say clearly because not only does he directly state that he loves language, but the way the book is written demonstrates a conscious manipulation of word usage and sentence structure. In other words, I enjoyed his style. He maintains a humorous, informative, intellectual, and witty tone throughout - a style I think of as a "academic chic". I love that perfect balance between geek and cool in writing.
I definitely recommend picking this one up if you are interested in linguistics, like some funny in your books, or like a cultural history type of read.
The publisher is offering one copy of the book to one of my readers, so if you are interested, leave me a comment with your email address! US and Canada only.
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Check out the other reviews on the TLC Book Tour!
Question: What's the best pun you've ever heard?