Monday, August 11, 2008


Late-Summer Reading

Okay, so the summer is idling away, rolling to that dreaded Labor Day, the unofficial beginning of Fall. Still, there's yet time to get in some reading -- all recently published works by friends and acquaintances of the host of Ragged Thots (thereby pressuring said host into getting his book ideas underway).

1) With the conventions just a few weeks away, Michael Cohen's recently released work on campaign speechmaking, Live From The Campaign Trail is ideal for the political season. Most books of this nature focus on speeches made while either taking office -- or in office (that is, of course, not true for non-officeholders such as Martin Luther King). Michael though takes readers on an historical tour of campaign rhetoric and its effectiveness (or, the lack thereof). Cohen is pretty much a partisan Democrat, which actually makes his take on speeches by candidates on the right both interesting and occasionally amusing (both intentionally and not so). Regardless, he does his homework and style makes for a good, smooth read.

2) A much lighter work can be found from my New York Post colleague and friend, Max Gross. He has his first book,
From Schlub to Stud, now in stores. It can be ordered at Amazon here. The book came out of a Post article inspired by the Judd Appatow/Seth Rogen farce, "Knocked Up." An interview with Max where he talks about what schlubbiness means to him can be found here. Max's musings on everything schlubby can be found here. Publisher's Weekly has some strong praise here. Oh, and for those of you in New York, he will be signing books at Barnes & Noble Tuesday evening.

3) Hallie Leighton is a fellow St. John's College alum (though the lovely Ms. Leighton is several years younger than yours truly). For a second time, she and her father Jan plunge into the world of rare words, with the aptly-titled Rare Words II! The topic should entertain wordsmiths and fans of wordplay everywhere -- of which anyone who reads Ragged Thots should be counted (well "tolerant" of wordplay anyway)!

The Leightons ' technique is to use the power of rhyme to help readers recall new and challenging words. The results are both pithy and witty.

A few examples below can be perused.
Who knows -- one day, they may well be used!

1) fatidic (pronounced fuh-TID-ik)
n. pertaining to prophecy; prophetic.

A critic
of the fatidic
says “Get off it!”
to the prophet.
2) precant (pronounced PREK-unt)
n. a person who prays.

To preserve his soul,
the atheist in the foxhole
will become a precant
within a second.
3) gravid (GRAV-id)
n. pregnant.

pavid (PAV-id)
n. fearful; frightened; timid.

Rosemary, gravid
became somewhat pavid
when she found out that maybe
she bore Lucifer’s baby.
4) pudency (pronounced PYOO-den-see)
n. modesty.

is what rude men see
as a barrier
if they don’t want to marry her.
5) pococurante (pronounced po-ko-koo-RAN-tee)
n. an indifferent, nonchalant person. adj. indifferent and unconcerned.

You can up the ante,
but the pococurante
still doesn’t care.
Now that’s laissez-faire.

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