How could you possibly resist a book called Alphabet Juice: The Energies, Gists, and Spirits of Letters, Words, and Combinations Thereof; Their Roots, Bones, Innards, Piths, Pips, and Secret Parts, Tinctures, Tonics, and Essences; With Examples of Their Usage Foul and Savory? Well, the answer is you can’t.
This book by Roy Blount, Jr., is tops on MRP’s reading list right now. It’s the kind of work for which the word “romp”–as in “a delightful romp through the English language”– was invented:
Alphabet juice. The quirky but venerable squiggles which through centuries of knockabout breeding and intimate contact with the human body have absorbed the uncanny power to carry the ring of truth.
It’s a sort of usage guide on speed, let’s say. Ever the dutiful reader, you start out from the beginning but are soon sent careening about the volume at breakneck speed. The entries are alphabetized from a to zyzzyva, but any one entry might refer you to three or four others down the road and back again. There’s no sense in doing anything but giving in to the magic. Hang on, it’s a wonderful ride.