Feb 28, 2013 — From "dead cat bounce," which originated in the 1980s, to "cold fish," which was coined by Shakespeare, The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms explores the origins of more than 10,000 nonliteral sayings.
Jan 15, 2013 — In Words From the White House, linguist Paul Dickson looks at the ways presidents have used the office to create and shape American language. Presidents, Dickson says, must be eloquent and spontaneous, but they also need to communicate in a way that gives listeners something to latch onto.
May 25, 2012 — Linguist David Crystal believes every word has a story to tell, even the ones as commonplace as "and." In The Story of English in 100 Words, he compiles a collection of words — classic words like "tea" and new words like "app" — that explain how the English language has evolved.
May 17, 2012 — Novelist Tayari Jones explores a father's deception of his family, while historian David McCullough looks at 19th-century Americans in Paris, Roy Blount Jr. revels in verbal curiosities, writer Bill James reflects on true-crime stories, and journalist Diana Henriques probes the Ponzi scheme of Bernie Madoff.
Apr 18, 2012 — Jonathan Gottschall is an English professor fed up with academia's ugly jargon. He recommends three books that help writers with their prose. Has a book ever helped you with your composition skills? Tell us about it in the comments.
Apr 2, 2012 — Linguist David Crystal believes every word has a story to tell, even the ones as commonplace as "and." In The Story of English in 100 Words, he compiles a collection of words — classic words like "tea" and new words like "app" — that explain how the English language has evolved.
Mar 13, 2012 — Sky looking a little slatchy to you? Want another helping of slang-jang? The final volume of the Dictionary of American Regional English, a 50-year project to document English across the U.S., is a treasure trove of history and local color.
Dec 6, 2011 — There's a difference between great books and great gift books, and these are the books to put bows on. Critic John McAlley presents 20 titles that span Harry Potter, Alexander McQueen, Annie Leibovitz, Mickey Mouse, the periodic table elements and the dictionary — something for everyone on your list.
Aug 17, 2011 — For those readers looking to exercise their brains while lounging by the pool, this summer has some great reading options. These five engaging books are witty, smart and, best of all, a lot of fun.
Aug 10, 2011 — Fairy tales — those stories of princes and princesses, spells and magic — have sparked kids' imaginations for centuries. But author John Baxter suggests a very different kind of fiction to get young synapses firing: He recommends three tales filled with creepy characters you're sure to love.