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.
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.
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 11, 2011 — NPR coverage of Alphabetter Juice: Or, the Joy of Text by Roy, Jr. Blount. News, author interviews, critics' picks and more.
Jul 15, 2011 — NPR coverage of Anonyponymous: The Forgotten People Behind Everyday Words by John Bemelmans Marciano. News, author interviews, critics' picks and more.
Jul 15, 2011 — NPR coverage of The Npr Classical Music Companion: An Essential Guide for Enlightened Listening by Miles Hoffman. News, author interviews, critics' picks and more.
Apr 13, 2011 — English is definitely changing, but whether it's declining or evolving depends on who — ahem, whom — you ask. Writer Robert Lane Greene recommends three books about what it means to speak and write "well" — when the definition of "well" is a moving target.
Mar 21, 2011 — If you panic every time you're asked to "say a few words," former White House speechwriter Mary Kate Cary is here to help. For nervous public speakers, she recommends three books to load onto your e-readers — full of sound advice and quotable anecdotes — so you'll never be tongue-tied again.