It had been months since my last book reading, but I managed to dive back into the world of orthography without much difficultly last week at the Miami Book Fair. I read alongside two masters of the craft (writing, that is, not orthography), Roy Blount Jr. and Thomas Mallon. Mallon read hilariously mushy excerpts of letters from President Woodrow Wilson, written to his sweetheart while Wilson was in the White House. Blount just kind of riffed about words in that marvelous drawl that "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!" fans have come to worship. I can't say I agree with his theory that linguists are flat out wrong, and that certain onomatopoeic words provide clear evidence that there's a connection between the sound of a word and it's meaning, but he's a fun guy to listen to regardless.
AuthorDavid Wolman