Bryson, Bill. Made in America: an Informal History of the English Language in the United States. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1994.
Made in America has multiple personalities. It could be seen as a classification of American etymology, a short history of American culture, a collection of forgotten trivia, a handbook of conversation starters, a joke book of humor, or as most people see it, all of the above. The inside cover of Made in America sums up the book perfectly, “Bryson’s is a unique history, not only of American words, but of America through words.”
Favorite lines, “…Clark fared better. He became governor of the Missouri Territory and commanded it with distinction, though he never did learn to spell” (p122).
Favorite tidbits of information: Frederick Remington never saw a real cowboy and was too fat to ever get on a horse; foodcarts weren’t allowed to vend on residential streets so they moved to parking lots, removed their wheels and became restaurants; Sylvester Graham believed food with taste was immoral.
Book Trivia: You could call Made in America a history of American words or words describing an American history.
Author Fact: Bill Bryson once worked in a psychiatric hospital. Doing what? Making the patients laugh out loud when things got too manic?
Book Lust Twist: From More Book Lust in the chapter called “Bill Bryson: Too Good To Miss” (p 36).
August. The last gasp of summer before everyone starts thinking about back-to-school clothes, back-to-school school supplies and back-to-school attitudes. I know my college has already adopted the attitude now that the athletes and international students have started arriving on campus. August was quiet compared to July’s crazy traveling. But, for books it was:
- The All-Girl Football Team by Lewis Nordan ~ Nordan is my emotional train wreck.
- Zarafa: a Giraffes’s True Story, from Deep in Africa to the Heart of Paris by Michael Allin ~ in honor of Napoleon’s birth month even though Napoleon is a teeny part of the story
- Zel by Donna Jo Napoli ~ the clever, psychological retelling of Rapunzel.
- The Meaning of Everything: the Story of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester ~ in honor of National Language Month, but I didn’t finish it. Not even close.
- Undaunted Courage by Simon Winchester ~ a really interesting account of the Lewis & Clark Expedition.
- A Separate Peace by John Knowles ~ probably one of my all-time favorite books.
For LibraryThing and the Early Review Program: I started reading Play Their Hearts Out by George Dohrmann. Review coming in September.
For fun I read:
- fit = female: the perfect fitness and nutrition game plan for your unique body type by geralyn b. coopersmith ~ the cover of the book didn’t use capital letters so neither did i.
- Nutrition for Life: The no-fad, no-nonsense approach to eating well and researching your healthy weight by Lisa Hark, Phd, RD & Darwin Deen, MD ~ this is a really, really informative book.
For the sake of sanity I have to recap the entire summer. Summer as we think of it in terms of the calendar, not the temperature. June. July. August.
June can only be thought of as a dark and hellish tunnel. In that case, July was the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. As a result, August was not only getting out of the dark and hellish tunnel but moving as far, far away from it as possible. August was an amazing month!
August was music (loved the Avett Brothers and had a great time at Phish). August was homehome with my best boys. August was also a group of good, good books:
- The Moviegoer by Percy Walker ~ interesting story about a man watching life go by rather than living it.
- Turbulent Souls: a Catholic Son’s Return to his Jewish Family by Stephen J. Dubner ~ this was fascinating.
- The Professor and the Madman: a Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester ~ another fascinating nonfiction with great illustrations.
- The Mutual Friend by Frederick Busch ~ a novel about Charles Dickens that I couldn’t really get into.
- Those Tremendous Mountains: the Story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition by David Freeman Hawke ~ another nonfiction, this time about the Lewis and Clark Expedition (like the title says).
- Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Expery ~ all about war-time aviation.
For the Early Review Program:
- Sandman Slim: a Novel by Richard Kadrey ~ absolutely crazy good book.
- Off the Tourist Trail: 1,000 Unexpected Travel Alternatives ~ an amazing travel book! Really beautiful!
- Finished reading Honeymoon in Tehran by Azadeh Moaveni ~ part political, part personal, this was great.
- My First 100 Marathons: 2,620 Miles with an Obsessed Runner by Jeff Horowitz ~ funny and informative, too!
- Running and Being by George Sheehan ~ funny and sarcastic and informative all at once!
I had saved all of my other ramblings from ThatSpace. Kept them in a book for some odd reason. Yesterday, I started rereading them. Today I started destroying them. Yesterday they meant something. Today they are stupid. In between the lines I found a few words worth saving, but for the most part I enjoyed destroying stupid.
- It is not what was said that has cut into my self respect. It’s the justification that followed. I am walking anger. ~ March 13, 2006
- There is no drama in my marriage, no Jezebel moments. ~March 28, 2006
- I have faith in 11/06/06. ~ April 6th, 2006.
- I am ten steps away from my black cloud. ~ April 26th, 2006
- I make no apologies for choosing not to streak so naked through my rant with reckless, yet vulnerable abandon. ~ July 25, 2006
It’s funny. I think I hold onto all these statements because I remember the moments that prompted them. Isn’t that always the way? You hang onto a hurt because of the way it makes you hate. Well, hate’s a really strong word. I’ll take that one back. And…not all of these favorite quotes come from wanting to bash someone’s head in. April 6th was the day I decided to say something about my sister’s pregnancy. November 6th was the due date. I was hoping for Halloween, but spooky didn’t cooperate. April 26th quote was a bout of melancholy that had nothing to do with madness. *sigh*
These are the days I will remember. For the rest there’s destroying stupid.