Ellan Read

sometimes witty book reviews

The Pun Also Rises

the pun also rises

Title: The Pun Also Rises
Author/Year: John Pollack, 2011
Found: Bookstore closing down sale
Pages/Read time: 210, Three days


John Pollack, former speech writer for President Clinton, takes us on a rollicking ride through the history of the humble pun. Pollack’s White House worthy as a word smithing really fits the Bill. Sorry – I was going to try to stick as many puns in this post as possible, but I didn’t think I could deliver them well enough.

Pollack’s cutting wit slices through the murky definitions this poor word has been subjected to with a fascinating dissection of what makes a pun a pun. Quickly follows a recount of the Polynesian pun-battles of centuries gone, where marriages, state decisions and war-declarations depended on the outcome of one’s punning abilities. Thomas Jefferson laments the state of punning in America, Shakespeare invents the knock knock joke and scientists watch the affect of word play in twenty first century laboratories.

Tactfully sprinkled with puns and wordplay, Pollack’s face-paced voice doesn’t leave one feeling inundated with facts. The narrative of the pun’s journey sacred word-play to cringe extractor is woven expertly; though sometimes the names get a bit matted. Linguists, pranksters and generally lovers of language will adore this little  book.

Reading suggestion:
WARNING: You will be thinking in puns for quite a while. You might want to keep away from anyone who doesn’t share an affinity (affliction?) for them.

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This entry was posted on October 1, 2015 by in Non-Fiction and tagged , , , , , .

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