King County Library System (Washington)
I am having a hard time deciding what to call, I Love it When You Talk Retro– it’s American history, its etymology, its social studies, and it is a dictionary! You can start at the beginning and read right through or you can dip in and out of the pages. Now you are wondering what is the book about? It’s about the American language, specifically — “verbal artifacts that hang around in our national conversation long after the topic they refer to has galloped into the sunset”, or “a word or phrase that must be in current use yet have an origin that isn’t current.” To list a few retro terms: hit the sack; skosh; stump speech; Home James and don’t spare the horses; cut and run; taken aback; start from scratch; pleased as Punch–how many do you know and use and how many do you know where or when they began? I Love It When You Talk Retro explains the start of these colorful terms. It is a fun read, I frequently have entertained the people around me when I say “oh that’s why we say that”, and then of course, I read the passage to them.
Author Ralph Keyes explains why some words “strike a chord” and stay with us, while other popular at the time sayings just disappear. Retro talk can be punch lines of jokes, advertising slogans, lines from movies, TV shows and radio and even a person’s name. It can be a quote from someone famous, mmmm I not famous but I wonder if I can come up with a phrase that will resonate with people and become a part of the American Language–I’ll put “my nose to the grindstone.” And “that’s all she wrote.”
Posted by Michele @ North Bend