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Download Alphabet Juice: The Energies, Gists, and Spirits of Letters, Words, and Combinations Thereof; Their Roots, Bones, Innards, Piths, Pips, and Secret Parts, Tinctures, Tonics, and Essences; With Examples of Their Usage Foul and Savory Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Alphabet Juice: The Energies, Gists, and Spirits of Letters, Words, and Combinations Thereof; Their Roots, Bones, Innards, Piths, Pips, and Secret Parts, Tinctures, Tonics, and Essences; With Examples of Their Usage Foul and Savory Audiobook, by Jr. Blount, Roy Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (618 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jr. Blount, Roy, Roy Blount Narrator: Jr. Blount, Roy, Roy Blount Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2008 ISBN: 9781427204943
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Ali G: How many words does you know?

Noam Chomsky: Normally, humans, by maturity, have tens of thousands of them.

Ali G: What is some of 'em?
— Youtube.com


After forty years of making a living using words in every medium, print or electronic, except greeting cards, Roy Blount Jr. still can't get over his ABCs. In Alphabet Juice, he celebrates the juju, the sonic and kinetic energies of letters and their combinations. Blount does not prescribe proper English. The franchise he claims is "over the counter" and concentrates more on questions such as these: Did you know that both mammal and matter derive from baby talk? Have you noticed how wince makes you wince?

Three and a half centuries ago, Sir Thomas Blount produced Blount's Glossographia, the first dictionary to explore derivations of English words. This Blount's Glossographia takes that pursuit to other levels. It rejects the standard linguistic notion that the connection between words and their meanings is "arbitrary." Even the word arbitrary is shown to be no more arbitrary, at its roots, than go-to guy or crackerjack. From sources as venerable as the OED (in which Blount finds an inconsistency, at whisk) and as fresh as Urbandictionary.com (to which Blount has contributed the number-one definition of "alligator arm"), and especially from the author's own wide-ranging experience, Alphabet Juice derives an organic take on language that is unlike, and more fun than, any other.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Among longlisted titles for AudioFile Best Audiobooks, 2008
  • Among longlisted titles for Washington Post Best Books of the Year, 2008

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dave | 2/20/2014

    " Gloriously funny, insightful, informative. One of my favorite books on language that I've ever read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Andrea | 2/15/2014

    " If you liked your History of the English language course in college, or have a thing for etymology, then you will enjoy some of your time spent with this book. Of course a book by Roy Blount Jr. will have funny and interesting moments as well as obvious poltical opinion, slightly off color digressions, and the use of words that are not considered polite for general discourse. Your inner English major will have to decide if you can slog through the boring stuff, bypass or ignore the occasional crude or self infatuated cleverness, and still enjoy the observations of a true lover of words. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mcav0y | 2/11/2014

    " This was a mediocre book from a person who I find to be fairy funny. The was no snap, no pizazz. There are also too many tangents. People that have a secret obsession with etymology would enjoy this book, but I doubt that they would list it as a must read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Johanna | 2/7/2014

    " This is really a 3.5. Roy Blount Jr. is one of my favorite guests on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, so I'd been wanting to read one of his books for awhile. This was not what I expected, though. I thought it would be a book of essays, but really it's a dictionary. Blount discusses literary history, linguistics, etymology, grammar, and culture by defining words of his choosing. The entries are interesting and funny, and I like all of those topics. By the end, though, I was craving some narrative. I think perhaps this book is better read a little at a time rather than straight through because for what it is, Blount succeeds. I just wasn't always in the mood for what it is. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeremy | 2/2/2014

    " Funny read, even if the author comes off a bit fussy about grammar, spelling and punctuation at times. I guarantee if you're a 'word person', you'll get a kick out of this book and learn more than a little about where words come from. The construction of the book took a little while to get used to, but then once I realized it was like a highly selective, half-satire/half-memoir dictionary it was very enjoyable. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mike Klein | 1/29/2014

    " Imagine someone deciding to turn a web site into a book. Imagine an incredibly intelligent author just rambling for a while. Imagine having an interest in words and language and still being incredibly annoyed. And then you'll be like me--imagining that I bothered to finish the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Justin Ferguson | 1/21/2014

    " Wonderfully amusing if you're a word/grammar/language geek like me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Louise Chambers | 1/18/2014

    " Too juicy to put down. This one is worth a second read, if only to write down all of the other books mentioned within-why, Roy, did you not make a bibliography?-and to take on the challenge to find the 160 some errors. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Thethockmonthter | 1/11/2014

    " This book was funnier than I expected, but less engaging than I'd hoped. I only made it through the r's, and even that was kind of a struggle. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erin | 1/4/2014

    " I enjoyed this book, no matter how dumb it made me feel. It reads like a dictionary, so there's no need to just read it straight through. But don't worry; it's much better than a dictionary. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mindy | 11/14/2013

    " If you love words, you will love this book. If you love words that may not technically be words, you will also love this book. If you care about grammar and proper usage, you will love this book. If you want to know what a hoo-hoo is, you should read this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jan | 11/12/2013

    " Pausing after "L" - have to return to library - will request again after July "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jess | 10/6/2013

    " This is a great book for wannabe etymologists. All throughout the book I kept going, 'Ooooh', and running to find someone for whom to share my newfound store of knowledge. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 April | 7/17/2013

    " I am loving this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joyce | 4/25/2012

    " very interesting especially for those know more than one language. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth | 3/13/2012

    " spectacularly useful and levitatingly funny. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jim Lane | 2/2/2012

    " witty and amusing. I couldn't quite stick with witty and amusing (and a little directionless) for more than a few chapters. Worth skimming through, though "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff Crompton | 11/10/2011

    " One of the most entertaining books on words ever written. I read it cover-to-cover when it came out, but I often take it off the shelf and just thumb through at random. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patricia | 8/7/2011

    " This is an occasional book - I'll read a bit over breakfast on my day off, that sort of thing, it's not a straight-through read. Very enjoyable! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessie | 6/17/2011

    " A little less academic than I thought, but rich and funny all the same. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marilyn | 2/26/2011

    " A fun book in alphabetical order! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 E | 2/11/2011

    " Like Harryette Mullen, Roy Blount Jr. gets it that language is supposed to taste good. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura | 11/7/2010

    " Very funny, particularly for this lover of languages and teacher of English. It's basically a very silly, entertaining dictionary. I didn't actually read the whole thing. I got to the C's before I petered out. But I'm sure I'll pick it up again at some point and eventually get to Z! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lynn | 9/21/2010

    " I enjoyed The Know-It-All much better. "

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About the Narrator

Roy Blount, Jr., is an American writer. Best known as a humorist, Blount is also a reporter, actor, and musician with the Rock Bottom Remainders, a rock band composed entirely of writers. He is also president of the Authors Guild.