Saturday, February 13, 2010

Big Book Read #5

The F-Word by Jesse Sheidlower

270 Pages

Jesse Sheidlower is the Editor-At-Large of the Oxford English Dictionary, what one would assume to be a very serious position. What some may not know about Mr. Sheidlower is that he is also one of the foremost authorities on obscenity in English. Now, to me this is much more exciting than working with the boring OED.

This book was given to me for my 29th birthday by my friend Lynda. I’m assuming she gave it to me, not because of my interest in the etymology of a word but because I am well known (among my friends) for my frequent and hearty swearing. In my opinion, there is nothing quite as satisfying as a well-placed f-bomb when the situation requires it.

Mr. Sheidlower begins The F-Word with a brief etymological discussion of the world “fuck”. Is it an acronym? No. Is it from the Latin? Probably not. It’s early history is in fact, rather boring. It’s when Sheidlower gets into the word’s use in literature, music and film that it gets a bit more fun.

The rest of the The F-Word is a dictionary. Sheidlower lists most of the variations and uses of our most beloved swear word, and I thank him for it. While reading it I smiled at my favorites and laughed out loud at some completely absurd variations. Who wouldn’t let out a giggle after coming across “fiddlefuck’?

Because it’s a dictionary, The F-Word can be a bit tedious to read at times. But, I had fun anyway. It’s not everyday that you get to read a book chock full of your favorite naughty word. Do I recommend it? Absofuckinglutely.

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