GoodReads Monday

This weekly meme was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners. It is now being hosted by Budget Tales Book Blog. To participate, choose a random book from your GoodReads TBR and show it off. Which sounds easy enough until you have to decide how to choose that book! I think I will use a different way each week, like picking a color or number of pages. I will let you know each week how I chose the book and then something interesting about it, like how it ended up on the list or why I want to read it. Got it? Okay let’s get started.

I had a bit of a crappy few days last week. Work has been a bit stressful, my district is considering closing schools due to lower enrollment, and mine was being considered. Luckily we ended up not being picked, but three schools were, one I used to work at. I have friends and colleagues whose futures are uncertain right now and I feel for them and what they are going through. And even though I am retiring at the end of the school year I didn’t want to see my own school close, so it was a big relief when we got the good news. I also came down with a sinus infection or maybe a head cold, not sure which, and that always makes me grumpy.

I went into all of this because the book I chose to talk about this week is a reflection of my mood lately. One of my goals this year is to read more nonfiction, and this one is that and it sounds really interesting.

Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing by Melissa Mohr

First published: March 7, 2013

Summary from Goodreads:

Holy Sh*t tells the story of two kinds of swearing–obscenities and oaths–from ancient Rome and the Bible to today. With humor and insight, Melissa Mohr takes readers on a journey to discover how “swearing” has come to include both testifying with your hand on the Bible and calling someone a *#$&!* when they cut you off on the highway. She explores obscenities in ancient Rome and unearths the history of religious oaths in the Middle Ages, when swearing (or not swearing) an oath was often a matter of life and death.

Holy Sh*t also explains the advancement of civility and corresponding censorship of language in the 18th century, considers the rise of racial slurs after World War II, examines the physiological effects of swearing and answers a question that preoccupies the FCC, the US Senate, and anyone who has recently overheard little kids at a playground: are we swearing more now than people did in the past?

A gem of lexicography and cultural history, Holy Sh*t is a serious exploration of obscenity.

I have always had a bit of interest in lexicography, but most of the books I have tried to read on the subject are just way too dry and boring. I found this book and author by way of the NetFlix series, The History of Swear Words. The author is one of the experts they interview in the series. I found her funny and interesting, so added her book to my list. If you have not yet tried this series, I highly recommend it. It was funny but also very informative and of course with Nicolas Cage hosting you know it will be good.

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