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Book Nook: The Hidden History of Coined Words by Ralph Keyes

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Vick Mickunas' 2021 interview with Ralph Keyes

Ralph Keyes returned to the program to delight us with his latest word nerdery extravaganza! And while I could wish that I had coined a word like "nerdery" I did not. A Google search reveals that it means: "obsessive interest in or enthusiasm for a subject, typically one of specialist or minority interest." Although the spell check function on my Mac computer did try to correct this clearly unacceptable term (at least to it) to "nerdy."

Ralph has written widely about language and words. The last time I had him on the show it was to discuss his previous book about euphemisms. He really got into that subject as well; thus his title: "Euphemania." Ever since we did that interview I have been more aware of euphemisms and how we tend to overuse them. This has caused me to frequently have silent thought balloons that float above my head whenever I hear someone use a euphemism that is so exhausted I might wish that it could simply die. For example: when I hear someone say: "she passed away" I always have to resist inquiring; oh, did you mean that she died? But of course I restrain myself. The spell check function just wanted to change "restrain" to "restain." Thanks, Apple!

Ralph's new book is funny, and fascinating, and delightfully educational. We had a real blast talking about it. I shall be dreaming of the day when one of my word coinages goes viral on Twitter. Thanks, Ralph!

The Book Nook on WYSO is presented by the Greene County Public Library with additional support from Washington-Centerville Public Library, Clark County Public Library, Dayton Metro Library, and Wright Memorial Public Library.

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Vick Mickunas introduced the Book Nook author interview program for WYSO in 1994. Over the years he has produced more than 1500 interviews with writers, musicians, poets, politicians, and celebrities. Listen to the Book Nook with Vick Mickunas for intimate conversations about books with the writers who create them. Vick Mickunas reviews books for the Dayton Daily News and the Springfield News Sun.