We kicked off the new fall season of "A Way with Words" this weekend, asking, "How much humor and personality can you pack into a 140-character update? A lot, it seems. We discuss funny Twitter feeds, the origins of "skosh" and "can't hold a candle," why dragonflies are called "snake doctors," whether "pre-plan" is redundant, and how tech gadgets influence reading.


Can you believe it's already Banned Books Week again? GOOD magazine has a sampling of its all-time favorite banned or challenged books, such as Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird," and Lois Lowry's Newbery Medal-winner, "The Changer." Ironically, the list also includes Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451." GOOD's photos of all these books' covers had us making a note to ourselves to go back and read some of these classics again.


If you're a working parent trying to write a novel, Los Angeles Times TV critic Mary McNamara wants to give you some advice. Truth be told, she also wants you to buy her new book about the entertainment industry, which is probably why she recently published some pointers for would-be authors. Still, she offers some good advice, such as: "You have to write Every Single Day, and I mean it. Obviously there are exemptions for death and illness, but it's like dieting or working out--if you start skipping one day or two, it's all over. Some writers go by pages--three pages a day seems common. I go by time. Two hours is ideal. One is better than nothing, three is the maximum."


If you're a die-hard public-radio fan, we figure you'll enjoy a recent news brief from The Onion, or at least the headline: "Ira Glass Tries to Explain 'This American Life' at High School Reunion."


BEHIND THE SCENES: Recently, one-half of your faithful co-hosting team decided that after four years in Southern California, she couldn't go another day without learning to surf. So she spent a weekend at surf camp, and … well, let's just say the song "Wipeout!" has a whole new meaning for her. She spent most of her time tombstoning and pearling, these terms being examples of surfing slang translated here for landlubbers:


By the way, it seems that photographic evidence documenting this co-host's efforts at surf camp has surfaced, and just might be published on Facebook. But only if there's sufficient demand. :-) Cast your vote here:



Martha and Grant

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