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Episode 1595

All That and a Bag of Chips

We tend to take the index of a book for granted, but centuries ago, these helpful lists were viewed with suspicion. Some even worried that indexes would harm reading comprehension! A witty new book tells the story. Plus, the Latin term bona fides...

Episode 1567

Kiss the Cow

An anadrome is a word that forms a whole new word when you spell it backwards. For example, the word “stressed” spelled backwards is “desserts.” Some people’s first names are anadromes. There’s the girl named Noel...

Episode 1589

Deep-Fried Air

Eels, orts, and Wordle! Sweden awarded its most prestigious literary award to a book about…eels. The Book of Eels reveals the mysterious life cycle of this sea creature and its significance for famous figures from Aristotle to Sigmund Freud. Plus...

Crazy as a Betsy Bug or Bedbug

Jane in Tippecanoe, Indiana, was intrigued by a phrase she encountered while reading Kinky Friedman’s Armadillos and Old Lace. (Bookshop|Amazon). She remembers hearing the phrase crazy as a bedbug, and wonders about Friedman’s use of the...

Episode 1565

Lead On, Macduff!

For rock climbers, skiers, and other outdoor enthusiasts, the word send has taken on a whole new meaning. You might cheer on a fellow snowboarder with Send it, bro! — and being sendy is a really great thing. Plus: a nostalgic trip to Willa...

Episode 1562

What the Blazes?

What kind of book do people ask for most often in prison? Romance novels? No. The Bible? No. The most requested books by far are … dictionaries! A number of volunteer organizations gather and distribute used dictionaries to help inmates with...