I have officially entered the brave new world of e-books with a popularly-priced ($3.99!) collection of some of my pieces on language, first published in Slate, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and other fine publications. It’s called (take a deep breath) You Need to Read This: The Death of the Imperative Mode, the Rise of the American Glottal Stop, the Bizarre Popularity of “Amongst,” and Other Cuckoo Things That Have Happened to the English Language.
(Funny story about that title. Back in 2005, I wrote an essay for the New York Times Book Review about the odd trend of extremely long subtitles. One example I gave was Jeff Pearlman’s recently published The Bad Guys Won! A Season of Brawling, Boozing, Bimbo Chasing, and Championship Baseball With Straw, Doc, Mookie, Nails, the Kid, and the Rest of the 1986 Mets, the Rowdiest Team Ever to Put On a New York Uniform, and Maybe the Best. Since then, the trend has continued–so much so that I was apparently compelled to join it.)
So some of the topics covered in the book that are not mentioned in the subtitle include why everybody seems to be starting sentences with the word “So,” where vocal fry came from, and if “is that even a thing?” is even a thing.