Author News and Book Reports

Roy Blount Jr. takes on linguistics with baby talk and homemade 'alphabet juice'
Appearing at the 2008 Miami Book Fair International with social satirist and bestselling author Carl Hiaasen, frequent NPR guest humorist and bestselling author Roy Blount Jr. introduced his latest book, Alphabet Juice (Farrar, Straus and Giroux paperback; September 2009), as his response to the modern belief that words have no intrinsic meaning, pointing to baby talk, for example, where words are formed by mimicking a physical need. Noting that words over time change so many times that, like the Professor's experiement that wound up as 'chicken slurry', words loose their meaning, Blount juxtaposed onomatopoeia, where tangible sounds immutably connect words with meaning. After ridiculing modern linguistics in general and famed MIT linguistics professor Steven Pinker in particular, Blount wrapped his presentation with a true story demonstrating the funny ways words are used. Responding to questions from the audience afterward, Blount commented on the 2008 presidential campaigns and media coverage; nixed texting; and complained about nasty fan mail.

Book and Author Headlines

Pete Dexter provides the abc's of 'Spooner': The award-winning, bestselling author of 'Paris Trout' and 'Deadwood' synopsizes his new novel 'Spooner'--alphabetically.

Craig Ferguson calls for more fart jokes in books at booksellers Sunday breakfast: The irreverent late,late night TV talk show host and screen actor Craig Ferguson brings his wild-eyed Scottish wit to Sunday breakfast to wake upseveral hundred sleepy-eyed American booksellers and promote his memoir, 'American On Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot.'

Michael Sandel investigates 'justice': Political philosopher and Harvard professor of government Michael Sandel offers a live crash course on 'Justice: What's the Right Thing To Do? at BookExpo America 2009.

Jane Smiley, Nicholas Sparks, and 'Sully' Sullenberger kick-off 2009 book signing season: The fall line-up of bestselling, first-time and emerging authors gets into high-gear as Jane Smiley, Nicholas Sparks, and 'Sully' Sullenberger hit the road signing books for adults and children alike.

Jacob Gold and John Eckberg sort through the wreckage of the economic meltdown: Jacob Gold of Jacob Gold & Associates, named 'one of America's top wealth management firms' by Bloomberg business news, and Cincinnati Enquirer business reporter John Eckberg discuss jobs, retail, money markets, consumer spending and entrepreneurship in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Tracy Kidder discovers inspiration and 'Strength In What Remains' of war-torn, impoverished Burundi: Bestselling narrative non-fiction author Tracy Kidder traces the inspirational story of Deo, a Burundi refugee in New York City, to his hometown and the miracle he brings to an impoverished, war-torn countryside.

Richard Russo and John Irving declare the novel alive and well and living in America: Two literary lions defend the storytelling tradition of Charles Dickens and Herman Melville, declaiming against the notion that plots and novels are dead in the face of technological change.

Ben Mezrich rolls the dice with 'Accidental Billionaires': Bestselling author, Harvard grad, and former blackjack game show co-host, Ben Mezrich rolls the dice with 'accidental billionaires' at BookExpo America 2009.

In memory of Frank McCourt, teacher, raconteur, and Pulitzer Prize winning author: Teacher, raconteur, and Pulitzer Prize winning author Frank McCourt and humor columnist, bestselling author, and perennial presidential contender Dave Barry appeared together for one memorable evening at the 2008 Miami Book Fair International.

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