recent reviews

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Save Room For Pie

"A distinct delight . . . Like a cook over a large stew pot, he loves stirring up a mess of words, swirling them this way and that, taking some out, putting some in, and then pouring his concoctions out in savory servings."
-- Wall Street Journal.

"An expert like Roy Blount Jr., as the old borscht belt masters might say, knows from rhythm and melody. His prose can sing in deft comic riffs . . . in a music that earns the reader's laughter, salted with envy of of the feast."
-- Robert Pinsky, New York Times.

Alphabetter Juice, or, The Joy of Text

" . . . a classic American humorist . . . Blount shows he is a master at blending folksy humor with word play and etymological analysis. . . Imagine a collaboration between Normal [I think means Norman] Rockwell, Groucho Marx and Daniel [I think means Noah] Webster." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Writers and readers will love this book" -- Booklist

"Blount doesn't just love English -- he luuurves it. And Alphabetter Juice is a bighearted, zesty love letter to that passion."
-- Adam Woog, Seattle Times.

Hail, Hail, Euphoria!

"Folksy, warm, and up on his Marx lore -- he seems not only to have seen every one of the brothers' movies, but to have read early drafts of every script -- Blount makes for swell company ... especially during his delightfully erudite exegesis of the justly famous 'mirror scene.'" NEW YORK TIMES

“Hail, Hail, Euphoria! is the most lyrical, insightful, scholarly, illuminating and celebratory 144 pages I’ve ever sat down with. This book is a stream of fun.” — WALL STREET JOURNAL

“Roy Blount Jr. knows from humor. In [Hail, Hail, Euphoria!], he sets out to remedy the lack of a scene-by-scene commentary on the Marx Brothers’ greatest movie, the sublimely nonsensical Duck Soup.” — WASHINGTON POST

“An essential read for Marx Brothers fans, those curious about the melding of war and humor in film, and browsers looking for a good read.” — LIBRARY JOURNAL

Alphabet Juice
from Farrar, Straus and Giroux (and Macmillan Audio):
For full reviews click here


"Roy Blount is one of the most clever (see sly, witty, cunning, nimble) wordsmiths cavorting in the English language, or what remains of it. Alphabet Juice proves once again that he's incapable of writing a flat or unfunny sentence."

— Carl Hiassen, author of Nature Girl


"Alphabet Juice is the book Roy Blount was born to write, which considering his prodigious talent, is saying a lot. Did you know that the word LAUGH is linguistically related to chickens and pie? This is the book that any of us who urgently, passionately love words—to read them, roll them over the tongue and learn their life stories while laughing and eating chicken and pie—were lucky enough to be born to read."

— Cathleen Schine, author of The New Yorkers

Publishers Weekly:

Blount...displays his pleasure in words with his subtitle—"The Energies, Gists, and Spirits of Letters, Words, and Combinations Thereof; Their Roots, Bones, Innards, Piths, Pips, and Secret Parts, Tinctures, Tonics, and Essences; with Examples of Their Usage Foul and Savory"—as he dishes up an alphabetical array of "verbal reverberations," weasel words and linguistic acrobatics from "aardvark" to "zoology" ("Pronounced zo-ology. Not zoo-ology. Look at the letters. Count the o's"). Along the way, he compares dictionaries, slings slang, digs for roots, posts ripostes and dotes on anecdotes. The format is nearly identical to Roy Copperud's still valuable but out-of-print A Dictionary of Usage and Style (1964). Blount's book is equally instructive and scholarly, but is also injected with a full dose of word play on steroids. Quotes, quips, euphemisms, rhymes and rhythms, literary references ("Lo-lee-ta") and puns: "The lowest form of wit, it used to be said, but that was before Ann Coulter." Throughout, the usage advice is sage and also fun, since the writer's own wild wit, while bent and Blount, is razor sharp.


Booklist:

Ever since Lynn Truss' Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation took the 2004 best-seller lists by storm, publishers have been casting about for their next dark-horse language book. Farrar may have found it in Blount's latest title. Much more garrulous than Truss, a shameless namedropper, and a purveyor of endless anecdotes always casting himself in the starring role, Blount is supremely entertaining here and more than matches Truss' spirited tone. Laid out in A–Z dictionary format, the book ranges from the pointed critique of conjunction dysfunction to the hilarious diatribe under tump, which finds Blount spending weeks looking for his own name in the new edition of American Heritage Dictionary. Feeling that he is long overdue to be cited for word usage, Blount envies "Hunter Thompson for booger, Jimmy Breslin for boozehound, and William Safire for hoohah." He is, however willing to concede snob to Tom Wolfe. Although some entries are only tangentially connected to his ostensible subject (see TV, on being on), many others provide Blount with ample opportunity to wax eloquent on the joys of language; his perfect parsing of the allure of the phrase "wonky exegeses" will elicit smiles from fellow language lovers. A knowledgeable handbook that is also chock-full of funny, colorful opinions on marriage, movies, and Monet.


Long Time Leaving:

"Roy Blount is so funny, and he sounds like he's just talking, and the next thing you know he has tossed off
an essay as elegant and intricately structured as a birdsong. His ear for American speech is better than anybody's."

-- Ian Frazier

"Roy Blount is so foot-tappingly good that the North and the South will fight to claim him." -- Jacqueline Carey.

Feet on the Street: Rambles Around New Orleans:
"Those looking for a nontraditional portrait of this unconventional city will be delighted by Blount's colorful, almost tender account."
-- Publishers Weekly

"Blount writes a superb simple declarative sentence. But he'll follow that with a sentence that even a Hall of Fame English teacher, equipped with fresh chalk and a full blackboard, would struggle to diagram. And it won't just hold together, this sentence. It'll be a standing ovation-worthy performance, full of music, irony and felicitous juxtaposition, yet not short shrifting in ideas and information. It'll sound like the Deep South and the Upper West Side, but in good, not illegitimate child or pretentious, ways... America's most diverting writer takes on America's most diverting city." -- The Charlotte Observer.

Robert E. Lee:

"Robert E. Lee's hard to deal with'...but in this little gem of a book Blount has done it about as imaginatively, about as memorably, and about as well as anyone has done -- southerner or not, and historian or not -- in years."
-- J. Tracy Power, historian at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.

"This vibrant introduction goes a long way toward softening the image of that stony icon of the Confederacy, Robert E. Lee. Blount bravely reckons with the Marble Man, consulting works that draw out Lee's 'feminine side' to humanize his portrait....Blount's handling of Lee's lonely childhood is surprisingly moving.... Blount's is the only writing on Lee this reviewer has encountered that makes one feel real sympathy for the general--a feeling the author smartly keeps from bleeding over into affection for any Lost Cause ideology." --Library Journal

"This outstanding volume is the latest entry in the Penguin Lives series, which allows distinguished authors to select a person about whom they are curious and then write a short, synthetic account that will inform the general reader and specialist alike. Blount's graceful narrative reflects the author's wide reading of and mature reflection on the standard biographies of Lee. The result is a miniature masterpiece." --Bookpage.

"Witty, lively and wholly fascinating." --New York Times Book Review


The Main Stream

visit the Main Stream page


Philadelphia International Film Festival Award, 2001
Empire State Film Festival, First Prize Feature Documentary, 2001

"The Weisberg-Blount sojourn provides equal time for the serious, the odd, the crass and the sentimental" --The New York Times

"It's a delight - funny, observant and downright anthropological in its
details of how its characters live." --The Star-Ledger

"Blount's great talent, apart from writing, is that he's comfortable chewing the fat with just about anybody - especially folks who might actually call conversing chewing the fat." --Newsday

"The two-hour film celebrates American eccentricity and features people and towns whose beliefs and lifestyles fall outside mainstream culture." --The Washington Post

"Blount has empathy for everyone, which makes this a joyous journey. Accompanied by picturesque photography and a nice variety of river-related songs he takes us on a delightful trip for all of the 2,552 miles." --The Indianapolis Star

"While Blount's journey includes some compelling portraits of middle America, it is his natural attraction to the pockets of weirdness along the way (the backwaters, as he puts it) that become the most bracing moments in the documentary." --The Oregonian


quotes

"Veronica Geng . . . along with Ian Frazier, W. S. Trow, Mark Singer, Roy Blount Jr., and Donald Barthelme . . . pioneered The New Yorker as a clubhouse of postmodernism." -- James Walcott, New Criterion.

"Roy Blount's stuff makes me laugh so hard, sometimes I have to go sit in a room and shut the door"--Garrison Keillor

"Right up there with Bob and Ray"--Boston Globe

"Unleashes a startling expertise in economic theory"--Newsweek

"The war between the sexes hasn't had such an able correspondent since James Thurber."--Boston Globe

"You'd be pulling off a major stunt/ To hold your laughter while reading Roy Blount."--Washington Post Book World

"A writer of easy grace and great generosity, always delivering more than he promises, always up to more than he lets on." --Jon Carroll, The Village Voice

"Unlike most of the other first-rate humorists of this century--Thurber, Perelman, Woody Allen--Blount is neither a political nor a cultural reactionary. He is comfortable with--even enthusiastic about--the variety of human experience. He likes women and isn't afraid of them."--Berkshire Eagle

"One really understands testicles after reading 'The Family Jewels,' and one is gratified."--Cathleen Schine, The Nation

"...has become America's foremost humorist."--Chicago Tribune

"In serious contention for the title of America's most cherished humorist.... Mr. Blount's most congenial literary crony in the area of foxy yokelism is, to his reader's good fortune, Mark Twain."--New York Times Book Review

"Blount's cleverness and ability to see into the central absurdity of things are just one half of his talent as a humorist. The second half is made up of his feel and love for the language.... He is as sure-footed on the slippery slopes of funniness as a mountain goat on an alp."--Milwaukee Journal

Crackers:

"A comic masterpiece."--New York Times Book Review
(Crackers was selected by the Duke University Comprehensive Cancer Center as one of the books that might do cancer patients some good.)

Three Bricks Shy of a Load:

"A work of art."--N.Y. Times Book Review

Now, Where Were We?:

"Reading a collection of articles by Roy Blount Jr. is like panning for gold at Tiffany's - you knw the nuggets will be there, the only question is their brilliance. Well, prepare to strike the mother lode." - Chicago Tribune "Blount is that rare writer who can be funny and serious at the same time... Once he starts running he's on a course of his own."
-- Cleveland Plain Dealer.

First Hubby:

"...offers an emphatic and romantic 'yes' to the question 'Can true love survive the Oval Office?'"
--New Yorker

“Whatever he’s doing, he gets away with it”—Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, New York Times.

Roy Blount's Book of Southern Humor:

"A book to read till it falls apart"
--Newsweek.

"Gut-busting"
--Book of the Month Club News

Be Sweet:

"Roy Blount, who is the funniest person I know, journeys deep into the dark heart of humor and brings back a wonderfully insightful, superbly crafted song of the soul that had me laughing and crying too"
--Dave Barry.


"An intimate family story that's brilliant, funny and ultimately very kind and loving"
--Bobbie Ann Mason.

"Few writers create narrative threads so closely following the process of memory as Roy Blount, Jr. All the more apt that his memoir, Be Sweet: A Conditional Love Story, manages to collect a swarming beehive of memories, incidents, stories, and mild exaggerations, bundle them together with a humorist's half-knot of narrative, and make it read like a revelation.
"

--
BookPage

". . . a wild tell-all, a raucous, unflinching memoir as funny as anything he's ever written, and that's saying a lot, since Blount's one of America's wittiest writers. Like his 14 previous books, Be Sweet is both literary and down-home, a thinking man's thigh slapper, crammed with the verbal dazzle we've come to expect from him -- puns, allusions, jokes, outrageous anecdotes, eye-opening commentary. But this book's different, because it's also a serious heartbreaker. "Instead there is that tentative synthesis that results from all great autobiographical writing -- an ability to link experiences together via language, Blount's great gift. Discovering correspondences in disparities has always been the method of his madness, his way of getting at the comic essence of daily life from baseball to rock-and-roll. Having now boldly taken up the harder puzzle of love and self in Be Sweet, he gives us this unique and moving portrait of the humorist as a young man, the Southerner as son of an unresolved past.
--Josephine Humphreys, NYTBR


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