Monday, April 21, 2008

Book Review(s): "Bizarre Books" and "Scouts in Bondage"

I don't usually write joint book reviews, but since Russell Ash and Brian Lake's Bizarre Books: A Compendium of Classic Oddities and Michael Bell's Scouts in Bondage and Other Violations of Literary Propriety cover much the same ground, it seemed only appropriate to write just one review rather than two. Both books provide a sampling of book titles/cover/authors which are innocent enough, but which have either fallen prey to changes in word usage over time, ("entendres that have double'd over the years", as Bell puts it) or simply serve to amuse and puzzle.

Ash and Lake's book is the larger of the two; it contains several chapters of subject-oriented titles complemented by the occasional black-and-white image or excerpt. Bell's sample size is smaller, but the book is hardbound and contains lovely full-color illustrations of the book covers in question (many of the titles are also to be found in Bizarre Books).

Interestingly, the LC classifies Bell's book in PN (Wit and Humor), while Ash and Lake's is shelved in Z (Books on Books). Both are quite funny and well worth a good browse-through.

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