2008-11-14 · in Books · 121 words

I have the same problem with Leo Rosten that I do with Bill Bryson: I first encountered him through audiobooks, so I imagine him speaking with Kerry Shale's voice. In Rosten's case, it was the (superb) Hyman Kaplan stories.

This is a more scholarly -- but no less entertaining -- exploration of Jewish culture and the Yiddish language, largely through the medium of Jewish humour. This has to be the best way to illustrate usage of obscure words I've ever seen; other dictionaries should take note.

(First published in 1968, this book has been revised several times; mine's the 2001 edition with copious footnotes by Lawrence Bush. I'm sure the earlier versions are equally entertaining, although this may be more useful.)