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224 pages; Simon & Schuster

The Book of Short, Sweet Delights

The Oxford English Dictionary adds a short list of new words once a year ("squee" and "selfie" recently made the cut). Writer Liesl Schillinger finds such a change of pace "glacial," and has written an entire delightful book packed with fresh additions to our language, each illustrated by a bird. Some examples: "polterguy" (an ex-boyfriend who continues to wreak havoc on a person's future relationships), the "elevexer" (that person who tries to squeeze into an elevator just as the doors are closing) and the "chromazone" (that funny occurrence when a large number of people show up wearing the same color on the same day). The result is a collection of neologisms that resonates. Why? Underneath Schillinger's wit lies a more pointed commentary on how rapidly our society is changing, so much so that not even language has time to catch up. Anyone whose gotten "parking spaced"—also known as losing you car in a sprawling multitiered lot after a long, brain-numbing day of shopping at a mall—can relate.
— Andrea Walker