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Jonathon Green's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Jonathon Green recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Jonathon Green's favorite book recommendations of all time.

The first of three volumes (volume 2, 1785-1874, forthcoming in 2005; volume 3, 1874 to present, forthcoming in 2007) comprising a complete history of the recording of English cant and slang - the jargon of sport, trade, and crime - which give unparalleled insights into the history of slang and the people who used it. Provides information on words and their meanings such as 'ziff' (a young thief), 'bundletail' (a short fat or squat lass), and 'arsworm' (a little diminutive fellow). less
Recommended by Jonathon Green, and 1 others.

Jonathon GreenI’ve put Julie Coleman in because she does stand out in the relatively small circle of slang experts. I will be the first to acknowledge that they are not easy books. There is a great deal of statistical material but she has covered pretty much everything. I would be very surprised if there is something she hasn’t covered. It is very useful. The important thing about her is that she gives an... (Source)

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Slang To-Day and Yesterday

Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork. less
Recommended by Jonathon Green, and 1 others.

Jonathon GreenEric Partridge was the leading English language slang lexicographer of the 20th century. His Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English appeared in 1937 and editions continued to appear until the posthumous edition of 1984. (Source)

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Recommended by Jonathon Green, and 1 others.

Jonathon GreenHotten is the first slang lexicographer to come up with a considered treatment of the history of slang and indeed of cant, or criminal slang. He also offers a history of back slang and rhyming slang. His is a substantial bibliography, which no one had done before him. No-one had ever written about slang in the way that Hotten did. His definition of slang is one of the best there is: (Source)

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The F-Word

We all know what frak, popularized by television's cult hit Battlestar Galactica, really means. But what about feck? Or ferkin? Or foul--as in FUBAR, or "Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition"?

In a thoroughly updated edition of The F-Word, Jesse Sheidlower offers a rich, revealing look at the f-bomb and its illimitable uses. Since the fifteenth century, no other word has been adapted, interpreted, euphemized, censored, and shouted with as much ardor or force; imagine Dick Cheney telling Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy to...
Recommended by Melissa Mohr, Jonathon Green, and 2 others.

Melissa MohrThis is a great one for showcasing the variety of swearing and all the circumstances you can use this one word. It starts with absofuckinglutely and ends with zipless fuck, and in the middle has dumbfuck, frig, unfuckable—so many great words. He’s done this excellent research, so you can see the dates when they were all first used, with quotes. (Source)

Jonathon GreenEverybody should look at this and see how lexicography should be done, because it is a superb piece of work. It’s not a grubby book, or a meretricious book, it’s an amazing piece of scholarship. (Source)

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The crime-infested intersection of West Fayette and Monroe Streets is well-known--and cautiously avoided--by most of Baltimore. But this notorious corner's 24-hour open-air drug market provides the economic fuel for a dying neighborhood. David Simon, an award-winning author and crime reporter, and Edward Burns, a 20-year veteran of the urban drug war, tell the chilling story of this desolate crossroad.

Through the eyes of one broken family--two drug-addicted adults and their smart, vulnerable 15-year-old son, DeAndre McCollough, Simon and Burns examine the sinister realities of...
Recommended by Gavin Knight, Jonathon Green, and 2 others.

Gavin KnightAs you say, this is the book that led to The Wire, which David Simon created. The corner in the title is on West Fayette and North Monroe streets in West Baltimore. It’s an open-air drug market in a post-industrial landscape where the drug trade has taken over. The authors look at the area through the lives of the McCullough family – two drug-addict parents and their 15-year-old son DeAndre. (Source)

Jonathon GreenI wanted to choose a book that showed slang on stage or, as one might say, “live”. The Corner is a view that you could only get through a great deal of patience and supreme reportorial skills. The authors spend a year with a family who use crack cocaine, and you watch the whole world of selling the drug. On one level it’s a soap opera – you could say it’s a crack soap opera. You become fond of... (Source)

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