Ta-Nehisi Coates has won the National Book Award for Non-Fiction for his extended letter to his son, Between the World and Me. Coates' book is his deeply heartfelt and searing account of the African-American experience in the United States, told with passion and the keen ability to choose words and phrases that cut the reader to the core. Here are twelve words from Between the World and Me.
Adam Johnson, who won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for his last novel, The Orphan Master's Son, has now won the National Book Award for Fiction his latest book of short stories, Fortune Smiles. The stories in Fortune Smiles travel across the globe and involve many different scenarios, but they all examine the different ways people address events they can't control. Here are ten words from one of the stories in Fortune Smiles, "Nirvana."
Young people are abandoning curated social media in favor a more real and private view of their lives...on social media. Learn ten words from "On Fake Instagram, a Chance to Be Real," The New York Times, Nov. 18, 2015.
The tragic events in Paris cast a large shadow over the second Democratic debate held on November 14, 2015. The first portion of the debate was devoted to plans for combating terrorist threats, but the candidates -- Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- also addressed issues like immigration, the economy, and raising the minimum wage. Here are the most relevant words from the debate.
These are the ten words that stand out as "relevant" to last night's debate according to the Vocabulary.com list builder, which compares how often words appear in a text to how often they appear in the 3.2 billion-word Vocabulary.com corpus. Find our complete vocabulary-focused analysis of the debate here.
Allen Toussaint, a legend of the New Orleans music scene, died on November 9 at the age of 77 of a heart attack. Toussaint had popular success writing other artists' hits such as "Working in a Coal Mine" and "Mother-in-Law" but it was as the musical embodiment of the New Orleans sound, that one-of- a-kind mix of blues, jazz and funk, that he will be best remembered. In recent years, particularly in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Toussaint became something of a musical ambassador, touring internationally (he died in Spain) and recording albums like "The River in Reverse" with Elvis Costello with a younger generation who were raised on his early recordings. Here are 10 vocabulary words from quotes and lyrics by Allen Toussaint.
Former Tennessee senator and Hollywood character actor Fred Thompson died on November 1, 2015 at the age of 73 from lymphoma. As his roles in "Law and Order" on television and in films like "The Hunt for Red October" attest, Thompson was an extremely charming figure, both offscreen and on, even when he played unlikeable characters. Thompson was known for his plain spoken manner, and these 11 quotes show his straightforward style while highlighting vocabulary made clear by context and Thompson's way with words.
These are the ten words that stand out as "relevant" to last night's debate according to the Vocabulary.com list builder, which compares how often words appear in a text to how often they appear in the 3.2 billion-word Vocabulary.com corpus. Find our complete vocabulary-focused debate analysis here.
For the Democratic presidential debate of Oct. 14, 2015, we surveyed the candidates’ vocabulary, determining their most relevant words according to an analysis of the debate transcript. For more, see: "What Were the 'Vocabulary Moments' of the First Democratic Debate?"
Marlon James' Jamaican epic A Brief History of Seven Killings was awarded the Man Booker Prize on October 13, 2015. James is the first Jamaican to win the prize, previously given to Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan, and Roddy Doyle, among others. A Brief History of Seven Killings is an ambitious novel that weaves together around 75 characters and almost as many narrative voices into a tale that is daring and gritty. Here are fourteen vocabulary words from the text.
Tony-winning Irish playwright Brian Friel died on Oct 2, 2015 at the age of 86. Friel was constantly exploring issues of language in his plays, often painting beautifully lyrical linguistic portraits of emotions and experiences that his characters contended were beyond the power of mere words. His most popular play, Dancing at Lughnasa, was about a group of sisters and the weight and joy of personal history. Above all, Brian Friel was a master of language and had an amazing ability to use words to evoke reactions from an audience. Here are ten vocabulary words from the plays of Brian Friel.
Republican Representative John Boehner announced his resignation as Speaker of the House, and from the Congress altogether, on September 25, 2015 -- a move that will take effect at the end of October. Boehner had a tumultuous tenure as Speaker, featuring many disagreements both with his ideological opponents and those within his own party. On the occasion of his announcement, here are ten quotes from Boehner from his time in office about a wide range of issues.
Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra died on September 22, 2015 at the age of 90. Yogi was famous for his ability to misuse words in a way that looked not mistaken but wise and clever upon reflection, and some of his quotes, like "it ain't over til it's over," have become common in everyday speech. Here are 9 classic quotes from Yogi Berra himself and one about his baseball ability from another master of the baseball quip, Casey Stengel.
Oliver Sacks, neurologist and author of popular books on the workings of the mind, died on August 30, 2015 at the age of 82. In books like The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Awakenings, the latter of which was made into a film with Robin Williams and Robert De Niro, Sacks made highly unusual neurological cases relevant to a general audience by showing us what, neurologically speaking, makes human beings human. In recent months he had written eloquently in newspapers about facing death from the liver cancer that killed him. Here are eleven quotes from Sacks' life and work.
Amelia Boynton Robinson, known as the matriarch of the Civil Rights Movement, died on August 26 at the age of 104. Boynton Robinson was active in voter registration drives, with many of the planning sessions taking place at her house, and she is widely credited as the person who convinced Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. to come to Selma, Alabama and take up the cause there. In 1964, when most African-Americans were still struggling to secure the right to vote, Boynton Robinson ran for Congress, becoming the first female African-American to run for office in Alabama and the first woman of any race to run for the ticket of the Democratic Party in the state. Although she advocated and practiced non-violent protest, Boynton Robinson will forever be associated with a violent image of her seemingly lifeless body lying on the ground after she was beaten unconscious by police with billy clubs during the first Selma-to-Montgomery March, on March 7, 1965, a day which is known as "Bloody Sunday."...
Civil Rights icon Julian Bond died on August 15 at the age of 75. Bond was one of the original members of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which responded to incidents of violence and the policy of segregation throughout the southern United States with non-violent protests and demonstrations, such as lunch counter sit-ins, as well as voter registration drives. Bond was also the co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal advocacy group, and he later became chairman of the N.A.A.C.P. As these ten quotes demonstrate, Bond was an expert at describing the big picture and what he felt was at stake. Also in these quotes one finds a Julian Bond capable of providing a historical perspective. He was at the forefront of huge changes in American history, which also means he had a sense of what still needs to change.
Frank Gifford, New York Giant football star and Monday Night Football commentator died on August 9, 2015 at the age of 84. Gifford, both during his football career and in the broadcast booth, helped define the notion of the football celebrity and make football the national pastime and huge industry it has become. Gifford is also famous for being married to media personality Kathie Lee Gifford, and for being immortalized as the object of the author's obsession in Frederick Exley's A Fan's Notes. Here are eleven vocabulary words from quotes by Gifford and about him from Exley's novel.
Actor and folksinger Theodore Bikel died on July 21, 2015 at the age of 91. Bikel had many memorable roles in films, including a role in "The African Queen" and the film version of "My Fair Lady," but he was perhaps best known for his work on stage, where he created the role of Captain Von Trapp in "The Sound of Music" on Broadway and was well-known for his touring version of Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof." As the quotes below demonstrate, Bikel could speak his mind on complicated issues and make his position clear without making the opposition into a caricature, a rare talent among people in the public eye. Here are ten vocabulary words from quotes by Theodore Bikel.
Omar Sharif, noted actor and Bridge columnist and expert, died on July 10, 2015 of a heart attack at the age of 83. Sharif was of Egyptian descent and his roles in Lawrence of Arabia (alongside Peter O' Toole) and Dr. Zhivago made him the first Arab Hollywood screen idol in modern film history. Other notable roles include Nicky Arnstein in Funny Girl and the suspicious Major Grau in Night of the Generals, which reunited him with O' Toole. Here are 10 vocabulary words drawn from quotes from Sharif and dialogue from his films.
Hollywood mega-producer Jerry Weintraub died on July 6, 2015 at the age of 77. Weintraub started in music, producing concerts for Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, John Denver and even Elvis Presley. Weintraub entered the movie business and produced such huge hits at The Karate Kid, The Firm and the remake of Ocean's Eleven and its sequels. A list of credits doesn't do Weintraub justice, however. He knew and was friends with nearly everyone in Hollywood and as this list of quotes demonstrates, he was a consummate storyteller and great with an inspiring quip. Here are 10 quotes from Jerry Weintraub, possibly the only man ever to have been able to call both George Clooney and George H.W. Bush close friends.