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Dr Johnson's Dictionary of Modern Life: Survey, Definition & justify'd Lampoonery of divers contemporary Phenomena, from Top Gear unto Twitter [Hardcover]

Tom Morton
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 Sep 2010

In 2009 Dr Samuel Johnson made a surprise re-emergence from eighteenth century retirement and began Twittering. It proved the perfect vehicle for his acerbic, aphoristic wit and he has quickly become the darling of the site. The Guardian calls him the 'greatest' thing on Twitter and the Telegraph dubs him its 'star'.

Our gouty man of letters finds the modern world in a parlous state. It is peopled with fools like "Raisin-ey'd Tyrant Mister Nick GRIFFIN" and "BABOON-SLAYER, Fop, Macaroni, Dandy & Folderol, Mister AA Gill". His attempts to negotiate a path through the vagaries of modern life do not fare well either - for instance, on a trip to "Mister LIBERTY'S blast'd Haberdashery", upon finding "all else clad as Lumber-Jacks, I left thwart'd & alone... unwilling to dress as an unmanly Pastiche of Mister COBAIN."

In his Dictionary of Modern Life, our gouty man of letters takes a wickedly funny look at all things modern. From Top Gear and the Daily Mail to Dubstep and Celebrity Big Brother, nothing escapes his sardonic gaze.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Square Peg (2 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224086685
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224086684
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 20.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 373,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"An actual genius" (Ben Goldacre)

"Hilarious" (Peter Serafinowicz)

Book Description

In this hilarious update of his original Dictionary, bewigged lexicographer Dr Samuel Johnson takes a curmudgeonly look at modern life, from Celebrity Big Brother to David Cameron.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! 4 Jan 2011
This is worth every penny. I had already read a preview of the book and knew what to expect but I find the humour consistently good throughout the book. Dipping into it at random brightens up the day!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cleverdic! 7 Nov 2012
By Sue Kichenside TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Here is Dr Johnson on the Booker Prize: Cabal of Necromancers & Shamen meeting once yearly to endow but one Book with mythick Popularity.

Kindle: Tablet 'pon whose ephemeral Surface the reader may survey Works of Titillation and aver them to be learned Essays, &c

Nacho: triangulat'd Spanish Biscuit, flavour'd as a Footman's SHOE.

Cool dude, methinks.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very witty and entertaining 28 Dec 2010
This is a very funny book of comedic definitions referencing modern British pop culture. It's great to randomly open any page and be entertained.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ingenius 24 Nov 2010
I was a bit sceptical of this book at first, suspecting the humour may be a little obvious. However, the update on Dr Johnson's Dictionary proves to be a delight and would make an ideal present for wordy friends. It's as if the great man himself has descended from his Regency tower to scrutinise the detritus of early 21st Century life.

My favourites:

X Factor: Saturday night ruin'd by Tear-Stain'd Orphan-Protector Mister Louis Walsh & his Retinue of singing Urchins

Innit: a Contraction of 'is it not', said for Emphasis: Admiral Byng was shot pour encourager les autres, innit

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable 3 Sep 2010
Hilarious. Got this yesterday and as I flick through, dip in and laugh out loud to I find myself looking at the world in a whole new way. "Dariylea - armour-plated Triangle of whitish Salt-Paste, once believ'd to be a distant Relative of Cheese". I'm now longing to discover his view of all not in this comprehensive volume that will help me take the little things in life a lot less seriously.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A risible gallimaufry, upon my oath! 15 April 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
What we have here is a witty and amusing commentary on many aspects of modern life. Well, there are a number of these around, so what makes this different? Answer: the idea of presenting it as if it were written by Dr Johnson, not just in language but in attitude and in mordancy. The author has done a really good job, and the result is a book you can read through in great chunks or savour in small doses with equal enjoyment. Some of the pop culture references are already getting a little dated by that detracts little from what is a well-crafted and entertaining work. HINT- To get the best out of it, don't skim, take it slowly and read the words to yourself as you go, savouring every phrase.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastick. 25 Mar 2013
By Rubicon
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Although I did audibly guffaw several times (Danny Dyer, Paul Gascoigne amongst others) this book is wittily amusing rather than laugh out loud funny.
Highly recommended- diverse observations perceptively handled.
I wish I had thought of this myself.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not too bad, but could have been much better.
I have to agree with gnomedeplume's review, this book certainly does come across as hurried in its composition. Read more
Published 10 months ago by J. G. Roland
4.0 out of 5 stars You'll Cut Yourself with that Wit of Yours
'Dr Johnson's Dictionary of Modern Life' was written (or compiled, I'm not sure which) by Tom Morton, based upon a number of Twitter posts. Read more
Published 21 months ago by WriteStuff
5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Worthy Addition to the Musings of Dr Johnson
This is a highly amusing, nay corset busting laugh of a book. It's such a pity the English language has become so monosylabic in today's young people and this book quite rightly... Read more
Published on 16 Feb 2012 by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars In his attempt to describe contemporary phenomena; Dr J succeeds in...
Occasionally funny, though rarely laugh out loud, and sometimes annoyingly smug: what makes for an excellent twitter feed doesn't quite stretch to full length book. Read more
Published on 6 Oct 2010 by gnomedeplume
5.0 out of 5 stars Pitch Perfect
Tom's first book is simply 'pitch perfect' according to Time magazine and I have to agree 100%.
It is a mirror for our time, when faced with a bewildering array of dross... Read more
Published on 15 Sep 2010 by S. C. Morton
5.0 out of 5 stars Forsooth I Did Laugh My Britches Off
I won't repeat my favourite bits because no doubt you've heard quite a few of them already on Radio 4 or seen some in the newspapers. Read more
Published on 9 Sep 2010 by Simon Veksner
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