Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations 4/e (Oxford Quick Reference) Paperback – 14 Dec 2012
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Review from previous edition The ultimate guide to the sharpest, wryest and wittiest quips, put-downs and one-liners (Romford Recorder)
However you like your humour, there will be something here for you and I defy you to leaf through it and find nothing to bring a smile to the lips. (Herts Advertiser)
Does not disappoint... a brilliant manual for writers, after-dinner speakers and best men (South Wales Evening Post)
As always this companion instructs through laughter (Contemporary Review)
Buy the book (Beachcomber, Daily Express)
About the Author
Ned Sherrin was one of Britain's best known broadcasters and raconteurs.
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Unfortunately however my original copy was 'appropriated' and I have been seeking a replacement ever since.I was therefore delighted to find this hardback copy at Amazon which, for the princely sum of 1 pence, I could hardly refuse to buy.
Thank you Ned Sherrin, and thank you Amazon !
The quotations are ordered thematically + indexed both by author and keywords, which I found very useful.
The page size and font used are large enough and thus very readable.
I was very happy with the inclusion of short synopsis of the author and context/place of the quotation.
As I mentioned in my other reviews of similar books - it's bound to have some quotations that will make you laugh out loud, some less and some will make you raise an eyebrow, but overall I think it's great.
As with other compilations I found it a bit not in place to include complete poems as quotations, however in comparison to other similar books I've ordered and reviewed this one seems to be the best researched and presented.
The downside of this compilation is that although it's a 2008 edition, the first one was published in 1995, and there's less contemporary stuff. You won't find here memorable quotations from big TV hits like Father Ted, Absolutely Fabulous, Only Fools & Horses, Blackadder, The Simpsons, Vicar of Dibely and such, as are thankfully presented in the very funny but poorly researched The Funniest Thing You Never Said: The Ultimate Collection of Humorous Quotations.
In fairness, and as other reviewers have noted, it pretty much does what it says on the cover - but please note use of the word "Humorous", not "witty" or "funny", and that (in my humble opinion) is where the problem lies.
There's no doubt the book is well crafted - its subject matter and reference data are well compiled and detailed. It's the sort of book that a nasal bore or a librarian would put together...too much focus on the reference and indices (c200 pages) and not enough on the content (c300 pages).
There are other issues that irked me, for example the number of song lyrics, which I really don't consider as quotations. So overall, I felt that whilst many of the quotations are clever or humorous, they're not necessarily funny.
So I ask the question, What is the point of this Dictionary? If I want to be entertained, I want it to be funny, not a series of cleverly constructed words, and there are funnier and more concise books out there, doing the job much better than this.
So, potential readers, my copy (Hardback) is off to the Charity Shop.
As it would imply, this work is set out Theme-wise in alphabetical order, with an Author and a keyword alphabetical index at the rear, both of which are very useful for reference purposes.
It is never going to compete for belly-laughs with the anecdotal and quotation works of Des MacHale, Rosemarie Jarski, and others, but it doesn't endeavour to. It is a very comprehensive (over 500 pages) collection and classification of thousands of quotations, gathered across the broad spectrum of literature, theatre, poetry, songs, politics, the media, and more. Whilst containing many of the more famous witticisms from the likes of Dorothy Parker, Woody Allen, W C Fields, Oscar Wilde, and Mencken, it also contains much more material that doesn't see the light of day too often and is interesting and refreshing to absorb.
It is a reference work of considerable merit, that will give many years (lifetime) of good service. It is not have to be read through in haste but picked up now and again or referred to when seeking a specific topic, maybe for inclusion into a speech, letter, or Amazon review:-
"Good taste and humour...are a contradiction in terms, like a chaste whore." (Malcolm Muggeridge)
Not a straight read, and this is not a true dictionary,but a dip into at any time kind of book.
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