Reading Room

Queerty’s Fall Reading Recommendations: David Rakoff, John Boyne, And More

Melissa Mohr’s Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing manages to be both informative and laugh-out-loud funny at the same time. In it, she examines the origins of the vulgarisms we use in everyday life.

Mohr looks at the obscenities of ancient Rome — which were remarkably similar to our own — and unearths the history of religious oaths in the Middle Ages, when swearing (or not swearing) an oath was often a matter of life and death. She discusses the advancement of civility and corresponding censorship of language in the 18th century, the rise of racial slurs after World War II, the physiological effects of swearing (increased heart rate and greater pain tolerance), and answers a question that preoccupies the FCC, the US Senate, and anyone who has overheard young children at a playground: are we swearing more now than people did in the past?

The book is quirky, hilarious, and it just might expand your repertoire of words to choose from the next time you slam your finger in the car door.

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3 Comments

  • boring

    Couldn’t care less – the new Pynchon is out September 17th and that’s all I’ll ever need.

  • JohnnyDC

    Great list- I’ve added a couple to my Amazon wish list.

  • viveutvivas

    Please put it all on one page. I don’t do click-throughs and I believe I speak for the majority.

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