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Too Much

December 29, 1991

I am writing to inquire as to why the Sunday Book Review goes out of its way to impress the reader with words one is quite unlikely to ever hear again in one's day to day existence?

I look forward to reading the Book Review on Sundays, and I certainly enjoy learning new words, which I make an effort to add to my vocabulary. But is it really necessary to include words such as "ratiocinating" in reviewing "Edgar Allan Poe" by Kenneth Silverman? Or "otiose" and "synecdoche" in reviewing (of all people) "Dead Elvis" by David Foster Wallace??

Come on now! I have several erudite friends who were completely stumped by all three of the words mentioned above, which leaves me to believe that the Times Book Review is using extraordinary methods to baffle and unsettle the reader rather than simply review books in an intelligent, straightforward way without demanding the presence of Webster's dictionary before opening up the section.

SUSAN GROOTHUIS, YORBA LINDA

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