[Ads-l] Quote: It is not a book to be lightly thrown aside. It should be thrown with great force (Update)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jun 25 03:05:56 EDT 2021

Way back in 2010, 2011, and 2013 the quip in the subject line was
discussed on this mailing list. Fred Shapiro, Sam Clements, Bonnie
Taylor-Blake and others have explored the origin of this joke. Here is
a link to a 2013 message:


I finally located the pertinent column by Sid Ziff in the "Mirror
News" of Los Angeles. The earliest instance of this joke appeared in
Ziff's column on December 18, 1958, but he credited an unnamed critic.

Here is a link to the Quote Investigator article. It has been updated,
but the changes will not be visible to visitors for a couple days.

This Is Not a Novel To Be Tossed Aside Lightly. It Should Be Thrown
with Great Force

Here is an excerpt from the beginning of the QI article:

QI has not yet identified the creator of this comical barb, but QI
believes that the most likely target of the mockery was titled "To You
I Tell It" by Bill Miller who was a boxing publicist and newspaper
columnist. In 1929 Miller collected material from his columns and
published it in book form. His work was not universally panned;
instead, it initially received praise from colleagues.

In November 1929 the famous journalist and tale-spinner Damon Runyon
complimented it by saying, "There is plenty of bang in the little
volume." [1] In December 1929 boxing columnist Marty J. Berg also
published a positive remark, "His book, a 250 page affair, is
positively hilarious from cover to cover." [2]

Almost three decades later in 1958, Miller's book was mentioned by Sid
Ziff who wrote "The Inside Track" column in the "Mirror News" of Los
Angeles, California. Ziff stated that the clever insult under
examination was aimed at the book by an unnamed reviewer. Boldface
added to excerpts by QI: [3]

[Begin excerpt]
Miller, who contributes now and again to Inside Track, once wrote a
book titled "To You I Tell It." It received mixed reviews. One critic
said: "It is not a book to be lightly thrown aside. It should be
thrown with great force . . ."
[End excerpt]

The joke was rephrased and reassigned to Dorothy Parker in 1962 by
publisher Bennett Cerf who enjoyed collecting and popularizing

[1] 1929 November 30, Allentown Morning Call, Damon Runyon Rambles
Along by Damon Runyon, Quote Page 18, Column 2, Allentown,
Pennsylvania. (Newspapers_com)

[2] 1929 December 4, The Evening News, Breezy Bits O' Boxing by Marty
J. Berg, Quote Page 17, Column 7, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

[3] 1958 December 18, Mirror News, The Inside Track by Sid Ziff
(Mirror News Sports Editor), Part 4, Quote Page 1, Column 1, Los
Angeles, California. (Newspapers_com)


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list