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longueur (long-GUR) noun

A tedious passage in a work of literature or performing art.

[French, from Old French longor, a protracted discussion, from, long, from Latin longus.]

"The book is too long: twice the length of predecessors. There are longueurs, notably the culminating explications when the whole course of events is decoded. The denouements have been ponderous in earlier books, but this one had me struggling." Penelope Lively, Thursday Book: Harry's in robust form, although I'm left bug-eyed, The Independent - London, Jul 13, 2000.

I assumed it would be a humorous book but was I wrong. I'm talking about "How to Manage Your Mother," a very serious, $24 book released a few months ago. Perhaps it is a commentary on our time that that we need a 200 page tome to find out how to `manage' our moms. I'm sure the authors are furiously busy penning the sequel "How to Deal With Your Dad" and the subsequent, "How to Grapple With Your Grandparents". It is a large reflection on the state of our affairs when we need to consult books in the style of "How to Manage Your Money" for our parents.

It seems there is a how-to book for everything under the sun, and all the ills in our world could be cured if only we spend time with another such book. Until there comes along a book entitled "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Seven Habits on How to Improve Your Word Power in 24 Hours and Influence Others for Dummies," you will just have to do with A.Word.A.Day. This week it's words about books and writing. -Anu


The means by which we live have outdistanced the ends for which we live. Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. -Martin Luther King, Jr., civil-rights leader (1929-1968)

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