Oxymoronica is an addictive little book of paradoxical sayings presented by a lover of the English language who has amassed thousands of them. Dr. Mardy Grothe coined the term "oxymoronica" to suggest not just a contradiction of terms, but a contradiction of ideas.

"You'd be surprised how much it costs to look this cheap." Beneath this sweet self-deprecation of Dolly Parton lies a pointed observation about popular images. From a different corner of musical culture comes this remark on Mozart's sonatas: "they are too easy for children, and too difficult for adults." The author ranges across every conceivable region of human affairs, for willful self-contradiction abounds in them all. There's even a final chapter of "inadvertent" paradoxes, where President Bush plays a central role: "People say I'm indecisive, but I don't know about that." Many of the sayings take some time to sort out, like any good puzzle. "I find nothing more depressing than optimism." "To oppose something is to maintain it." Then there are the ones that had better not be true, however witty they may be: "I never read a book before reviewing it; it prejudices one so."

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