Cover Image: Jumping sharks and dropping mics

Jumping sharks and dropping mics

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Jumping Sharks and Dropping Mics by author Garett Carrol is a book that explains pop culture idioms and their origins, focused on idioms in the UK and US. This book would be great for teens and adults born after the genesis of these popular expressions and for those learning the English language. For me, a Gen X-er, I didn’t learn a lot of new information and wasn’t personally interested in the UK-specific idioms.

I am a library associate and received an advance copy from #NetGalley. Opinion are my own.
Was this review helpful?
A fascinating treat for writers, linguists, and lovers of language with a book entirely about idioms with a study of how certain ones stemmed from our "modern" sources of TV and movies (and more), only to become embedded in our language today. This tour provided takes you through some of these phrases and explores why these idioms have become important to our everyday vocab. The primary focus of this book is on the specific idioms that have entered our language in the more recent decades (after the creation of TV catchphrases and movies). As someone who has always appreciated the various tweaks of our language that makes it stand out, it's fun to see deeper exploration on idioms already known and ones that haven't been heard of. The book explores how modern conveniences and extracurriculars have given way to notable phrases and how some shifted in meaning by strange means. An example is how Friends (the show that everyone knows) was given credit with popularizing "the friend zone," "being commando," "being on a break," and a "moo point", along with other major pop culture additions (everyone knows "the Rachel" haircut). 

Examples of these famous phrases include "Can I phone a friend," "shrimp on the barbie," "not in Kansas anymore," and popular things like "bucket list" and "groundhog's day." We all know these sayings and most have seen where they've been derived from but it's so commonly used that how many really think about where they've come from. Then there are things that have brought so much popularity that made-up languages have been incorporated such as "Star Wars" terminology being highly influential on our language. Delves into phrases we're all familiar with such as Frankenstein's monster, Jekyll and Hyde, the scarlet letter, and any phrase from Alice in Wonderland. There are common phrases we use that perhaps we don't know actually came from such as brave new world (from The Tempest), dead as a doornail (from Henry VI), and break the ice (from Taming the Shrew). What's with the name? Jump the shark means that a TV show (or other entertainment franchise) has run out of ideas that are logical and have resorted to something ludicrous (or completely off base with the reality of the show) in an attempt to bolster ratings. Nuke the fridge (coming from "Indiana Jones") is another way of saying "jump the shark" though with a more unique twist on it.
Was this review helpful?
This made for an interesting read, lots to learn in this book! 

Thank you NetGalley for my complimentary copy in return for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This is a great, well-researched collection of modern day idioms and their origins. I chose to read this book as a change of pace from fiction and it served the purpose well. It was fascinating to read the deep dive origin stories of so many phrases that have become standard for us, yet I’d never thought to consider how they came into mainstream use. The author’s passion for the subject is evident throughout. Each topic and idiom has been methodically traced as far back as possible which must have been a pain staking effort as the majority originated before all content went online. I enjoyed that one idiom often linked back to the history of another discussed in an earlier chapter, attention directed when there has been mis-crediting of an idiom’s origin, and the fun and sometimes whimsical reasons certain phrases actually take hold and gain global popularity. 

Thank you to NetGalley and John Hunt Publishng Ltd. For allowing me to read this gem in advance!
Was this review helpful?
This was a fun little read good for occasional browsing. The collection of idioms is a little random, and as a US reader I was sometimes completely lost as this seems targeted at a UK audience, especially when the sports section kept talking about cricket. But I did learn the phrase "difficult difficult, lemon difficult" (vs "easy peasy, lemon squeezy") so that's fun!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read an early copy of this book! I'm just a few months late.
Was this review helpful?
British-centric and a whole lot of fun…

Do you ever wonder where the words and phrases you use all the time actually came from? Who said them? How did they become part of the everyday vocabulary? Wonder no more as the author takes you on a whirlwind journey of time and space…

Well, perhaps not space, but he hit many of the more reachable places. Digging into TV and film, sports and pop culture, their birth and history of so many of the catch phrases I know, love and use (and some brand new) were explained. In a conversational style, each idiom was brought to life in bite-size snippets easy to consume and enjoy. And I did just that.

If you love language and digging into the ‘why’, you will enjoy it too.
Was this review helpful?
It was dull and uninteresting. Most of the idioms you would know where they came from unless you were born within the last couple years. Overall it wasn’t really worth the read.
Was this review helpful?
Princess Fuzzypants here:  I never watched the Happy Days episode where Fonzie “jumped the shark” but it is an expression that I have heard many times.  This is a fun book, probably not one to sit down and read cover to cover at one time but to dip into and out of at will.  It looks at some very popular idioms from both sides of the Atlantic and investigates from whence they came.

Some are pretty straightforward.  Some are a bit more obscure.  But all convey a specific idea even though the words on their own are not describing the situation.  But once it becomes part of the language, it’s meaning becomes nigh on universal.   So if you happen to be a wordsmith or you just get a “kick” out of learning how things evolved, you will enjoy this book.  Four purrs and two paws up.
Was this review helpful?
Jumping sharks and dropping mics is a book that discusses the origins of certain well-known English idioms. For someone with an interest in linguistics, I thought this was well-thought-out and executed. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and I can't wait to read potentially the second volume with some more idioms (if another ever comes out).

I received a copy of the book by NetGalley but the opinions in this review are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Did you ever wonder where the from "Jumping Sharks" comes from?  Well, then this is definitely the book for you!  This book is FULL of fun facts that you can amaze your family & friends with .  I enjoyed reading this book and learning the interesting things that are here!
Was this review helpful?
This book has a good premise and is good for any people out there like myself that like to find out where sayings come from. It was a bit dry at parts where I found myself skimming, whereas other sections were more interesting.
Was this review helpful?
“In some ways, memes are the Internet version of idioms. They emerge, often in response to a particular event or from a particular subculture, and slowly but surely make their way around the world (virtually, at least).”

Memes, expressions, idioms, these are the colourful words and phrases that have infiltrated the English language from slang and various fields of entertainment. The author has divided them into sections, including TV, film, internet, sport, and literature.

Many are obvious and commonplace, like "moving the goalposts" or "not rocket science". Some are unfamiliar (to me, anyway), "omnishambles" or "hairdryer treatment". Some are familiar and quite new, "wardrobe malfunction" and "OK, boomer".

He writes a short description of the background and meaning and where we’re likely to find these phrases. Advertising has been responsible for many: "does what it says on the tin" (slogan for Ronseal, UK manufacturer), and movies for others: "You’re gonna need a bigger boat" (“Jaws”).

I had never heard hairdryer treatment (perhaps I should get out more?), so as an example of his explanations, I’ll share this one.

“The hairdryer treatment:

‘To shout forcibly and directly at someone whilst telling them off.’ Sir Alex Ferguson managed Manchester United from 1986 to 2013, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most successful domestic football managers in the history of the English game. Several phrases have been attributed to him . . . either directly or indirectly. One such example is the ‘hairdryer treatment’, which derives from his habit of showing his displeasure at a poor performance by shouting at players with such ferocity that it was like having a hairdryer blasted into their faces. . .

Myth or not, the idea is now a common way to describe the approach of coaches (in football and other sports) who favour a ‘tough love’ approach.”

That was a new one to me. Others I’m familiar with, like "drink the Kool-Aid" or "Catch-22", are explained for those who don’t know where they came from.

Here’s one that has become more popular recently, but “(Judy Garland nonchalantly tossed away her microphone as she walked off stage after performing on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1965)”. Mind you, she wasn’t making the kind of “so there!” statement that later hip-hop performers, rappers, and comedians began making with a “triumphalist air”.

“DROP THE MIC/MIC DROP: ‘An expression of triumph at the end of a speech or performance; an impressive action that has a show-stopping effect.’ Dropping the mic is an action by a performer to signal that what had been said or done is so impressive that no follow-up or response is required, or would even be worth listening to.”

It’s an easy read, with some curious history of how our language evolves. I’d like to say in defence of the young people who dismiss elders with “OK, Boomer” that these are the same young people we have often dismissed with “OK, Kid”, meaning “that’s about enough out of you, thanks.”

This is one to put on the shelf with your other curious collectibles. Good fun. Thanks to NetGalley and John Hunt Publishing.
Was this review helpful?
This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader.
The subtitle pretty much tells you everything you need to know. This is a look at several idioms, expressions, and figures of speech that have entered common usage over since the latter half of the twentieth century.

The introductory chapter describes idioms and their usage, the various types of idioms, the history of a few not-modern examples, and so on. This chapter was great and I could've used a whole book on this topic. But that's something for a future library trip, I guess.

Following that we get chapters devoted to: Idioms from TV (including from commercials); Movies; The Internet (memes, hashtags, and so on); Sports; Modern Literature; and then a handful that have entered common usage without a tie to any of the rest, some from the news. that sort of thing.

Carrol talks about the origin and spread of each idiom, notable uses outside the source, and clarifies the meaning—and other commentary or trivia.

Early on there was something in the back of my mind, like I was missing something. Then I ran across the phrase "TV advert," and a lightbulb went on over my head. This book comes from the other side of the Atlantic, which is going to affect a little bit what idioms are used.

I'm not complaining or anything, I just had to tweak my expectations and go in knowing that there were going to be a few things I had no previous exposure to or that I'd be going into without the necessary frame of reference.

The Sports chapter did nothing for me—most of that is my utter disinterest in the category, but a decent chunk of that is due to the number of cricket references. They might as well have been in Greek.

On the other end of the spectrum, as one might expect, the chapter devoted to Modern Literature was my favorite. Not just because of the page or two devoted to Douglas Adams, either. The section on The Right Stuff was a lot of fun.

There weren't a lot of idioms that were new to me, but there were a handful—I've tried them out a little bit in the few days since I read the book, I'm not sure they're going to stick, but you never know. It's fun to watch people try to suss out what I meant, at least.

The book was a lot of fun, I appreciated re-familiarizing myself with some of these phrases, and I learned a couple of things, too. It was an entertaining read and just the kind of thing that language nerds should really enjoy.
Was this review helpful?
Jumping Sharks and Dropping Mics – what a great title! Gareth Carrol is a senior lecturer and researcher at the University of Birmingham in England, and has long been fascinated by idioms – what they are, where they came from, what they mean. Thanks to John Hunt Publishing and NetGalley I received a copy of this book in exchange for this honest review. 

Professor Carrol has a sense of humor as well as serious knowledge. This will be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in language, culture, and entertainment. Note that it is more centered on British language, but still interesting. Four stars.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this book and learning the modern idioms in our language. It is UK-based so there are some idioms I have never heard. Nevertheless, I enjoyed learning new words/sayings.
Was this review helpful?
This is a good coffee table or bathroom book. There were some examples in the book I was familiar with but many I wasn't. The preview version lacked visual items like pictures or color art, but I hope the actual version has some pictures or colors to add for interesting features.
Was this review helpful?
This was interesting to read, however,  I have never hear of a lot of the idioms before. Also at times I felt the history of the saying was a bit lengthy. I do however feel this is a good book for those that enjoy knowing where a saying comes from and what it really means.
Was this review helpful?
Jumping Sharks and Dropping Mics is a fascinating analysis of modern idioms - those short phrases or expressions that find their way into the vernacular - often without users having any idea where they originated. I came across this while browsing on NetGalley and was intrigued by the title and description; I don’t read much non-fiction, but liked the idea of learning more about the quirks of the English language. The author acknowledges that many British English idioms derive from naval terms, Shakespeare or the Bible, but here focuses on newer examples - many of which I have found myself googling in recent years.

Carrol begins by analysing what exactly idioms are - and aren’t - and why they matter. Our assumptions on what that actually mean are often wrong eg “to kick the bucket” and they go in and out of fashion. He then has chapters grouping his examples by their most obvious source, starting with TV; most of the idioms he analyses are from the 20th century, including the titular “Jump the Shark” - which for those who don’t know, started after an episode of Happy Days. The Movies chapter repeats this trend, although does have some more recent selections that I didn’t recognise, perhaps proving his thesis that it takes time before expressions become well known enough to be freely used out of context - like the terms Bunny Boiler or Usual Suspects (I’m old enough to remember both films from first time round!) 

The most modern chapter, unsurprisingly, was about the Internet - including where the term “break the internet” came from, followed by a less interesting (to me at least) chapter on sporting idioms - although at least I now know what “squeaky bum time” means. The literature chapter uses all 20th century books - in some ways the only disappointing section for me, as I’m sure he could’ve found more recent examples than Brave New World and Catch-22. Finally there’s a miscellaneous section with examples from politics and pop culture - the one I remember googling most recently was “drop the mic” - I still don’t really get that one - too old probably. At the end is a list of website references for those who want to read more: it certainly is an engrossing subject and I would’ve liked the book to be longer, but will no doubt look into some of the links when I have more time.

Overall this was a highly enjoyable dive into the world of strange sayings and I would recommend it to anyone who loves or wants to learn more about the English language. Thanks to NetGalley and John Hunt Publishing for the ARC. I am posting this honest review voluntarily.
Jumping Sharks and Dropping Mics is published on February 25th.
Was this review helpful?
This is a fascinating book about idioms, which are such a strange part of any culture. It was definitely a book to take in smaller sections rather than reading all at once, but truly interesting to see the origins of some phrases I knew and others that were less familiar. 

*ARC through Netgalley
Was this review helpful?
This was a fun and fascinating read!   Common idioms and expressions are traced back to their roots in entertainment, sports, etc. and their cultural impact is explored.   This is written for a UK audience, so as a US reader it was doubly interesting to see what expressions are shared and to learn the backstory behind unfamiliar phrases.   This would be a fun pick for word nerds and pop culture enthusiasts!

Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review!
Was this review helpful?