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Library Corner

July 7, 2011

What is that awful stink? P.U.!

Most of the time when we smell something bad, we utter "P.U." at the stink. Where does that come from? In Latin, "puteo" means to stink or smell bad. Many languages contain words referring to bad smells and most start with the letters "pu." English speakers have the word "phew" with a variety of meanings ranging from disgust to impatience to weariness. Linguists don't really know the origins of P.U., and it isn't an abbreviation of anything.

Many believe the P.U. is just an attempt at phonetically spelling what we say when something smells bad. The written form P.U. is known to be more than 60 years old, but no one can even confirm when those two letters came into widespread use. No matter, we all know that when something stinks, P.U. is the perfect word to describe it.

Newly Arrived books

Marshall Stone was a pilot in World War II and was shot down in occupied Europe. He fled the scene and was helped by local people, avoiding being captured by the Nazis. One girl in particular risked her life to save him, a girl in a blue beret. Decades later, he returns to the same Belgian field where it all happened. He wants to find the people who helped him to thank them. Author Bobbie Ann Mason's "The Girl in the Blue Beret" is based on the wartime experiences of her late father-in-law.

"Breaking Silence," a novel by Linda Castillo, finds three members of the Slabaugh family dead in their barn. At first, it appears there was poor ventilation in their cesspit. When the coroner discovers one person with a head wound, it changes everything. The Slabaughs are hard-working Amish with four children. Why would anyone want to harm them or leave their children orphans?

Tony Beshara is a top recruiter in Texas. His newest book, "Unbeatable Resumes," shows you how to create killer resumes. Learn who you should call, how often, what you should say, and how to make your application stand out. Online resources, cover letters and real-life examples will help you create a great resume.

Margo Crane, 16, decides to take her life in her own hands after the death of her father. In the novel "Once Upon a River" by Bonnie Jo Campbell, you'll watch Margo roll down the Stark River in her grandfather's canoe ,with only a few supplies and her trusty rifle. She is in search of her mother and as she journeys through rural Michigan, she must show an inner strength to survive and navigate the natural world.

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