Here's a book for our time: "Encyclopedia Neurotica" by Jon Winokur, foreword by Richard Lewis (St. Martin's Press, 274 pp., $23. 95). Winokur, author of "The...

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Here’s a book for our time: “Encyclopedia Neurotica” by Jon Winokur, foreword by Richard Lewis (St. Martin’s Press, 274 pp., $23.95). Winokur, author of “The Portable Curmudgeon,” catalogs the twitches and eccentricities of the 21st century with up-to-date definitions, of which we herewith offer a couple:


Retail therapy:

“Shopping as a means of comfort, relaxation, or mood elevation, or to mask emotional problems; merchandise as medication. Retail therapy can range from the palliative novelty of buying a new handbag, to the purchase of useless items from QVC, to the attempt to buy your way into the future, as when an ambitious young executive buys a car he can’t afford hoping it will enhance his prospects for promotion to a higher-paying job (which will allow him to afford the car.)”


Divorce jewelry:

“Baubles from a former marriage melted down and reworked into new pieces. Women who have tried it say the melting process yields a therapeutic thrill.”

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And so forth, and so on. Back to our library of “Monk” reruns.

Mary Ann Gwinn, Seattle Times book editor