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  • Allie

Kick off your sneakers, and pick up a book—it’s Wordy Wednesday!

I recently returned to running again. Dude, running is hard, especially when it’s so hot out. When I put on my exercise gear (mask included) and get outside, it doesn’t take long for me to feel like:

Thankfully, today is my day off. Forget running, I’ve got books to read!

Bookmark with green, red, yellow, and blue circles next to book Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener

Today I’m digging into Uncanny Valley, a memoir by Anna Wiener about her years working in the tech industry. So far, I love it. Her story takes place in a setting unlike anything I’ve experienced. To an extent I can relate to the workplace sexism, but she describes it occurring at such an extreme level. While she has a way of encapsulating her Silicon Valley observations into beautiful language, nevertheless those observations ring dark and unnerving. I wonder if (and how) she leaves the world of tech, and how she will address her complicity in an industry that has neglected to write its moral code. 

Below are three words from Uncanny Valley, the sentences in which I found them, and their Oxford definitions. Next I use them in a sentence myself. That final step makes all the difference to adopt the word into my lexicon, and I recommend giving it a try! You can even share your own sentences in the comment section below. 

1. milquetoast

“Dating websites were flooded with milquetoast strivers who earnestly listed business-management guides among their favorite books and arrived at dinner wearing backpacks stamped with the names of their employers” (25).

adjective: feeble, insipid, or bland.

noun: a timid or feeble person

Origin: 1930s from the name of a cartoon character, Caspar Milquetoast, created by H. T. Webster in 1924.

Why did we have to move? I can’t see myself making friends with any of these milquetoasts, I thought to myself.

2. halcyon

“The city, trapped in a nostalgia for its own mythology, stuck in a hallucination of halcyon past, had not quite caught up to the newfound momentum of tech’s dark triad: capital, power, and a bland, overcorrected, heterosexual masculinity” (48).

Adjective: denoting a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy and peaceful.

The halcyon days of my youth involved sand art kits, beanie buddy crafts, and Lisa Frank coloring books. 

3. claque

“Don’t encourage your claque, I thought” (200).


  1. a group of sycophantic followers.

  2. a group of people hired to applaud (or heckle) a performer or public speaker.

Trump imagines his claque to be much bigger than it actually is. 

Thanks for joining me this Wordy Wednesday. Until next time, stay cool, and happy reading! 

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