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I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them.



  
From a random review:

  

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Garg, Anu: Another Word a Day

  

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Wiley © 2005, 226 pages [amazon]
3.5 stars

Anu Garg has been sending out his A Word a Day mailings to his linguaphilic subscriber base--some half a million strong at this point--for more than a decade. Another Word a Day is the second book to spring from this enterprise. (His A Word a Day was published in 2002.) In it Garg follows the format of his subscription list. The book is divided into 52 thematic chapters: calendar-related words (bissextile), words that are apparent misspellings of other words (monestrous), words about words (hyperbole), and so on. Garg discusses five words per chapter, providing for each its pronunciation, syntax, etymology, definition, and an example, usually culled from some modern source, of the word in print. (For example, for the word cruciverbalist Garg uses a passage from Booklist discussing Parnell Hall's series of crossword mysteries.) A quote from some famous person appears at the bottom of most pages of the book--though these quotes aren't relevant to the words under discussion in the text. Each chapter also includes a number of responses from readers of Garg's mailings. These are set off in boxes, which serves to break up what would otherwise be a monotonous layout. They are also sometimes rather interesting--for example, the seventeen different explanations Garg's readers offered for the origin of the term eighty-six as a verb meaning "to throw out." And a Seattle reader draws a nice parallel between hapax legomena (words with only one recorded use) and Googlewhacking:

Hapax Legooglemenon
"A recent variant on finding singularity in a large corpus, namely the sport, pastime, and occasional obsession of Googlewhacking. You challenge the awesome indexing capabilities of Google.com to find that elusive query (two words--no quotation marks) with a single, solitary result!"
-- Mike Pope, Seattle, Washington

You'll be happy to become acquainted with some of the words and etymologies in Garg's corpus--dasypygal means "having hairy buttocks"; "helpmeet" comes from an erroneous interpretation of a Biblical passage.You'll be happy to become acquainted with some of the words and etymologies in Garg's corpus--dasypygal means "having hairy buttocks"; "helpmeet" comes from an erroneous interpretation of a Biblical passage. Some of the entries are less compelling. I most enjoyed the more conversational parts of the book, the reader responses already mentioned and the brief discussions with which Garg introduces each chapter. I would have enjoyed the book as a whole more if the entries included lengthier discussions--more on a word's history in popular culture, perhaps, memorable anecdotes attached to the words, however tangentially--but I realize that that is not the format Garg follows in his mailings.

Linguaphiles will enjoy Another Word a Day, but reading it straight through is not recommended except to the most voracious verbivore: this is more of a book you'll want to nibble on from time to time.

Review summary: Anu Garg has been sending out his A Word a Day mailings to his linguaphilic subscriber base for more than a decade. Another Word a Day is the second book to spring from this enterprise. In it Garg discusses some 260 words, following the format of his subscription list. The book is divided into 52 thematic chapters, with five words discussed per chapter. Garg provides for each its pronunciation, syntax, etymology, definition, and an example of the word used in some print publication. Each chapter also includes a number of responses from readers of Garg's mailings.

I would have enjoyed the book more if the entries included lengthier, more conversational discussions, but I realize that that is not the format Garg follows in his mailings. Linguaphiles will enjoy Another Word a Day, but reading it straight through is not recommended except to the most voracious verbivore.

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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.