The funnest books for word nerds

Ex Libris – Anne Fadiman Fadiman’s ode to the written word comes without cliché and the cloying associations of font, binding and library smells. There’s wit, anecdote and awesome turns of phrase

Verbatim, edited by Erin McKean - Abandon friends and family for these addictive chapters on slang, certain four-letter words, the history of love letters, et al.

The Meaning of Tingo – Adam Jacot de Bonoid photo: cc/David Trawin
The Meaning of Tingo – Adam Jacot: de Bonoid Italians have a term for a “rekindled romance”, Indonesians have a separate one for “take off your clothes and dance”, Japanese have a word for “looking worse after a haircut”. Unsual words and unusual meanings here. English will seem woefully inadequate.

The Language Instinct, by Stephen Pinker photo: cc/David Trawin
The Language Instinct, by Stephen Pinker:
How different languages connect to the brain differently (the key is verbs!) and puts into words what the brain can’t put into words.

Hobson-Jobson: The Anglo-Indian Dictionary photo: cc/David Trawin
Hobson-Jobson: The Anglo-Indian Dictionary:
This is the best way to see just how the east has influenced thought, word and life in the west. Did the ‘pariah’ cause a ‘hullabaloo’ in the ‘gymkhana’ after a ‘shampoo’? We know why.

From HT Brunch, September 30

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also read

The curious case of the vanishing Parsis

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