Books for Word-lovers

02/12/2015

We are a very visual culture, but there is still an irresistible allure held by language. The library carries plenty of books to amuse the logophile – the lover of words. Maybe you enjoy a little etymological trivia, or you have a calendar that offers you a new word every day. Or maybe you just can’t resist the sound and shape of the most eccentric, delicious examples of language.

 

 Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words From Around the World – A selection from  several different  languages to help you pinpoint exactly the word for what you’re experiencing. With accompanying illustrations,  this is a charming  picture book, and you are certain to find a word that captures something you thought defied language.

 

 

 

The End of the Alphabet – This brief and beautiful novel connects a love of the alphabet and words to the story of a man’s final travels with his wife. A delicately written book, each word is placed just so. Perfect for a day sitting by the window, watching the bad weather outside and thinking of all the wonderful places a person can go in life. A is for... 

 

 

 

 

  Alphabetique – A surprising collection of very short stories, one for each letter of the alphabet. Each letter is a character with  a story of its own: sometimes playful, sometimes sad, almost always alliterative. Beautifully designed with illustrations by Kara Kosaka.

 

 

 

 

Foyle’s Philavery – A straightforward collection of unusual words. The term “Philavery” was invented by the author to describe this very book: “a collection of words chosen simply on the grounds of their aesthetic appeal”. Dive in at random and see what you find.

 

 

 The Naming of the Shrew – For the classicist, this book is a clever attempt to explain the idiosyncrasies of our Latin naming system for the natural  world. What are the motivations – and mistakes – of scientists who give Latin names to their latest discoveries?

 

 

 

 

Lingo: A Language Spotter’s Guide to Europe – This book takes the gloves off and is not afraid to have a critical opinion of what certain languages do better than others. A lively and slightly acerbic guide to which words English-speakers might next want to adopt from other languages.

 

 

 

 Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation – A look at the evolution of the English language, and how to learn to love the way it changes over  time. Even if some of those changes drive us crazy, we do well to remember that much of what we now consider “correct” was once grammatically  shameful!

 

 

 

Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, & Other Typographical Marks – And as a companion to the above, a little shout-out to punctuation. How can you resist the chance to impress your friends with your knowledge of the anthropomorphic manicule?

 

 

 

 

Image: Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation

An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words From Around the World
By Sanders, Ella Frances
Image: Zi mu de jin tou

Zi mu de jin tou

The end of the alphabet
By Richardson, C. S.
Image: Alphabetique

Alphabetique

26 Characteristic Fictions
By Peacock, Molly
Image: Foyle's Philavery

Foyle's Philavery

A Treasury of Unusual Words
By Foyle, Christopher
Image: The Naming of the Shrew

The Naming of the Shrew

A Curious History of Latin Names
By Wright, John
Image: Lingo

Lingo

A Language Spotters Guide to Europe
By Dorren, Gaston/ Edwards, Alison (TRN)/ Audring, Jenny (CON)/ Watson, Frauke (CON)
Image: Lingo

Lingo

A Language Spotters Guide to Europe
By Dorren, Gaston/ Edwards, Alison (TRN)/ Audring, Jenny (CON)/ Watson, Frauke (CON)
Image: Bad English

Bad English

A History of Linguistic Aggravation
By Shea, Ammon
Image: Bad English

Bad English

A History of Linguistic Aggravation
By Shea, Ammon
Image: Shady Characters

Shady Characters

The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, & Other Typographical Marks
By Houston, Keith