8 great books for logophiles
In honour of World Book Day, we've rounded up the best books for people who love words. While it's not World Book Day anymore, we're still logophiles. So if you're a lover of the English language, here are a few brilliant books you'll enjoy:
1. For all things etymology
The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll through the Hidden Connections of the English Language by Mark Forsyth is brilliant. It begins with a study of the word books, or more specifically the phrase a turn up for the books, and from there explores how chickens are linked to gambling and that "Alexander the Great conquered half the world without even a café latte to perk him up." Forsyth has a number of other excellent word-nerd books, including one about lost words of the English language which is bound to expand your ever-elegant vocabulary.
2. For endless collective nouns
Okay so it's not endless, but there are over 1100 collective nouns in James Lipton's An Exaltation of Larks.
3. For next-level eloquence
Try anything by Jane Austen. This literary lady is quoted more than 1600 times in the Oxford English Dictionary, and has made a variety of phrases part of our everyday language. She's the Queen of Words, especially with her use of terms like 'panegyric' and 'counterpoise'.
4. For sharp wit
Almost anything by Oscar Wilde will please a logophile, but this little book, Only Dull People are Brilliant at Breakfast, containing "witticisms on the dangers of sincerity, duplicitous biographers, and the stupidity of the English" is perhaps the icing on the literary cake.
5. For a history of English
Mother Tongue: The Story of the English Language by Bill Bryson is as funny and entertaining as his travel writing. This book takes you on a journey through the English language, examining its history from humble beginnings to one of the world's most widely-spoken languages.
6. For interesting idioms
Why You Say It is much like the Etyomologicon, but focuses on English idioms instead of individual words. From beating around the bush, to tasting humble pie, this delightful read will educate and entertain.
7. For grammar geeks
Punctuation doesn't have to be boring, Eats Shoots & Leaves is the perfect testament to that. Author Lynne Truss takes the reader on a tour of the rules of grammar and punctuation.
8. For excellent expletives
Did you know the word 'fuck' first appeared in the English language in the fifteenth century? Nor did we, until we read The F-Word – a novel by Jesse Sheidlower about one of the most-popular expletives, its origins and its many, often rather creative, uses.