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review 2017-10-09 03:56
The Penguin Book of Etiquette and Charm School
The Penguin Book Of Etiquette: The Complete Australian Guide To Modern Manners - Marion Von Adlerstein
Charm School: The Modern Girl's Complete Handbook Of Etiquette - Kathy Buchanan

I don't ordinarily review two books at once, especially two by different authors, but these are both reference books in a sense, and both deal with the rules of etiquette in Australia.

 

In my opinion, given my own demographic, I found The Penguin Book Of Etiquette by Marion Von Adlerstein  the superior book.  It covers everything and is the more obvious successor to Emily Post for the Aussies.  I've found this super helpful for those odd occasions when culture shock leaves me scratching my head.

 

Charm School: The Modern Girl's Complete Handbook Of Etiquette by Kathy Buchanan though, would be the better book for older teens, or those leaving home for the first time for university, first job, home, etc.  This is the book for the twentysomethings and it's frank, honest, and slightly amusing in style; much chattier and looser than Von Adlerstein's voice.  Note: This book is specifically aimed at women.

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review 2017-10-09 03:47
The Raupo Book of Maori Proverbs
The Raupo Book of Maori Proverbs - A.W. Reed,Timoti Karetu,A.E. Brougham

Not a book to read, more of a reference, but I've been on the lookout for collections of Aboriginal / Maori myths and came across this when I was in New Zealand in June.  It's exactly what it says on the packet: a book of the different proverbs used by Maori over time, in both the original language and an English translation.  They're sorted by broad subject ranges and most of them include a small explanation (or a longer one if the proverb doesn't translate clearly, or uses idioms specific to the Maori).

 

Excellent for what it is.

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review 2017-07-21 07:17
Other-Wordly
Other-Wordly: Words Both Strange and Lovely from Around the World - Kelsey Garrity-Riley,Yee-Lum Mak

I'm a sucker for words; especially unusual words, or foreign-language words that have no straight translation into English, and the beauty of this book's cover made it impossible to resist it, even though I already have similar books.

 

Luckily this small but beautifully illustrated collection of words are almost entirely different from those found in the books I already have and the author also included English words that are rarely used or hardly known (Deipnosophist, n, someone skilled in small talk or in conversing around the dining table).

 

Bonus points to the author and publisher for including not only an index of the words themselves, but an index of the words by language.  Demerit points because once again nobody thought to include a pronunciation guide, and figuring out how to pronounce cwtch (Welsh, n, hug or cuddle; a safe place; the cupboard beneath the stairs) is beyond my meagre abilities to even guess.

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review 2017-04-12 03:59
Authorisms: Words Wrought by Writers
Authorisms: Words Wrought by Writers - Paul Dickson

Another glossary type reference, but without the narrative hook that made  Roger, Sausage & Whippet so very engrossing.

 

This one is all about words coined, or first used by, authors.  Shakespeare of course, although he doesn't have the showing you'd expect.  A lot of words we take for granted today as being newish, but were actually coined over 100 years ago.  (Jane Austen was the first to use base ball in a literary work.  Google, while not more than 100 years old, has actually been found in a collection of stories published in 1942 - used as a verb, btw - and long before Sergey Brin and Larry Page were born.)

 

The author is a neologist himself, something that is made quite clear by his unapologetic promotion of words he's claimed credit for.  By the end remarks, it seemed to me that it was very important to him that his name live on in connection with language.  It's good to have goals, I guess. 

 

Some of my favourite words from the collection:

 

Alogotransiphobia: fear of being caught on public transportation with nothing to read. (Created by George V. Higgins in 1992)

 

Bibliobibuli: drunk on books, as other men are drunk on whiskey or religion. (Created by H.L. Menken)

 

Page 99 Test: Ford Maddox Ford recommended that readers not judge a book by its first few pages, instead recommending that readers "open the book to page ninety-nine and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you."  Carried forth on the website page99test.com.

 

 

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review 2017-04-12 03:37
Roger, Sausage & Whippet: A miscellany of Trench Lingo from the Great War
Roger, Sausage and Whippet - Christopher Moore

When I first picked up this book, I figured I'd flip through it, stopping at words that caught my eye along the way and be finished up with it in a few hours; it's a glossary, after all.

 

But then I discovered that each lettered section begins with the reproduction of a letter from the front; a man named Charles, writing to his parents, his brother and his nephew.  These were good - they were better than good, they turned a freaking glossary into a narrative, and in addition to learning new words (and meanings for old words), I had to keep flipping so I could find out what happened to Charles next, always sure that I was going to get to 'Z' to find a bad news telegram or something.  I didn't.

 

I knocked off 1/2 a star because, while Charles makes it to 'Z', you never find out what happens to him in the rest of the war.  A letter at the very start makes it clear he survived, but with 2 years of the war left, 'Z' leaves the reader with something of a small cliffhanger.

 

Still, way better than your average glossary for readability!

 

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