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review 2019-01-10 10:19
That Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means: The 150 Most Commonly Misused Words And Their Tangled Histories
That Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means: The 150 Most Commonly Misused Words And Their Tangled Histories - Ross Petras,Kathryn Petras

My 'discovery' of this book is a perfect example for the argument of using a continuity of style on book covers.  A year or two ago, I bought and read You're Saying it Wrong, book about commonly mispronounced words, and loved it (I've been saying Turmeric and Van Gogh wrong all. my. life.)  I recognised the similar cover on this, the authors' newest, and immediately snatched it up.

 

I should really rate this 4.5 stars, because in retrospect, I can recall several typographical and at least 1 grammatical error in the text, which seems especially egregious in a book about grammar.  But I suppose perfection is an unreasonable expectation even for a grammar book.  Actually, I don't believe that, but I am too lazy to adjust my rating.

 

Other than that, it's an excellent reference for word pairs that are often confused with each other, including the obvious affect/effect as well as some I'd never thought about before but were obvious when I saw them, like trooper/trouper, flair/flare and flout/flaunt. Also included are words/terms that are just used wrong, like epicentre and ambivalent.  

 

Scattered throughout the list are a few spreads that cover when to use who/whom, the correct usage of lay/lie (I found their explanation for this the most useful I've ever read), and a general guide for latin and greek plurality: when to use 'i', 'a', 'ae', and 's'.  This one sort of cleared up a running debate MT and I have had concerning the plural of 'platypus' - while we both favoured 'platypi' on aesthetic grounds (it sounds better than 'platypuses', which is what the local sanctuary has settled on), it would seem logical to follow the same rule used for 'octopus', which is 'octopodes'.  I find this a happy compromise (MT is stubbornly sticking to the incorrect but more melodious platypi).

 

Each entry includes an example of the incorrect usage, the etymological history of the word/words, and most of the time, examples of correct usage for each word as well as basic definitions of each (nb: the author's state upfront that this is based on the North American dialect of English).  It's well written, not dry, and informative.  It will be a handy reference in the future when I'm unsure which word to use.

 

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review 2019-01-09 04:57
The Snark Bible: A Reference Guide to Verbal Sparring, Comebacks, Irony, Insults, and So Much More
The Snark Bible: A Reference Guide to Verbal Sparring, Comebacks, Irony, Insults, and So Much More - Lawrence Dorfman

Pretty much what it says on the wrapper.  I love snark and this random gift from a family member is just the sort of thing that makes me chuckle.  It's a great collection, and was heading towards a 5 star rating, but it floundered a bit at the end.  I was willing to overlook a couple of quotes - and really it was only a couple - that were repeated in slightly paraphrased form.  

 

It's a thick book and one or two passing through the keeper is not unexpected.  But at about the 80% mark, specifically the chapter on Motherhood, the quotes stopped being snarky and were just quotes about motherhood, some of them quite endearing and touching.  

 

Then in the last 2-3 chapters, Dorfman lost that fifth star all together when he stopped quoting the greats and started ad libbing his own brand of snark, or at least what he likely considered snark.  It was too acerbic for my tastes; it didn't read snarky nearly as much as it read angry and bitter.  Vitriolic, even.  The dude does NOT like Christmas.  That's fair enough; Christmas can be a trying time for even the most festive feeling of us, but his barbs failed to find that sweet spot of gracious lunacy that can be Christmas.  After that chapter, his further attempts at snarky comebacks to enduring cliches just fell flat.

 

Still, overall it's an excellent compendium of sarcastic and witty quotes that will serve me well as a handy reference when I'm at the end of my rope trying to be polite to the more challenging people in my life.  Mostly time well spent.

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review 2019-01-05 10:15
An Atlas of Natural Beauty
An Atlas of Natural Beauty: Botanical Ingredients for Retaining and Enhancing Beauty - Victoire de Taillac,Ramdane Touhami

I bought this because of 1. the cover, and 2. I'm always on the lookout for ways to use the things I grow.

 

I'd never heard of the Officine Universelle Buly, and hadn't a clue it was a shop until I received the book.  The writing style fits; there's a very strong marketing vibe to the phrasing.  But I thoroughly enjoyed all the information contained in it.  It's mostly a list of different natural ingredients that can be used as beauty regimens, though there are a few first-aid type recipes here too.  Each has a little segment on its history, mythology and cultivation/harvesting, as well as tips on how to get the most out of the ingredient.

 

Beauty regimens are not necessarily my jam, as I'm a low maintenance kind of girl (read: lazy), but nevertheless there were a lot of useful finds, including one that might help MT manage his painful flareups of rheumatism.

 

A beautifully constructed and laid out book that will serve as an interesting reference when I'm in need of a solution that can come out of my garden.

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review 2018-11-23 09:56
The Compleat Ankh-Morpork City Guide; Comprising the New Street Map, Trade Directory & Gazetteer Along with a Glorious Artist's Impression of this Great City in Its Entirety
The Compleat Ankh-Morpork - Terry Pratchett

My fellow Discworld fans:  If you see this book, buy this book.

 

It's awesome; it's hilarious; it's not lying or exaggerating when it says it is "Compleat".

 

The amount of thought and attention to detail is astounding, especially in the trade directory.

 

And the piece de la resistance is the giant-size, pull out map at the back.  I took pictures, which do not adequately illustrate the awesomeness.  Mostly because it's almost 9pm and my home lighting is lacking.

 

 

 

I am here.  And here.  And here.  

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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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