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Review: ‘How English became English’ by Simon Horobin

How English Became English
A Short History of a Global Language

Simon Horobin

Published by: Oxford University Press                                                                                                                       Publications date: 28th January 2016                                                                                                                       Edition: Hardback                                                                                                                                                             ISBN: 9780198754275                                                                                                                                                     Price: £10.99

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July reviews: part 2

Just a few books this time round. There’s a bit of variety in this set of reviews. Enjoy.
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Review: ‘The Horologicon: A day’s jaunt throught the lost words of the English language’ by Mark Forsyth

The Horologicon: A day’s jaunt through the lost words of the English Language

Mark Forsyth

Icon Books

2012

I’ve just finished reading this book. The author doesn’t recommend reading it straight through, instead treating it as a reference work to be consulted at the appropriate hour of the day, unless one wishes to go mad. I used to read dictionaries for fun (don’t ask) so, really, it’s quite probable that I am already mad. That being the case, I’ve spent the past couple of morning’s making my way through this witty volume.

I laughed like a drain all the way through. Mark Forsyth is a clever writer; his talent for finding and using obscure words is truly remarkable. No longer will I suffer from utcare; I shall rise from my bed and take up this little volume. And when Bulls’s Noon comes I shall probably still be looking through it.

I really must get his first book, The Etymologicon; if it’s as good as The Horologicon I am certain of a good read.

I heartily recommend this book if you’re interested in the lost words of the English language, ever feel tongue-tied, in need of new ways to insult your boss without getting the sack, or just want a new word to say that you, or somebody else, are drunk.

Mark Forsyth blogs at

http://inkyfool.blogspot.com

And his Twitter is @inkyfool

Bye for now,

Rose

Review: Happily Ever After: Celebrating Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice by Susannah Fullerton

Review: Happily Ever After: Celebrating Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

Susannah Fullerton

Frances Lincoln Limited Publishers

2013

 

While I was in the British Library on Monday I saw a few books about Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice, and being a little bit of a Janeite I couldn’t resist buying this book for the train journey home. It is a fairly substantial hardback of 225 pages illustrated with drawings and photographs from the various editions of the book and film/tv adaptations that have been made. It took me a bit longer than the train journey to read, but certainly made the time pass agreeably.

The contents cover everything from the writing of Pride and Prejudice to the characters and various adaptations in books and films, and the ‘selling’ of Pride and Prejudice. Who knew you could get skateboards with quotes on them?

It is fairly obvious that the book was published to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice. The writer is clearly enamoured of her subject and holds definite opinions about it. It is enjoyable to read, and covers many interesting topics. The book is informative and would probably have been useful to my younger self when I was studying Pride and Prejudice for my GCSE English Literature. I particularly found the discussion of translating P&P interesting. The fine irony of Jane Austen, her wicked wit, cannot be easy to translate, although anyone who gives it a go deserves a medal for trying.

However, there is a slight feeling of snobbery and prejudice against anyone who dares to adapt the original (personally I like ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ – it’s funny) and the authoress also becomes repetitive at times. We all know P&P is a great book; you don’t need to tell us a dozen times a chapter.

Borrow it from the library if you’re studying Pride and Prejudice, only buy this book if you really can’t resist.

As ever, that’s just my opinion. Happy reading,

Rose