Any one who knows me will know that I am a
little bit of a massive bibliophile. Whilst Dark and I have a predilection for Spec Fic, that’s not all that covers our shelves. Biographies, general fiction, and specifically in this case, books about language.
This is the catagory that The Etymologicon falls into.
The description of the book is ‘a circular stroll through the hidden connections of the English language’ and the author goes on to explain that he has a habit of trapping people at parties and bamboozling them with the etymology of something they might be eating. So his family and friends colluded to make him write a book on the topic in the hope he might exhaust himself of this habit in the proces.
Personally I don’t think it would have worked. Forsyth, or The Inky Fool as he is otherwise known, is far too enthusiastic about his subject for a mere one book to have assuaged this appetite for words (EDIT: Seems I was right; as noted on his blog, there is another coming out).
I enjoyed the book immensely. It gave me new insights into how our language works, and widened my lexicon considerably. It’s clear without being patronising, and doesn’t shy away from any area of wordage (there is a whole chapter on the origins of cussing). It is a delight to read. Forsyth’s style is amusing and informative, and his adoration of launguage clearly comes through.