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I Always Look Up the Word 'Egregious'
Armed with a red pencil, scissors, tape, and index cards, author Maxwell Nurnberg spent years scouring The New York Times, the The New Yorker, and the New York Review of Books, with the aim of creating a new kind of vocabulary book. The result is a veritable panoply of words -- drawn from the real-life context of written and spoken language.
Hardcover, 290 pages
Published January 1st 1998 by Barnes & Noble, Inc.
(first published 1981)
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A collection of fairly common to highly obscure words, with examples and (usually) etymology. Not the best of the books of this type I've read, but decent. The most interesting part, to me, is that the examples were taken from news stories in the late 1970s. Consequently, I read more about the Jimmy Carter administration in one week than in the previous 20 years.
Interesting take on a dictionary. Sections include pretentious words, foreign language words/phrases we often see in novels (sotto voce, quid pro quo, etc.), words that may fool you, and other categories. Not a book to be read straight through but to pick up every now and then and read some of the selections.
Pretty good so far! It's kind of hit-or-miss - there will be words that seem quite common to me. And often there are words used in the definitions or descriptions that I can't find defined in the book. Maybe that's because it's 25 years old though.
The tag line for this book is "A vocabulary book for people who don't need one." How true this is! I try to read a word a day, I'm a long way from actually finishing the book and I've had it for several years. Love this book!