A Miscellany for Word Lovers, by Robin Hosie & Vic Mayhew, Reviewed.


As a writer and a reader, I love words. They’re the ingredients that form marvellous works and the means for the storyteller to create wonderful tales.

This collection, presented as a series of quizzes interspersed with all manner of facts relating to words, is readily accessible. It’s also a brilliant resource for writers. It provides a useful reference work for readers as well. The combination of the comprehensive contents list and the index make it easy to find any of the many specific sections.

There are sections on vocabulary related to diverse subjects from Politics and Government to Latin and Greek Prefixes, from Fears and Phobias to Muscles and Bones, and just about every specialist topic in between. Each section lists from 9 to 12 words by definition, giving a clue to the word length as well as the first 3 letters. The answers are presented on the following page. It’s a useful mental exercise to attempt the solution of the clues before checking on the accuracy of your memory.

There are short pieces on a multitude of topics, among them: Quotes and Misquotes, Historical Periods, and Exploration of the Language. Together, these items make up a wide-ranging, interesting miscellany.

As a writer’s reference book, it works well when searching for those specialist terms often deeply hidden in thesauruses. I’ve now placed the paperback alongside my day-to-day thesaurus and dictionary to be consulted when I can’t quite remember the right word to describe the act of repealing a law; is it abrogate or arrogate? (Check your dictionary!) Or when I know there’s an antonym for a hedonist but ascetic escapes me.

Not a book to ‘read’, but a volume to dip into during those odd moments when you have a spare ten minutes. An excellent memory aid and mental stimulant as well as a fount of much interesting information. I enjoyed it.

2 thoughts on “A Miscellany for Word Lovers, by Robin Hosie & Vic Mayhew, Reviewed.

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