Feb 15, 2009

Word People

Being an Inquiry Into the Lives of Those Persons Who Have Lent Their Names to the English Language
by Nancy Caldwell Sorel

Word People contains snippets of stories about people whose names have become common nouns, and how that happened. Some of them I had always suspected came from a person's name, many more I had no idea they had such origins. It is fascinating, and written with plenty of humor as well. The text is accompanied by expressive pen and ink illustrations by Edward Sorel, which I found hilarious in and of themselves. The book got a little tedious in parts; it was one I had to read in small segments, over more than a weeks' time, but curiosity kept me continuing to the end. If you're interested in the history of language, or wonder about how people got their names worked into everyday usage (although quite a few have fallen out of use by now), I recommend this book. I'm sorry that I can't recall any of the particular words themselves; I'd love to share some examples! But this book doesn't reside at my public library, and it's been several years since I had it in hand. Still, I remember it fondly enough to want to mention it here.

Rating: 3/5                     304 pages, 1970

Have you written a blog review of this book? Let me know, and I'll add your link here.


Nymeth said...

Oooh, this sounds like something I'd like. I'm a big language geek :P

PS: I love the blog's new look :)

Jeane said...

Thanks! I think you'd enjoy it. I'm glad you like the new appearance; I needed a change of look.

An Anonymous Child said...

This seems like the sort of ridiculous thing I might give as a gift. Okay, well, that made me smile.

Jeane said...

I think this book would make a great gift, especially for someone who likes to read about word origins.