Books About Words
If you are a lover of language, these books will only increase your wonderment of words.
Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages by Ammon Shea is a dazzling account of his experience reading every word and definition contained in the twenty volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary. He shares his thoughts and features all of the obscure gems he discovers along the way. The book is divided into twenty-six chapters, one for each letter of the alphabet. Upon reaching chapter sixteen and learning the definition of petrichor, your newfound knowledge is guaranteed to enrich your sensory experience of the next rainstorm!
The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester reveals the fascinating true story of two remarkable men and their incredible obsessions that led to the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary. The ambitious project began in 1857, and it took decades to complete the compilation of the OED. This book highlights ordeals and obstacles, shares intriguing oddities, and is a surprisingly riveting read!
Other-Wordly: Words Both Strange and Lovely from Around the World by Yee-Lum Mak features words from different languages that capture a complex specific idea or feeling in a single word. Charming illustrations by Kelsey Garrity-Riley are paired with each of the whimsical words.
Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World by author and illustrator Ella Frances Sanders brings to life more than fifty words that have no direct English translations. Well-thought-out illustrations correspond to each word.
Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane is a compelling exploration of the intricacies of the relationship between words and landscape. He reveals how the power of language can shape our sense of place, and provides glossaries full of unique terms for all the variations of the land. Enhance your connection with the landscape and nature by reading and learning these nearly-lost words.
In Other Words: A Language Lover’s Guide to the Most Intriguing Words Around the World by Christopher J. Moore is a meticulously researched engaging examination of words and phrases from around the world. You will gain a whole new vocabulary for things and ideas that were previously elusive and wordless.
The Meaning of Tingo and Other Extraordinary Words from Around the World by Adam Jacot de Boinod is an entertaining book that draws on the collective wisdom of over two-hundred and fifty languages to present interesting and often amusing words from around the world.
Thanks for checking out some of our favorite books on words, be sure to check out our Lists page for more reading suggestions and resource guides.