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DELAMAR WEB
Reviews: Books about Writing
Book Reviews:
   Conventional Book Reviews   (standard commentary/review of book) 
  Knothole Book Reviews   (a "knothole review" is "not whole"-- 
       the concept is to give insights into an author's style, craft, and knowledge through selected excerpts.) 
 The Big Book of Words You Should Know 
D. Olsen, M. Bevilacqua, J. C. Hayes 
Avon, MA: Adams Media, 2009

The three authors of The Big Book of Words You Should Know listed its CONTENTS in a unique compilation that may offer a challenge to beginning writers as in 
PART 1: Words You Should Absolutely Know—  apocalyptic (uh-pok-uh-LIP-tik), adjective

Advanced writers may take proprietary comfort in 
PART II: Words Most People Don’t Know—such as: encomium (en-KOME-ee-um), noun. Got it? No? A formal expression of extreme praise.

PART III: Words You Should Know but Probably Don't— 
Chances are, you use many words in this section, but if pressed you would be unable to define them: abase (uh-BASE), verb, to humiliate; archetype (ARE-ki-type), noun, the original upon which subsequent versions are based; blazon (BLAY-zuhn), verb, a coat of arms; cache (kash), noun, a place where things of value are hidden.

PART IV: Foreign Idioms You Should Know – is meant to encourage non-linguists with this introduction: “Think you don’t know a foreign language? Au contraire! Chances are you’ve used at least a few of the expressions on this list. Each of the following items is a bona fide foreign idiom that has been adopted wholesale into English. Many are de rigueur  for the discerning conversationalist” and writer. Actually, es nicht wahr. The compiler, auteur (OH-ter), noun, “author” of PART IV promised more than was delivered as would a lothario (lo-THAR-ee-oo), noun, a seducer.

Among other intriguing words in 
PART V: People and Place Words You Should Know—bowdlerize (BOWD-lur-ize), verb, to cleanse or modify a work of literature by removing parts considered offensive or altering content and style. 

Writers at every level may have mixed emotions and be disgruntled by 
PART VI: Words You Should Know to Sound Overeducated—abnegate (AB-ne-gate), verb, and noun, or accoutrement (uh-KOO-truh-mint), noun, or denouement (day-new-MAH), noun. This vocabulary isn’t often included in written Sports Bar dialogue, but then neither is a Ph.D. obligatory for being at ease with arcane (are-CAIN). adjective. You may look askance (uh-SKANTS), adverb, at much of PART VI. 

This review ends with less than encomium (remember?) with 
PART VII: Words You Probably Shouldn’t Know—meaning personally insulting words: fatuous (FASS-chew-us), adjective, and xenophobe (ZEE-nuh-fobe) noun, one who fears anything foreign or different—certainly not an attitude of a creative writer. 

The book may or may not be destined to be a frequent reference tool. It can, however, be fun-reading, and serve as a source for increasing a writer's store of esoterica.

—reviewed by Kitty Baker
(used by permission)

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