When I first saw this book I was really excited to read it. I have this memory of being 10-years-old and sitting in the back of my mom’s sedan. We were listening to Paul Harvey’s “The Rest of the Story” on the radio and he was explaining the origin of a common phrase. I found it so interesting to discover the history behind the phrase and told my mom it would be cool if someone wrote a book about it. I’m not making this up…and yes, I was that much of a nerd.
So, fast forward to 2010. I see on BookSneeze this book by Webb Garrison entitled What’s in a Word? I waited expectantly for it to arrive in the mail and opened it as soon as I received the package. Maybe I’m not as much of a nerd now as I was at 10, but I found it to be boring. It wasn’t a book I wanted to sit down with for an extended period of time. The first chapter was about technological terminology and it seemed outdated (floppy disks?).
I set it aside, thinking that it would make a really good bathroom reading book or coffee table book.
Then, one night we had a friend over and he picked it up. He skipped around in the book instead of trying to read it cover-to-cover. He spent the next hour sharing with us little tidbits of knowledge that he gained from the author. It was interesting and fun.
So, what do I think of this book? I think that it’s slightly outdated, not for someone who’s seriously into the study of etymology and, yet, can still provide some entertainment on a quiet night.