Hardcover, 258 pages
Published November 1st 2012 by Icon Books
Source: Finished copy from Publisher
The Horologicon (or book of hours) gives you the most extraordinary words in the English language, arranged according to the hour of the day when you really need them.
Do you wake up feeling rough? Then you’re philogrobolized. Pretending to work? That’s fudgelling, which may lead to rizzling if you feel sleepy after lunch, though by dinner time you will have become a sparkling deipnosophist.
From Mark Forsyth, author of the bestselling The Etymologicon, this is a book of weird words for familiar situations. From ante-jentacular to snudge by way of quafftide and wamblecropt, at last you can say, with utter accuracy, exactly what you mean.
The Horologicon is a delightful journey through an entire day populated by words that have meandered out of the every day English usage. Forsyth’s tone is cheeky, slightly irreverent and very, very engaging. It is funny because although this is what Louise Rosenblatt would term “efferent reading,” reading The Horologicon doesn’t feel as mentally taxing and as dense as one feel after say, reading something else that demands attention, something that isn’t for fun, per se, but to glean information from. That is the crux of it, I suppose. I read this for fun. English as a language fascinates me because it finds its origins in so many other languages; it borrows words and phrases and appropriates expressions and gives them a twist to make them its own.
Forsyth uses the new words in context immediately after he introduces them and this lets the reader get familiar with them and remember them when uses them again later. He cites a large number of sources and credits properly and this illustrates the scope of his research. But perhaps most admirably, he takes a topic that can be very dry and infuses it with sly humour and vignettes that are both fun and illuminates the point being made perfectly.
The lost words come from a variety of dialects and are almost always accompanied by their delicious back stories or other tidbits that make them so interesting to read. I had a lot of fun and several laugh out loud moments while reading. This book will be a perfect fit for aspiring writers, lovers of English language and anyone who wants to read a fun piece of literature. I sincerely recommend it.