One of the English language’s most skilled and beloved writers guides us all toward precise, mistake-free usage. As usual Bill Bryson says it best: “English is a dazzlingly idiosyncratic tongue, full of quirks and irregularities that often seem willfully at odds with logic and common sense. This is a language where ‘cleave’ can mean to cut in half or to hold two halves together; where the simple word ‘set’ has 126 different meanings as a verb, 58 as a noun, and 10 as a participial adjective; where if you can run fast you are moving swiftly, but if you are stuck fast you are not moving at all; [and] where ‘colonel,’ ‘freight,’ ‘once,’ and ‘ache’ are strikingly at odds with their spellings.” As a copy editor for the London Times in the early 1980s, Bill Bryson felt keenly the lack of an easy-to-consult, authoritative guide to avoiding the traps and snares in English, and so he brashly suggested to a publisher that he should write one. Surprisingly, the proposition was accepted, and for “a sum of money carefully gauged not to cause embarrassment or feelings of overworth,” he proceeded to write that book–his first, inaugurating his stellar career. Now, a decade and a half later, revised, updated, and thoroughly (but not overly) Americanized, it has become Bryson’s Dictionary of Troublesome Words, more than ever an essential guide to the wonderfully disordered thing that is the English language. With some one thousand entries, from “a, an” to “zoom,” that feature real-world examples of questionable usage from an international array of publications, and with a helpful glossary and guide to pronunciation, this precise, prescriptive, and–because it is written by Bill Bryson–often witty book belongs on the desk of every person who cares enough about the language not to maul or misuse or distort it.
One of the English language's most skilled and beloved writers guides us all towards precise, mistake-free usage. In the middle 1980s Bill Bryson was a copy editor for the London Times with the brash idea that he could fill a hole in the British book market for a concise, accessible, handy guide to proper usage. A complete unknown, he nonetheless sold Penguin Books on the idea, and the result was The Penguin Dictionary of Troublesome Words, which sold decently enough on both sides of the Atlantic. Now, fifteen years later, Bill Bryson has become, well, Bill Bryson -- and his terrifically useful little book has been revised, updated and Americanized to become Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words. Precise, prescriptive, sometimes (like its author) amusingly prickly, this book belongs on the desk of every person who cares enough about our language not to maul or misuse or distort it. Move over, Strunk and White.
What is the difference between cant and jargon, or assume and presume? What is a fandango? How do you spell supersede? Is it hippy or hippie? These questions really matter to Bill Bryson, as they do to anyone who cares about the English language. Originally published as The Penguin Dictionary for Writers and Editors, Bryson's Dictionary for Writers and Editors has now been completely revised and updated for the twenty-first century by Bill Bryson himself. Here is a very personal selection of spellings and usages, covering such head-scratchers as capitalization, plurals, abbreviations and foreign names and phrases. Bryson also gives us the difference between British and American usages, and miscellaneous pieces of essential information you never knew you needed, like the names of all the Oxford colleges, or the correct spelling of Brobdingnag. An indispensable companion to all those who write, work with the written word, or who just enjoy getting things right, it gives rulings that are both authoritative and commonsense, all in Bryson's own inimitably goodhumoured way.
A Short History of Private Life Illustrated Edition
Author: Bill Bryson
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Category: House & Home
Bill Bryson has one of the liveliest, most inquisitive minds on the planet, and At Home is likely to become the most illuminating book on the way we lived then and live now--the why and the where and the how of it--ever written. Now, in this handsome new edition, his sparkling prose will be enhanced by some 200 carefully curated full-colour images from both the past and the present. Selected from a staggering array of sources to bring Bill's journey to vivid life, these pictures will make reading At Home an immersive experience. When you've finished this book, you will see your house--and your daily life--in a new and revelatory light.
One of the world's most beloved and bestselling writers takes his ultimate journey -- into the most intriguing and intractable questions that science seeks to answer. In A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson trekked the Appalachian Trail -- well, most of it. In In A Sunburned Country, he confronted some of the most lethal wildlife Australia has to offer. Now, in his biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understand -- and, if possible, answer -- the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world's most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, travelling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, apprenticed himself to their powerful minds. A Short History of Nearly Everything is the record of this quest, and it is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only Bill Bryson can render it. Science has never been more involving or entertaining. From the Hardcover edition.
The author of A Walk in the Woods traces the Big Bang through the rise of civilization, documenting his work with a host of the world's most advanced scientists and mathematicians to explain why things are the way they are. Reprint. 125,000 first printing.