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Feb 2, 2020
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Words about books

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AWADmail Issue 918

A Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Tidbits about Words and Language

Sponsor’s Message: What are Sleeping Beauty’s two other names? “GED” is an abbreviation for a high school equivalency diploma -- what does it actually stand for? What’s unique about the word “facetiously”? WISE UP! -- The Wicked/Smart Party Card Game asks tons of devilishly difficult questions that’ll give you know-it-alls plenty of life lessons in humility, history, sports, science, literature, and geography. And wit. Here’s another: Everyone knows the First and Second Amendments -- what’s the Third? But beware, there’s also a slew of “challenge” cards that chuck Darwinian physical and mental wrenches into the works. For example: Throw this card on the floor and pick it up without using your hands. So much humbling fun for everyone, including this week’s Email of the Week Winner, Mary Jean Mailloux (see below). WISE UP! NOW.

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Interesting stories from the Net

”Parentese”, Not Traditional Baby Talk, Boosts a Baby’s Language Development

The Alphabets at Risk of Extinction

From: John Kilmarx (jkilly iup.edu)
Subject: Bibliophilia

Congratulations on another great theme this week! My very next thought was of this best-ever bookish cartoon. Always cracks me up.

John Kilmarx, Indiana, Pennsylvania

From: Denny Elliot (elenhill gmail.com)
Subject: Books

Eudora Welty, the great Southern writer, loved books from an early age. Her mother told her, when she was two, “Any room in our house, at any time of day, was there to read in, or be read to.”

Denny Elliot, Stamford, Connecticut

Email of the Week (Brought to you by the wicked wonderful world of WISE UP! - Yes, you can BUY SMARTS.

From: Mary Jean Mailloux (mmailloux1 cogeco.ca)
Subject: Bibliophilia

I will never forget, many years ago during my first trip to Florida during a wintry Canada , I spent the better part of a day in a bookstore I and my friend happened upon. The time passed imperceptibly as we perused the shelves each in our own world. After an hour or so we looked at each other and in tacit agreement decided there was absolutely no need to leave. It was a lovely experience to say the least.

Mary Jean Mailloux, Oakville, Canada

From: Russ Talbot (russted46 gmail.com)
Subject: Bibliophilia

Bibliophilia’s a bit ho-hum. Here’s a better one: abibliophobia: the fear of running out of books/things to read.

Russ Talbot, Adelaide, Australia

From: Kathryn Freeman (kfreeman861 gmail.com)
Subject: On books & contamination

“An idea is a textually-transmitted disease. A great idea puts one out of their comfort zone -- makes them feel dis-eased.”

Funny you should write this...

I have a book coming out in December of this year on the plague of taletelling in the writings of Coleridge, Mary Robinson, and Mary Shelley. Also, something I note in the book, Harold Bloom commented on the etymology of influence as influenza when discussing his idea of the anxiety of influence.

So I guess you could say all this is textual contamination in action.

Kathryn Freeman, Miami, Florida

From: William Pease (wpease sdsu.edu)
Subject: Chrestomathy

Some words sound so beautiful I don’t care what they mean. Chrestomathy is one. It could be a disease, a dance, an herb. No matter!

Bill Pease, San Diego, California

From: From: Marge Simon (msimon6206 aol.com)
Subject: Collette quotation

Sit down and put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it. -Colette, author (28 Jan 1873-1954)

What a perfect, spot on delineation between writer and AUTHOR. Just because you take the Na-no-wri-mo challenge and pound out a novel’s worth of words, with X amount a day doesn’t mean you’re accomplishing very much, IMHO. We thank you very much if you don’t flood the market with more crap. There is so much already out there, trust me on that. But if you aspire, you must learn how to critique your own stuff. That’s really the hardest part!

Marge Simon, Ocala, Florida

From: Elizabeth Block (elizabethblock netzero.net)
Subject: biblioclast

I actually burned a book. Not normal for me at all! I came into possession of a 50th anniversary copy of The Fountainhead. So that no one else would read it, I burned it in the evening bonfire at Quaker camp.

Elizabeth Block, Toronto, Canada

From: Andrew Pressburger (andpress sympatico.ca)
Subject: Biblioclast

In his 1935 novel Auto-da-Fe, Elias Canetti depicts a reclusive philologist who lives for his collection of books which he never reads but orders his housekeeper to keep in immaculate condition. An unfortunate accident causes a fire that results in the demise of the precious collection. At the time of writing, the Nazi book burning ritual was already going on apace in Germany, though not yet in neighbouring Austria, where Canetti lived and which Hitler had not yet annexed.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: Julie Fradette (julief1207 hotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--feuilleton

This word brought back memories of my childhood. I grew up in Quebec, a French-speaking province, and back in the day, TV Soap Operas were called feuilleton télévisé.

Julie Fradette, Sherbrook, Canada

From: Dominique Mellinger (dominiquemellinger yahoo.co.uk)
Subject: Feuilleton in France

By extension, nowadays in French, a feuilleton is anything that is published on paper or broadcast either on television or the radio by installments. So one can have “un feuilleton télé”, “un feuilleton radio” or simply “un feuilleton” (papier) in the newspapers or in a magazine. But it seems that the latter is now much less frequent. One can also have “le feuilleton de l’été” (but strangely enough, there is no such thing as “le feuilleton de l’hiver”.

Dominique Mellinger, Gorze, France

From: Maureen Winterhager (etceterantik gmx.de)
Subject: Aw: A.Word.A.Day--feuilleton

I disagree with your definition of “feuilleton”. The part of a European newspaper called feuilleton deals with cultural activities in all their facets! Not just “light literature, criticism , and the like”. All non-scientific literature, opera, theatre, cinema, dance choreography. ’Tis my favourite part of German newspapers. Such a wealth of information, in depth!

Maureen Winterhager, Germany

From: Richard Freeman (rfree sonic.net)
Subject: bibliophage

There’s an anecdote regarding the guitarist Mike Bloomfield (in the bio by Ed Ward), in which he reports that when sufficiently enamored of a passage, Bloomfield would tear out and eat the page(s).

Richard Freeman

From: Grant Agnew (ggttwwaa gmail.com)
Subject: Bibliophage

If there were a magazine for bibliophages, would it be called the Reader’s Digest?

Grant Agnew, Brisbane, Australia

From: Beverly Bell (bevbell gmail.com)
Subject: enormous gratitude

Friends, I write from Chiapas, Mexico, to thank you for the gift you have created for so many of us. We are all the richer for having so many words recovered from loss of usage, and for having our intellect stimulated by the joy of language.

More specifically, I write to offer my deep appreciation of a larger service you provide, implicitly and explicitly. That is to encourage ethics in humanity and engagement in creating a national politic grounded in decency, integrity, honesty, and respect. Your contribution toward these urgent needs is beautiful and powerful. Thank you, thank you.

Beverly Bell, Chiapas, Mexico

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: bibliophage and bibliophilia

CREEPY/CRAWLY Alert! When I reflected upon the etymological derivation of our word “bibliophage”, the “phage” root (“one who eats”) jumped out at me, and I immediately recalled the similarly-rooted word, “geophage”, meaning one who eats earth or soil-like substances, such as chalk or clay. So, in my illustration, I’ve clearly taken a more literal reading of “bibliophage”, an alternative to bookworm. Here, I’ve depicted a gigantic silverfish, the bane of bibliophiles, literally caught in the act of munching away on a book page, unlike a bookworm, who voraciously consumes books, in the figurative sense, savoring the printed word, while digesting the content of the text and illustrations. As an inveterate bibliophage, myself, with a personal library containing thousands of books, I’ve encountered the occasional skittering silverfish (and evidence of their mischief), usually in long-neglected, long-unexplored boxes of stowed away tomes.

Forgive my arguably lame pun in captioning this cartoon offering for our word “bibliophilia”, also punningly echoed in master bookworm’s directional exhortation to his book-burdened cohorts. In arriving at this scenario, I was recalling images of those industrious little insects of tropical climes, leaf-cutter ants, as they traverse the forest floor, moving along in one continuous, compact single-file line, each carrying, overhead, a cut leaf fragment... a faux parasol, of sorts. So here, I’ve tried to simulate that leaf-cutter ant action, with a troop of dedicated bookworms transporting their precious cargo... destination unknown. The bust of Homer hopefully adds a touch of literary gravitas to the piece?

In this scenario, Trump’s go-to, numero uno fawning apologist, and rhetorical talking-head at FOX/News, Sean Hannity, is thrown a Trumpian curveball, as the Donald, self-proclaimed “stabile genius” that he is, clearly has no clue as to the meaning of the word “bibliophile”. I would venture to say that bungler Trump’s reason for having a particular fondness for the New Testament “loaves and fishes” parable is because of his equal fondness for chowing down on McDonald’s fish fillet sandwiches... w/ extra fries and a diet soda, no less.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Anagrams of this week’s words

This week’s theme: words about books:
1. bibliophilia
2. chrestomathy
3. biblioclast
4. feuilleton
5. bibliophage
1. book fetish (i.e., his Bible)
2. anthology
3. spoil, beat up, bite the classic
4. tabloid with humble serial
5. bookworm
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Limericks

“There is something that’s almost surreal, yeah?”
Said I to my good friend, Aurelia.
“I am lured to the stacks;
I have bookshelf attacks!
I’m just stricken with bibliophilia.”
Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

Don’t give me a Kindle, puh-lease,
But a book, with some wine and some cheese;
Bibliophilia? Yes!
No checkers, no chess,
Reading for me’s the bee’s knees!
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

The bibliophile filled her home
With many a marvelous tome.
Wherever one looked
This gal “overbooked” --
Her shelves I would happily roam.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

A book in my hands makes me smile,
or relax, or learn something worthwhile.
No eyes glued to a screen
I’m aware. I’m serene.
Guess that makes me a bibliophile.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

“I’m aware you have bibliophilia,
But this isn’t the time,” said Amelia.
“Take your nose from that book
And for landing sites look.”
Answered Fred, “You seem worried -- I feel ya.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Chrestomathies written by King
Are super, if horror’s your thing.
With chills and suspense,
His tales are intense --
But who needs the nightmares they bring?
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

If you seek an opinion to sway,
a chrestomathy might be the way.
Bartlett’s could be a source,
or even, of course
there is Wordsmith’s own “Thought for the Day”.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

“Put my quotes in a little chrestomathy,”
Said Mao, “for I’m getting quite crotchety.
With my sayings enshrined,
I bet Broadway will find
That they’d make a hit musical comedy.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Says the man with the bug spray, “Avast,
little bookworm! Your heyday is past!
This stuff by Monsanto
makes spiders and ants go --
and YOU, nasty biblioclast!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

How many books have I burned? None!
I cringe when I see this act done;
Ray Bradbury knew
What biblioclasts do
When he wrote Fahrenheit 451.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

I once lived with a biblioclast.
She was naughty, destructive, and fast.
Sassy went on rampages,
She loved books, just the pages.
But now she’s a grown dog, at last.
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

Looking back on his much checkered past,
The young student was highly aghast.
He once tore up a book,
Tossed it into the brook
As though he were a biblioclast.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

A biblioclast from Poughkeepsie
On finding himself getting tipsy
Burned every citation
Of inebriation
And afterward felt ipsy-pipsy.
-Gordon Tully, Charlottesville, Virginia (gordon.tully gmail.com

It was cute when my babe started talking,
Though not when the scamp began walking.
For that biblioclast
Tore my books up so fast
That at motherhood I began balking.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (jpmarlin456 gmail.com)

Said the new White House Biblioclast,
“The Bolton book leaves me aghast.
Free speech wasn’t meant
To our President dent;
This I’ll burn on a Fox telecast.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Le poème le plus humoristique?
Il n’y a pas de doute: le lim’rique!
Let it lay anyway,
Monsieur, s’il vous plait
As le feuilleton most magnifique!
-Mariana G. Warner, Asheville, North Carolina (marianaw6002 gmail.com)

“Voila!” cries the young Francophile,
as she hands him her work with a smile.
“My new feuilleton!”
Says the editor, “Bon,
but please hold the français for a while!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Anxious readers of Dickens would cry,
“When will we know: Did Little Nell die?
They did have raison.
Published en feuilleton
those installments their patience did try.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

Charles Dickens, a great novelist,
Was known for his Oliver Twist.
All his readers would seek,
A new chapter each week.
His feuilleton not to be missed.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Zeess nursery rhyme ees très bon,”
Said Marie, putting down her feuilleton.
“Throughout all of Versailles
Zere was not a dry eye
When at school arrived Mary’s mouton.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

He’s reluctant to turn the last page.
“There’s naught that can ever assuage
my sadness at end
of a book, though I mend
fairly soon,” says the bibliophage.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

I was dubbed a bookworm at age nine.
Named a bibliophage suits me fine.
Whenever one would look,
My nose was in a book.
Now I read them with a glass of wine.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

Since boyhood and now in old age,
He savors each word on the page.
He’ll sit there for hours
As books he devours --
He’s truly a bibliophage.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

This reader from an early age
found delight in each turn of the page.
Every book a new friend
to buy, borrow, or lend.
Happy nerd, major bibliophage.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

As a child a bibliophage,
In adulthood he’d monarchs upstage.
Said Gandhi, “Resist,
But do not raise a fist”;
Soon the Brits on the Raj turned the page.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: A bollix due to that prefix

Suggested to Tolstoy: “Remove your bibliophilia heartbeat.”

To Thomas: “If you whiten your teeth with Chrestomathy atrical agent might discover you!”

Some fundamentalists want the King James Biblioclast as the only acceptable version.

The boy said, “I’ll trade ya three cat’s eyes and a’ agate feuilleton.” (taw)

I thought I could pun anything, but “bibliophage” (this week’s third AWAD beginning “biblio”) has made me eat my words.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Mistakes are the portals of discovery. -James Joyce, novelist and poet (2 Feb 1882-1941)

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