Language, Humour & Games
101 Weird Words (and Three Fakes) is a mini-dictionary jam-packed with unusual or interesting words, followed by a fun and descriptive definition for each one.
Filled with silly pictures and strange wordy facts, this is a book to sweep the reader through the alphabet from ambidextrous (no repeated letters) to zugzwang (not a place you want to visit), with a generous sprinkling of riddles, puzzles and bonus facts.
For an extra challenge, try to spot the three fakes in the collection. Is it yarg – the cheese that turned its maker backwards? Or maybe juffle – the semi-jig, semi-shuffle you do on a zebra crossing? Only a true word detective will crack the case!$9.99
We all invent words and coin phrases; it's how language evolves. Addictionary: Brave New Words collects the best of these neologisms into this handy volume, organised into categories (including technology, politics, dating, sports, religion, and medicine) and cleverly illustrated throughout.
A great gift for any wordsmith, Addictionary is on the cutting edge of the English language, staking claims on new linguistic territory with an arch blend of the sharply intellectual and the sublimely silly.
Does absence really make the heart grow fonder? Can beggars be choosers? Is it always better late than never?
Proverbs are short, well-known, pithy sayings that offer advice or words of encouragement and are used in everyday English without much thought ever being given to their meanings, or indeed, usefulness. An Apple a Day explores the truth behind our favourite proverbs, their history and whether they offer any genuine help to the recipient.
Did you know that The Old Testament has an entire book devoted to proverbs? Or that 'a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush' is a proverb from falconry that dates back to the Middle Ages? Many proverbs are still in use today, including the very famous 'slow and steady wins the race', which derives from one of the many fables of Aesop.
Light-hearted but authoritative, An Apple A Day proves that proverbs are as useful today as they ever were.$14.99
Whether cliché get under your skin or make you laugh, this dictionary of clichés goes the extra mile to provide an excellent reference for casual browsing or an in depth read.
Cheeky and informative, each cliché is presented in such a way that is guaranteed to entertain. Know where your cliché comes from, so you won't be afraid to use it.$17.99
The Art of Mindful Reading embraces the joy of absorbing words on a page, encouraging a state of mind as deeply therapeutic and vital to our wellbeing as breathing.
Ella Berthoud asks if reading is our daily nourishment, how best should it be consumed? How should you read mindfully? And why will reading mindfully help you to read better? She explores how reading mindfully can shape the person you are, give you your moral backbone and teaches empathy with others. Through meditative exercises, engaging anecdote and expert insight, she reveals the enriching potential of reading for mindfulness.$18.99
Cliches are a familiar part of the English language, but to be honest, many have been so over-used that they have become trite, meaningless and rather irritating. With this informative and humorous book, you are in a safe pair of hands as you learn about the origins and meanings of some of the most hackneyed phrases still used today.
Avoid Them Like the Plague will keep you up to speed with clichés in their many forms – once useful but now overworked catchphrases ('move the goal posts'), worn-out sayings ('all hands on deck'), pointless phrases used to conceal a weak argument ('to be perfectly honest'), technical terms used out of context ('collateral damage') and many others. This fun and witty book aims to expose the self-importance or laziness that frequently lie behind the worst examples of these phrases and sheds light on why it's best to avoid them.
Employing a combination of erudition, humour and occasional derision, Avoid Them Like the Plague thinks outside the box and really is the best thing since sliced bread for anyone who values good English and clear communication.$14.99
Clichés, those trite little phrases that often get a point across quickly and efficiently, have become such a familiar part of the English language and people’s everyday speech. This entertaining book takes an in-depth look at hundreds of these common expressions in their many forms – where they came from, what they mean, how they’ve evolved over time and their prominence in today’s society.
Inside you’ll discover hundreds explored and explained, such as:
- Thinking outside the box
- All hands on deck
- My way or the highway
- To be perfectly honest
- And many others!
Can You Solve My Problems? is not just a random list of skull-warping brain-teasers, but rather a skilfully curated anthology of puzzles.
A good puzzle is ingenious, frustrating and a-ha!-inducing. In this entertaining and utterly addictive book, the author will challenge you to pit your wits against pangrams, hidatos, chessboard puzzles and a Singaporean schoolchild's maths paper. Piece of cake, right? Only if you know the scientific method for cutting cake correctly.
Organised from easy-peasy to ninja level with stories of puzzle mysteries, histories and scandals along the way.$29.99
Packed full of puzzles, quizzes and fun facts - along with heaps of funny drawings and appealing activities - this is the perfect book for kids aged 8 and above. A wordplay puzzle book from the wordplay master!
A fun-filled, action-packed activity book by Australia's funniest and best-loved word guy! David Astle's Gargantuan Book of Words is jam-packed with wordy puzzles and other twisty tricks of the tongue.
From the author of Wordburger, this is an entertaining and accessible activity book for the kid who likes puzzles, the kid who likes language, or the kid who just needs something to do that doesn't involve a screen.$19.99
Turn idle time into fun time with 72 word search puzzles just for quilters!
With topics all sewists can relate to like "Have iron, will travel" and "Best places to hide fabric," these large-print puzzles make a perfect gift for stitchers. Take this book with you in the airport, or host a contest among your guild friends. A helpful answer key is included.$19.99
Every man wants to be a hero - and now every man can. Learn what do in any emergency, how to save cats from trees, fix a flat tire, make the perfect cocktail, rescue a damsel in distress, perform the Heimlich maneuver and leap buildings in a single bound (well, not so much the last one).
Witty, clever and packed with really useful information, this indispensable guide will help any man become a true knight in shining armor. Sam Martin is the best-selling author of How to Mow the Lawn, How to Keep House and Bringing Up Baby.$17.95$4.99
From quips to short anecdotes, the book is divided up into all the sage and nutty information we garner from our fathers.
Chapters include Growing Up Right, The Facts of Life, Dad's Soft Spot, Got It from Grandpa, The Sporting Life and Ask Your Mother.$17.99$9.99
This volume heads for the classroom to celebrate what we gleaned from perhaps the most obvious candidates for learning: our teachers.
The book includes both full-page tales and short quips. The material is exceptionally rich and comes from a diverse roster of characters – from primary school instructors and piano teachers to Catholic school nuns, guidance counsellors, coaches and mentors.
This book is a perfect way to inspire memories of student days and an ideal gift for teachers to show your appreciation for the influence they’ve had on your life.$24.99
For anyone who has ever had a problem with dangling modifiers and split infinitives, or for those who have no idea what these things even are, My Grammar and I provides all the answers.
While taking you on a tour of the English language, through a veritable minefield of rules and conditions for the grammatically unaware, and highlighting the common pitfalls that every English language user faces on a day to day basis, the book also offers amusing examples of awful grammar, and will steer you in the direction of grammatical greatness.
Factual and witty, My Grammar and I is the perfect gift for all English language sticklers.$12.99
From the first name in reference - the words behind the letters. If you don't know what they stand for you just might find yourself unable to understand basic English. Includes:
* Nearly 20 000 abbreviations from all fields
* Slang, internet, scientific and technical jargon
* Text-messaging abbreviations
* Subject labels that put each into perspective.$12.95$5.95
Recent studies have shown that puzzle-solving and wordplay are among the most effective ways to boost the power and agility of your brain. A cryptic crossword a day can help keep memory loss at bay.
In this entertaining book, cryptic crossword guru David Astle explains how your brain responds to and benefits from attempting these crosswords. A growing body of research suggests cryptic crosswords are the ideal workout for your brain, and Astle shows how regular training of this kind can be fun as well as fundamental.
If you've always been intimidated by cryptic crosswords, fear not! Rewording the Brain is an accessible guide to developing and sharpening your puzzle talents. Novices and expert solvers alike will gain plenty of cryptic insights. There has never been a better time to start solving, nor a better teacher than the legendary Astle.
Also included are 50 cryptic crosswords hand-picked to keep your brain abuzz, ranging from beginner-friendly to fiendishly complicated!$29.99
Nothing makes the world gleam like bad people getting the fate they deserve. For one glorious moment, the stars align, the universe delivers, and the commuter who barged past us all down the station stairs misses the train.
Schadenfreude – enjoying the pain and failures of others – is an all-too-familiar feeling. It has perplexed philosophers and psychologists for centuries but, in a time of polarised politics, twitter trolls and 'sidebars of shame', has never been more relevant. Recent studies have shown that we smile more at a rival's loss than at our own success. No wonder we're said to be living in the 'Age of Schadenfreude'. But why can it be so much fun to witness another's distress? And what, if anything, should we do about it?
In Schadenfreude, Tiffany Watt Smith offers expert insight and advice. Ranging across thinkers from Nietzsche to Homer Simpson, investigating the latest scientific research, and collecting some outrageous confessions on the way, she reveals how everyone – babies, nuns, your most trusted friends – are enjoying your misfortunes. But rather than an emotional glitch, she argues, schadenfreude can reveal profound truths about our relationships with others and our sense of who we are.
Frank, warm and laugh-out-loud funny, Schadenfreude makes the case for thinking afresh about this much-maligned emotion – and perhaps, even, embracing it.$19.99
It's not what you say, it's the way that you say it ...
There have long been debates about 'correct' pronunciation in the English language, and Britain's most distinguished linguistic expert, David Crystal, is here to set the record straight. Sounds Appealing tells us exactly why and how we pronounce words as we do.
Pronunciation is integral to communication, and is tailored to meet the demands of the two main forces behind language: intelligibility and identity. Equipping his readers with knowledge of phonetics, linguistics and physiology – with examples ranging from Eliza Doolittle to Winston Churchill – David Crystal explores the origins of regional accents, how they are influenced by class and education and how their peculiarities have changed over time.$29.99
From the puzzles section of The Times, this selection of 300 crossword puzzles will keep even the most eager enthusiasts entertained for hours.
Encompassing a wide range of subjects including geography, literature, history and culture, these general-knowledge and definition-based puzzles will test your word power and broaden your horizons at the same time. With clues that are satisfyingly skillful and containing no cryptic elements, these crosswords are guaranteed to stretch your mind and entertain you equally.$17.99
This Crossword appears weekly in the Saturday edition of The Times. The puzzles offer the same challenge as daily crossword but the larger grid packs an extra punch!
The clues are also a little more testing than the daily crossword, to stretch the crossword enthusiast just a bit further, and provide hours of entertainment.$22.99