Language, Humour & Games

  • 101 Weird Words (and Three Fakes)

    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
  • 2,024 Qi Facts to Stop You in Your Tracks

    The mind-boggling, sock-popping, rib-tickling phenomenon that is QI have outdone themselves with this especially huge collection of facts, including:

    • Humans glow in the dark
    • Clinomania is the overwhelming desire to stay in bed
    • In 17th Century Japan people warmed their feet by putting chilli peppers in their socks
    • Mrs Beeton published a recipe for a toast sandwich
    • Wheat has over five times as much DNA as humans
    • Less than 5% of the world's population lives in a genuine democracy
    • The word 'school' comes from a Greek word meaning 'free time'
    • Ten out of the 12 water companies in the UK still make use of divining rods
    • Coral can drown

    $24.99
  • Addictionary: Brave New Words
    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.
    $19.95
    $4.99
  • An Apple a Day

    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
  • Around the World in 80 Cliches

    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
  • As Easy as Pi

    In this day and age it's hard to imagine a world without numbers. Our lives are centred around commerce and money, and it is the only language that's the same the world over. However, did you know that for a long period of time people could not get their heads around the idea of zero, a figure representing nothing, and that it was even regarded as heretical in some circles?

    As Easy As Pi is an entertaining and accessible guide, written for those who love numbers – and those who don't – and uncovers a great deal of lore and intriguing information. Features include:

    • Snippets of fascinating numerical facts
    • Myths and mysticism in the world of numbers
    • Numbers in language and used as slang
    • Pop culture trivia
    • Useful mathematical rules to remember

    $14.99
  • Avoid Them Like the Plague

    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
  • Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

    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!

    $12.99
  • Can You Solve My Problems?

    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
  • David Astle's Gargantuan Book of Words

    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
  • Happy Quilter Word Search

    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
  • How to Be a Hero
    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
  • Like My Father Always Said

    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
  • Like My Teacher Always Said

    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
  • Making a Point

    Behind every punctuation mark lie a thousand stories. The punctuation of English, marked with occasional rationality, is founded on arbitrariness and littered with oddities. For a system of a few dozen marks it generates a disproportionate degree of uncertainty and passion, inspiring organisations like the Apostrophe Protection Society and sending enthusiasts, correction-pens in hand, in a crusade against error across the United States.

    David Crystal leads us through this minefield with characteristic wit, clarity and common sense. He gives a fascinating account of the origin and progress of every kind of punctuation mark over one and a half millennia, and he offers sound advice on how punctuation may be used to meet the needs of every occasion and context.

    $29.99
  • My Grammar and I (or Should that be Me?)

    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
  • Oxford Dictionary of Abbreviations
    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
  • Quid Pro Quo

    Now in paperback, Quid Pro Quo takes you on a fascinating journey along the highways and byways of Roman life and culture, telling the amazing stories behind the original Latin meanings and uses of hundreds of our everyday words.

    Taking in every aspect of the ancient world, including science, religion, military matters, politics and literature, the author shows just how much the English language owes to the ancient Romans and the role Latin has played in the creation of our vast vocabulary.

    $22.99
  • Rewording the Brain

    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
  • Schadenfreude

    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.

    $24.99