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15 Reviews
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable for linguists, geeks and the couch reader
I've really loved reading this book. I've learned quirks of languages and writers, and I've been surprised and amused. I thought about marking each nugget of information, quote or witticism with a little Post-It flag, so that I could share them with friends who would appreciate them, or post them online. I quickly realised that the book would become a prickly-edged forest...
Published on 24 April 2011 by Firecracker

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3.0 out of 5 stars It really get a bit boring after a while, like reading old magazines in a dentist's waiting room.
This is mildly funny and somewhat interesting. I don't think it is nearly as good as Alan Coren's review of the Encyclopedia Britannica but some is in the same vein; a series of published articles put together as a book (with a few spelling and punctuation errors).

The trouble is that is gets monotonous less than half way through. I suppose that anyone...
Published 2 months ago by H. M. Sykes


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable for linguists, geeks and the couch reader, 24 April 2011
This review is from: The Last Word: Tales from the Tip of the Mother Tongue (Paperback)
I've really loved reading this book. I've learned quirks of languages and writers, and I've been surprised and amused. I thought about marking each nugget of information, quote or witticism with a little Post-It flag, so that I could share them with friends who would appreciate them, or post them online. I quickly realised that the book would become a prickly-edged forest of follow up flags. There are just so many things that made me want to go "Ooh, did you know...?" to a friend.

So I'll simply content myself with heartily recommending it to friends, and sitting down for a re-read sometime soon.
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3.0 out of 5 stars It really get a bit boring after a while, like reading old magazines in a dentist's waiting room., 9 Oct 2014
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This is mildly funny and somewhat interesting. I don't think it is nearly as good as Alan Coren's review of the Encyclopedia Britannica but some is in the same vein; a series of published articles put together as a book (with a few spelling and punctuation errors).

The trouble is that is gets monotonous less than half way through. I suppose that anyone reading one of my blogs would think the same after reading the 10th, there is no difference in style (Mr Macintyre trying to be funny in a dry way) only in substance, a different topic each time, often with parts repeated. If I read just one a week I might think it better than I do but his rather superior way of explaining his views to us laymen has started to grate on my nerves, let alone his boasting about his travels, which are not that spectacular.

In the old days this would have been left in the downstairs loo so people could dip into it (the book, not the loo) while doing their business. Probably great for this but not for a Kindle book which I feel I ought to finish (but won't) before starting the next.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and informative, 4 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Last Word: Tales from the Tip of the Mother Tongue (Paperback)
This is the third book I have read by Mr Macintyre, and he is a very good writer. His dry wit and humour make the book highly enjoyable. A few sections, admittedly, are not quite so amusing, but overall the research, variety of topics and clever prose more than make up for those. I particularly enjoyed the meeting of two authors such as Conan Doyle and Dan Brown, and at last I realise what JFK should have said in his famous gaffe when addressing the crowds in Germany. I remember the section on school reports bringing a wry smile, and it reminded me of comments I used to write about recalcitrant students:-
" a lively pupil who works well under close supervision."
Having already sampled the delights of Operation Mincemeat and Agent Zigzag, I eagerly await the history behind Ian Fleming and James Bond.
Thank you, Mr Macintyre, for writing such a delightful book full of fascinating facts, incurring comments such as
"Well,fancy that."
" It certainly makes you think."
"What a surprise!"
Long may he continue to delight the reader.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The deep and beguiling wellsprings of the English language, 23 April 2014
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This review is from: The Last Word: Tales from the Tip of the Mother Tongue (Paperback)
MacIntyre is a prodigy of learning and wit, just the person to do justice to the infinite mongrel variety of the world's lingua franca. He shows over and over again that words are both means of communicating and historical treasures, absorbed into a language and taking on particular patinas as generations of speakers adapt them to their culture's uses. There is so much here that is informative, delightfully surprising and downright funny. It would be especially useful to Australian journalists and writers, who have so many deficiencies in their knowledge of the meanings of words.
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4.0 out of 5 stars last word, 20 May 2012
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This review is from: The Last Word: Tales from the Tip of the Mother Tongue (Paperback)
an entertaining book, elegantly written and containing a fund of literary and philological anecdotes, good reading for anyone who cherishes language.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amusing, thought provoking and erudite., 6 Oct 2014
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Valerie Brogan (Dorset, England) - See all my reviews
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Amusing, thought provoking and erudite. The only draw back is that it is, by its very nature (a selection of newspaper articles), somewhat episodic and the awareness of a word count limit means that certain areas, which could do with so much more being said, are constrained by the format.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag in more ways than one, 22 Nov 2014
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McIntyre has a large range of reference and allusion which in the first half produced some delightful nuggets that were new -- to me at any rate. In the second half he became rather repetitive and I found myself skipping past whatever did not quickly attract my attention.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jolly entertaining, 14 Oct 2009
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John (Conakry, Guinea) - See all my reviews
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A collection of articles from The Times, each about three pages long. The standard is consistently high. A great read on the beach.
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3.0 out of 5 stars It's a series of articles, so works well for ..., 4 Oct 2014
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It's a series of articles, so works well for me as one to have on my phone to dip in to during periods where I've a short time to kill.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 5 Oct 2014
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Interesting mostly, but some extracts from newspaper columns could have been more relevant twhen originally published
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The Last Word: Tales from the Tip of the Mother Tongue
The Last Word: Tales from the Tip of the Mother Tongue by Ben Macintyre (Paperback - 6 Sep 2010)
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