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on 18 September 2001
That's the best anagram of the title that I can manage. And that's why I'm no good at Scrabble (or crosswords). This is an illuminating account of competitive Scrabble - and also of the addiction of games. In addition, there's plenty on the origin and history of the game, the personalities involved, and techniques to improve your play. It almost made me want to play the game. My only objection is that the book was a little over-long, and I would have liked to have learned more about why the author became suddenly so addicted. It just seemed to happen. Perhaps that's the way it is.
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on 8 December 2002
Anyone who ever cared a bit too much about a game will love Stefan Fatsis' fascinating book about the world of 'professional' scrabble players. The book is both a sequence of pen portraits of the world's (mostly Americans actually) top scrabble players and also the story of Fatsis's own growing obsession with the game.
I've never been a big scrabble lover but off the back of this book I ended up buying a new deluxe set, a set for some friends and getting back into chess! Do yourself a favour and read this book ...
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on 16 August 2016
Packed with great tips that even keen Scrabble players might not have thought of. Makes an unusual present for word geeks.
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on 17 January 2008
I originally bought this book intending to give it to my brother-in-law who's a skilled Scrabble player. I read it first, and ended up keeping it. I wasn't much of a Scrabble person, but I really enjoyed the book, partly because the community of Scrabble players reminds me of other fannish communities, and partly because I love board games.

Re-reading the book recently after starting to play a lot of Scrabble online, I've also found the book to be a good source of tips on Scrabble tactics. You don't have to go to the lengths of memorising the dictionary to improve your game as a basic player - just understanding the concept of improving your rack rather than always playing the highest-scoring word that you can manage makes a big difference. And if you do want to try and memorise large chunks of stuff, you'll find tips on doing that as well.
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on 4 February 2008
I loved this book, i've always enjoyed the occasional game but nothing more than that (although i was pretty jarred off in my last game when someone did not allow me to have 'quested' as they thought quest was only a noun!) However i never realised that there was this whole world of competitive scrabble inhabited by such infectious weirdos! although politics and bickering amongst the hierarchy obvious goes on, is it Fatsis love of the game that truly comes out in his writing. Theres whole chapters devoted to strange words that i never knew existed and lots of stuff that i'm now very pleased i now know about - pub quiz question - who invented scrabble - ans ALFRED BUTTS!
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on 16 October 2001
A record of how the game of Scrabble became the most important thing in the authors life. As well as explaining the history of the game, various tactics and strategies it also introduces the reader to life on the pro circut in the USA (many of the plays involve words that are only acceptable in the American form of the game), and the obsessions of some of the singular individuals who inhabit this other world where the most important consideration is how to improve your rating. A fascinating study of the world of Scrabble that is not to be missed by those who play the game on frequent basis.
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on 17 October 2002
As a fan of "Fever Pitch" and "Things can only get Better" I bought this book hoping for another funny and moving tale of obsession (and I also hoped to get some tips to improve my Scrabble). I was a little disappointed, since the stories aren't that funny or moving, and the only tip I could pick up seemed to be "learn the dictionary".
The book reads more like a series of magazine articles, giving short biographies of all the top Scrabble people, one after the other, and detailing the occasional tournament. Reading these, you do get the impression that top Scrabble players are all a little disturbed, and it is interesting to see the lengths people go to to be the best, but the stories are all a little too matter-of-fact, and don't engage the reader.
Having said that, I did find myself becoming more interested in the game. I have learnt the 2s and am now learning the 3s!
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on 19 July 2001
What really makes this book work for me is that Stefan writes as a member of the competitive Scrabble community, not just an observer. He captures perfectly the weirdness of the Scrabble world, while unashamedly admitting his own addiction. A great read.
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on 23 November 2001
I found this book throughly enjoyable and informative. A highly recommended read for anyone who enjoys Scrabble, or simply those who have an interest in the language (like myself)
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on 24 March 2006
If you liked this, and you love games, you might also like ABDEGIL by AHNNOTY DEHLNO (especially if you like EKOPR), which is a slightly better written book about a similar theme.
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