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Customer Review

on 3 June 2002
I never thought I'd describe a reference book as unputdownable, but once you open this book to look one thing up (say, a peculiar expression that someone has just said, "Now why *do* we say that?" about), you'll find yourself reading all the entries in sight! Very useful for anyone with an interest in literature, history, or language and great fun to use, with a distinctly tongue-in-cheek feel to it (the hilarious section on "Famous Last Words", for instance).
It makes a really lovely present for young and old: it looks suitably impressive, has fairly universal appeal provided they're a fan of the written word, and is far livelier than the standard reference books that get trotted out on Important Occasions. I have given this to my best friend, my step-dad, and a second cousin who has just come of age; the latter (aged 13) hasn't been heard from yet (we calculated that there's a pretty good chance he's going to read it, unlike most of the books he's bound to have received), but the other two have adored it, and friends who have been introduced to my copy usually end up spending a good hour leafing through it. A huge number of phrases, expressions, and characters from myth, history and literature are there, but I still want to know where the word "codswallop" comes from...
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Product Details

4.8 out of 5 stars
75