In the beginning was the word...

Wordplay by Gyles Brandreth (Coronet, £14.99)

At Christmas, book elves' shelves groan with new titles from cookery to biography and beyond, but the one kind of book that finds its niche at this time of year might loosely be termed stocking filler, as it seems to defy all other categorisation. In this section, you'll find quiz books, joke books, books of interesting, quirky facts, records and events. You will also find word books, which to my mind, are the most fun. And if you want a fun word book, look no further than Gyles Brandreth who's spent a lifetime immersed in them surfacing occasionally to participate in Just A Minute or Countdown or to lob out another tome of brilliantly bemusing observations on the English language.

In here, among other things, you'll find tips from George Orwell on how to write, the longest English palindrome - tattarrattat, a selection of memorable children's names from the start of this century - Disney, Ikea and Money, for a girl, Kartier, Princeton and ESPN for a boy, a recipe for Omelette Arnold Bennett and aids for insomnia.

And if some of the humour seems designed to appeal only to the Victorians who orginally supplied it, other (larger) parts will have you groaning in admiration or delighting in its wit.

No wordsmith should be without one.

#word #GylesBrandreth #TheBookThisBedtime #bookreview

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