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Dec 18, 2022
This week’s theme
Words related to books

This week’s words
bibliophagist
prosateur
bibliopole
peritext
bibliophobe

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

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AWADmail Issue 1068

A Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Tidbits about Words and Language

Sponsor’s Message: “Way better than Wordle.” One Up! -- The Wicked/Smart Word Game is a devilish (blue)stocking stuffer: No board. No complicated rules. No mercy. Just fabulous, real-whirled fun that’s guaranteed to ruin Christmas and New Year’s. Ho Ho Ho Special $5 U.S. shipping sitewide ends at midnight. Shop now.



From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Interesting stories from the Net

What’s More Important for This Town: A Library or a Police Station?
The New York Times
Permalink

PhD Student Solves 2,500-Year-Old Sanskrit Problem
BBC
Permalink

Japan’s Most Endangered Languages Face Extinction
The Economist
Permalink



From: Glenn Glazer (glenn.glazer gmail.com)
Subject: bibliophagist

I found this word somewhat... hard to digest.

Glenn Glazer, Felton, California



From: Lloyd Thomas (proffexpert yahoo.com)
Subject: books

Loved your story of the heater repair technician. Here in Southern California, where 40° seems really cold, we have an old-fashioned under-the-floor gas furnace -- from an ironically named company called Cozy. When its performance became as erratic as a Dodger relief pitcher, we called one of those advice services and they referred us to a small company who sent out a technician auspiciously named Christian -- it was like an allegory out of Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. Christian crawled under the house and fixed the problem in about half an hour.

But I wondered, if Christian hadn’t rescued the heater and got it glowing again, could I have started burning books in the fireplace? Which tomes would I incinerate first? Old textbooks I would obviously burn first. But then what? Detective fiction? George Simenon -- there are so many? Peter Wimsey? PG Wodehouse? Edgar Poe? What awful sacrifices to keep warm. Would I save Shakespeare until the very last? Or Proust, which might burn more slowly. Thanks to Christian I was spared making such agonizing decisions.

Lloyd Thomas, Los Angeles, California



From: Kumari de Silva (msmuffintop googlemail.com)
Subject: books

I used to work as a realtor for about 10 years. In the early years I noticed bookcases had been repurposed to hold Dvds or Cds (I can’t tell the difference from the spine) But in the last 5 years of working I saw about 1 small bookcase, located ignobly along the wall of the staircase. In the future no one’s gonna believe there was such a room as the “library.”

Kumari de Silva, Frazier Park, California



Email of the Week -- Brought to you buy One Up! -- “The wickedest word game in the world.”

From: Kay Moller (kathryn.moller colorado.edu)
Subject: Bibliophage

Since 2000, books have literally been eaten during the The International Edible Book Festival every Apr 1. Dreamed up by librarian Judith Hoffberg and artist Béatrice Coron, “the only rule is to make edible art that has something to do with books as shapes and/or content.” After a public viewing, the books are then eaten! I’ve participated in several of them over the years.

Kay Moller, Boulder, Colorado



From: Allen Roberts (aroberts arts.ucla.edu)
Subject: bibliophagist

A bibliophagist may be one who loves to read books or a bookworm as suggested, but from its etymology, the word can also refer to one who eats books. Sacred texts are cherished in many (all?) Muslim worlds for their soothing or stirring messages, the sainted hands that inscribed them, their esoteric powers through numerology and other methods, and the blessings they convey in very active ways to those possessing them. Such heirloom agencies are deployed if one is confronted by dire need: pages may be placed in water to release the Word to be imbibed or otherwise “eaten” in acts of textual transubstantiation. One becomes the Word through ingestion and so receives divine succor.

Allen F. Roberts, Los Angeles, California



From: Phyllis Morrow (phyllismorrow1 gmail.com)
Subject: Bibliophage

Children, like puppies, need a lot of oral gratification. As a young ‘un, I discovered that the high-acid pages of brittle old paperbacks had a pleasant lemon flavor. While I read, I’d habitually break off a yellowed corner and hold it in my mouth, letting it disintegrate like a citrus lozenge.

My seven-year-old granddaughter is in the habit of sucking on her jacket collar, much to her mom’s distress. I think I’ll find an old bookstore and see if I can convert her to bibliophagy.

Phyllis Morrow, Fairbanks, Alaska



From: John H. Craw (thecrawh gmail.com)
Subject: Say no to paper

After we’ve read a book, it (with rare exception) goes into the wood stove. People often gasp in horror. But

1. We buy our books used for $1-2/ bag at local library deaccession sales;
2. Most books don’t sell at our auctions. Charities won’t take them. They go into a bonfire or landfill after 2-3 of us take some home.

We love to read; we don’t love paper waste. I hope the future is e-books and we stop cutting down trees for a hobby that for many is about possession rather than reading.

John Craw, Glenford, Ohio



From: Henry M. Willis (hmw ssdslaw.com)
Subject: Bibliophagist

When I saw this word I thought it might mean literally what its Greek origins would tell us: a book-eater. That’s because I still remember Maurice Sendak’s story how, as a young boy, he loved the smell of leatherbound books so much that he sometimes sunk his teeth into them (like a lover: just enough to leave indentations, not enough to tear or scar them). I don’t think you could get the same satisfaction from biting a cell phone.

Henry Willis, Los Angeles, California



From: Andrew Pressburger (andpress sympatico.ca)
Subject: bibliophagist

The question that comes to mind apropos the word bookworm is whether a bookworm eats books or whether he/she is being eaten by worms. To quote:

“We fat all creatures... to fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots. Your fat king and your lean beggar is but variable service -- two dishes but to one table.” (Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 3)

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada



From: Steven Isacowitz (stevenzok icon.co.za)
Subject: below freezing (28° F, -2° C),

The freezing point of water is zero degrees Centigrade. This, however, can be lowered by the addition of a solute, for example salt. So the freezing point of sea water may be -2 °C.

But to say “below freezing (28 °F , -2 °C)” without specifying what it is that is freezing, is imprecise.

Steven Isacowitz, Cape Town, South Africa

Apologies for the imprecision. Next time we’ll get the water sample analyzed in the lab for impurities so we can give the precise freezing point. How many decimal places do you recommend? Also, as the freezing point depends on the atmospheric pressure, we are getting a barometer installed as well. Finally, yes, we should have mentioned that we were talking about water (H2O, to be more precise).
-Anu Garg



From: Herbert Rakatansky (herbert_rakatansky brown.edu)
Subject: books

I had a similar experience. Just last week the TV repairman came to my house to repair a broken TV box in my library which is overstuffed with books. He made the same comment, “You have a lot of books.” I responded by giving him an anthology of Sherlock Holmes stories (of which I had several). I am not sure of his reading skills but he said that his children might read it. He has a happy story to tell and perhaps someone in his family will read it. It is surely more likely to be read than if it remained in my library.

Herbert Rakatansky, MD, Providence, Rhode Island



From: Joan Perrin (perrinjoan aol.com)
Subject: bibliophagist

The word bibliophagist reminds me of the song in the musical She Loves Me, sung by shop girl, Ilonia. She sings that she found the man of her dreams after a Trip to the Library (video: 5 min; lyrics).

Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York



From: Linda Hawes Clever (lindahclevermd gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--bibliophagist

The great poet Mary Oliver wrote a wonderful poem about Percy, her bibliophagist puppy. Mary named all of her dogs Percy, after another great poet.

Percy (One) by Mary Oliver
Our new dog, named for the beloved poet,
Ate a book which unfortunately we had
Left unguarded.
Fortunately it was the Bhagavad Gita,
Of which many copies are available.
Every day now, as Percy grows
Into the beauty of his life, we touch
His wild, curly head and say,
“Oh, wisest of little dogs.”

Linda Hawes Clever, MD, Mill Valley, California



From: Lawrence Crumb (lcrumb uoregon.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--prosateur

The title character in Molière’s Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme was delighted to learn that he had been speaking prose all his life.

Lawrence Crumb, Eugene, Oregon



From: Margaret Breuer (mabreuer0519 gmail.com)
Subject: Bibliopole

A charming and au courant book store is Square Books in Oxford, MS. There are four separate shops located around the town square. Each shop has a different emphasis. One of the shops focuses on rare books. The proprietor is forward thinking and all authors of note have book signings in his store when they are promoting their books in the South.

When I lived in Atlanta, my book club took a road trip to Oxford to pay homage to William Faulkner (we’d just finished reading Absalom, Absalom!) and to visit Square Books where we had a meet-and-greet with the owner and bibliopole, Richard Howorth. It was a delightful and memorable experience.

Margaret Breuer, Sarasota, Florida



From: P. Larry Nelson (lnelson illinois.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--bibliopole

I’m guessing the best-known bibliopole might just be the angel Aziraphale in the book (and the 2019 Amazon six-part series) Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

His bookshop, A.Z. Fell and Co. in Soho has very rare and first edition books, but Aziraphale goes to great lengths not to sell any, having collected them for himself for over 200 years.

The production design (in the video version) of the bookshop is a pure delight to behold.

Larry Nelson, Champaign, Illinois



From: Stefan Lewicki (sklewicki gmx.co.uk)
Subject: Thank you

I let your feeds pile up in my inbox and work my way through them from time to time. Today, I read one from last March where you mention 28 years of AWAD and I realised I’d followed you almost since then, when as an English teacher a highly computer-literate student of mine introduced me to your site. This is by way of thanks for all those years of pleasure and learning. I recommended you to many and used to print out some of your thoughts for the day for my classroom to stimulate student thinking and reaction... retired now and still enjoying them.

Stefan Lewicki, York, UK



Bookish, and Then Some
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: bibliophagist and bibliophobe

For me, our word bibliophagist is a bit of a tongue twister. So for this offering I opted for the simpler definitional equivalent, bookworm. Clearly, I’m portraying the anthropomorphic version of a bookworm.

Trump Library: Oxymoron
Trump once boasted that he loved “the under-educated”. He might well be the poster-boy for bibliophobia. Sadly, he’s proud of his aversion to book-reading, save for his “The Art of the Deal”. Questionable if he’d even read it from cover-to-cover. We know he certainly didn’t write it. In contemplating his presidential library, this bona fide narcissist would want every book to be about him. Is there a “Presidency for Dummies” book out there?

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California



Anagrams

This week’s theme: Words related to books
1. Bibliophagist
2. Prosateur
3. Bibliopole
4. Peritext
5. Bibliophobe
= 1. Poet-obit -- bookworm wept
2. Tale teller pips Ipod
3. Libraire--his e-exhibits
4. Blurb, digest
5. Boo! He hates books
= 1. We bibliobibuli
2. Literator
3. Bookseller
4. It’s the extra pages
5. Dippiest bimbο pooh-poohed the best works
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com) -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

1. Bookworm
2. Bard
3. Elitist biblioplegist
4. About books’ peripheries
5. People who do hate their bibles & texts
= 1. I adore Bibles
2. I write pro poem books
3. I sell Bibles
4. The extra props to put with the book
5. God, I hate Bibles
= 1. Bibliophile (big debt?)
2. Expert writer
3. I sell people tomes
4. Book’s outer “robes”
5. With book phobia (that is sad!)
-Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz) -Josiah Winslow, Franklin, Wisconsin (winslowjosiah gmail.com) -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)

Make your own anagrams and animations.



Limericks

Bibliophagist

“Bad storms!” says the meteorologist.”
“No problem,” replies the young optimist.
“I’m happy indeed
just to stay home and read.
As you know, I’m a staunch bibliophagist!
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Bibliophagists, it’s no surprise,
Very often are learned and wise.
Great knowledge they’ve got
From reading a lot,
Although sometimes they’re straining their eyes.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Said Anu, the famed etymologist,
“I’m also a true bibliophagist.
Home repairmen I stalk
So of books I can talk.”
Answered Donald, “You read? A fifth columnist!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Prosateur

His ambitions at poesy derailed -
Every effort at rhyming had failed.
He became an auteur,
An inspired prosateur --
And his efforts, at last, were all hailed.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

Ulysses, the novel, we’re told,
Has a style that is brilliant and bold.
“Stream of Consciousness”, too!
But that pleased just a few.
Prosateur James A. Joyce leaves me cold.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

“I’m truly a great prosateur,”
brags the novelist.”Don’t you concur?
And you’ll find I excel
at versing, as well,
in case that’s the form you prefer!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

He’s a great prosateur, and that’s why,
He’s become a most quotable guy.
He’s a master of prose,
But as everyone knows
It is limericks he’d like to try!
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

In grammar school, some teachers would
Tell us kids what they thought that we should
Wind up being -- “...and you’re
... a born prosateur!”
“Oh, really? And... ummm... is that good?”
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

“While zese germs I can kill,” said Pasteur,
“Sacré bleu, I am no prosateur.
I write papers and books,
And yet can’t convince schnooks;
Zey prefer anti-vaxxer manure.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Bibliopole

Incunabula -- books very rare --
Don’t appear at your normal book fair.
Seek a bibliopole --
It’s a specialist role.
I presume you’re a right millionaire?
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

The bibliopoles had a shop
Where book lovers always would stop.
Then Amazon came
And changed the whole game,
Which bankrupted old Mom and Pop.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Such a lovely, delightful old soul
Is our neighborhood bibliopole --
If you have but a dime
He’ll take payments on time.
I wish that I had his bankroll!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

He sought out a bibliopole
To find the rare play was his goal.
Found his acquisition,
An old first edition
Of Faust, but it cost him his soul.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Said Santa, “A big lump of coal
Is in store for each bibliopole.
For Jeff Bezos is coming;
Bricks, mortar, and plumbing
Will vanish into his black hole.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Peritext

What began as a volume quite slim
Soon with peritext started to brim.
Seems the editor’s cure
When your theme is obscure,
Is to explicate rather than trim.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

This volume has footnotes galore,
A peritext I just ignore.
These details digressive
I find are excessive --
They’re simply a terrible bore.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

In the book of her story he’s peritext,
For the truth about Sonny was Cher he vexed.
As the Goddess of Pop,
Once she finally said, “Stop!”
There were many with whom to make merry next.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Bibliophobe

A bibliophobe I once knew
Was burning some books, quite a few.
That man was pathetic.
He was analphabetic,
And he voted for Donald Trump, too.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

When a bibliophobe we elected,
Intellectual heft we rejected.
We chose as our leader
A foolish non-reader --
I don’t know what the hell we expected.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

All the banning of books that you see
Is a trend that’s as bad as can be.
The bibliophobe’s rise
Is not wanted, nor wise.
They impose all their bias on me!
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“What to do with a bibliophobe?”
At breakfast sighed Will in his robe.
“They’re bored by a sonnet.
But wait -- hah! I’m on it!
I’ll put on some plays at The Globe!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)



Puns

Said Mrs. Tolstoy when her husband ordered his favorite Vietnamese soup, “You’d better put on a bibliophagist always seems to wind up on your shirt.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The librarians voted on who worked at the best library on a bibliopole.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

The King of Belgium was looking for something to keep food off his infant during feeding. The bibliopole-d found was in a kitchen cupboard.
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

“Marcel, no one weel evaire remembaire all zis prosateur-iting about a stupid leetle cookie!” complained Proust’s literary agent.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

While standing in line for the boxing champion’s motorcade to approach, an amateur spotted the limousine and exclaimed, “The prosateur-ning the corner!”
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

“Peritext me when the killer confesses and I’ll meet you for lunch,” said Della Street.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)



P-22's Last Hurrah
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: P-22’s Last Hurrah

P-22, the 12-year-old resident mountain lion of Los Angeles’s Griffith Park, is sick. State Fish & Wildlife rangers decided to capture the cougar after he attacked two dogs. Early medical reports revealed that he is underweight and may have sustained head trauma, likely struck by a vehicle. He could be spending his remaining few years in a wildlife sanctuary. Releasing him back into the wilds is highly unlikely. Worst case, he’d be euthanized, a loss to us Angelenos who have grown very fond of this wild feline.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California



A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed. -Steve Biko, anti-apartheid activist (18 Dec 1946-1977)

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