love of books

A copywriting lesson from a children’s book

I bought the most beautiful book the other day – ‘On a Beam of Light – A Story of Albert Einstein’. It’s by Jennifer Berne  with pictures by Vladimir Radunksy.

It’s that lovely combination of just the right words set against gorgeous illustrations that make the best children’s books so enchanting and memorable.

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We’ve been truly dashelled today! Having fun with Forgotten English

Day five of Jeffrey Kacirk’s Forgotten English page a day calendar, is particularly apt. Today’s word is ‘dashelled’ which means ‘beaten about and wetted by bad weather.’

I was given the calendar for Christmas, and I’m looking forward to unveiling a long forgotten word each day throughout 2012.

I’ve already discovered such gems as ‘toad-under-a-harrow’. Apparently it means a man whose wife not only henpecks, but makes sure the entire world witnesses the indignities he suffers at her hands. And I’ve leapt ahead to the weekend where I found ‘gubbertushed’ – used to describe someone with projecting teeth.

It’s funny how words from long ago seem so much more expressive somehow!

Jeffrey Kacirk was brought up in San Diego. He became fascinated by the dialog and ‘general antiquity’ of Shakespeare’s plays, which he saw performed at the nearby Old Globe Theater. In college he became, “intrigued with European and American social history, especially the languages, activities, and customs.”

He’s included these longtime interests in several books and calendars which you can find on his website, Forgotten English.

His book of the same name contains recipe terms such as dilligrout, and uzzle-pye. Mmm, they both sound frighteningly like descriptions of something I might serve up…

 

 

Household words* – what our language owes to Shakespeare

The Yvonne Arnaud's striking Macbeth poster

I went to see a production of Macbeth on Tuesday night by the Icarus Theatre Collective at The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford.

The staging was stark, dark and fabulous, and sitting there watching some excellent performances from the small cast of seven, I was reminded how much our language owes to Shakespeare.

OK. I know you Bard haters and detractors will disagree but so many of his phrases are still commonplace in our language almost four centuries after his death. 

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What’s the connection between beekeeping and a literary figure? It’s elementary!

I’m working on a project at the moment that makes me feel very lucky to be doing what I do to earn my crust. I’m editing a book on beekeeping for novices by a talented photographer, David Wootton. And it reminded me about something my beekeeping friend, Jules, told me about a connection with Sherlock Holmes.

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Wedlock by Wendy Moore – a true story that’s as thrilling as any novel

If you think, as I did, that newspapers’ lust for juicy gossip about celebrities is a modern phenomenon, think again. The heroine, Mary Eleanor Bowes, kept an ever eager Georgian press in titillating stories for much of her life.

I just couldn’t put this book down! It’s a fabulous story from start to finish, really well-written and must have taken an enormous amount of diligent research.

The blurb on the back claims it’s as thrilling as a novel and so it is.

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Shocking lack of reading skills among London’s children

I was a shocked by the Evening Standard’s front-page headline last night – City of Children Who Can’t Read.It doesn’t refer to a city in a developing country but to London. And that’s a disgrace.

One of the facts in the report is that 1 in 3 children say they don’t own a book. I can’t imagine having grown up without books. My parents read to me every night, and Mum patiently taught me to read before I started school. The love of words and reading they encouraged has stayed with me: in fact it’s now how I earn my keep.

OK, I realise I’m very lucky they devoted that time to me (and that they were able to do so of course.) But being able to read isn’t just about loving books and writing. According to The Standard ‘The conveyor belt from illiteracy to exclusion to unemployment and, all too often criminality, is well documented.’  It also quotes that 40% of London firms say their employees have poor literacy skills and report it has a negative impact on their business.

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Hello. I'm Elaine, I'm a copywriter and this is my blog.

It's mostly about words and writing - things that inspire me, entertain me, and make me smile. Sometimes it's about things that horrify me so much I want to scream and shout!

I hope you enjoy it and find it useful. And speaking of useful - scroll down and take a look at the Oxford Dictionaries tool.

Click here to find out a bit more about me.

Word Alchemy Blog