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Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

An Exaltation of Larks: The Ultimate Edition

An Exaltation of Larks: The Ultimate Edition - James Lipton

An excellent book that at its heart is just a very long list of collective nouns, referred to by Mr. Lipton as terms of venery both real and fanciful.  The first half of the book are terms culled from history and the second half, more modern creations.


I'm a fan of James Lipton's Inside the Actor's Studio but he writes much like he talks and I admit it doesn't work for me as well on the page as it does from the stage.  It's not an easy-reading style and he happily bogs himself down in references, quotes, and citations.  My mind wandered a few times as the tone of the writing got awfully close to an academic conference presentation.


Still, there's a lot of fun, interesting information here for anyone curious about the history of language, and Mr. Lipton celebrates the possibilities at the end of the book, by including games for creating your own terms of venery, complete with rules, scoring, and variations for speed.  His index of terms in the back includes blank spaces next to each noun so that the owner of the book can save his own terms for posterity.


I can't say the book was a joy to read, but it was informative, interesting and well organised.  I'm going to enjoy having it on my shelf and can easily see it being an oft used reference.