Thank you Bloomsbury India for sending me a copy of this book for review.
Hubert van den Bergh’s How to Sound Really Clever is a compilation of 600 odd words that we aren’t habituated to employ in our day to day usage, be it written or spoken language. Not only does the book incorporate pictorial representations of some of the words but it also breaks down each word into pronunciation, origin and examples for smooth learning. The author’s extensive research is churned into readable paragraphs that provide us with detailed insight into how the word came into being. Therefore this novel, in addition to building your vocabulary, heightens your knowledge of world history.
This book is more of a guide in dictionary format than a novel that you can read in one sitting. And so, I’ve taken some time in getting familiarized with it before writing this review. It is true what the synopsis says, some of the words in here, while being a mouthful, are truly impressive if integrated into your vocabulary. While I’ve met with some blank stares in putting these words to use, I have also experienced the joy that is in imparting the meaning of the words. I think it is very beneficial that the origin of the words is included. The sketches (of select words) are simple enough and nothing too extravagant. All in all, this book is wonderful and serves its purpose without fail. Reading a page everyday, within a month, you’re easily well versed with some great terms like mutatis mutandis, gadfly, waggish etc. It is a great coffee table book and also something that you can keep on your nightstand and read a snippet of, before you head out in the morning. I recommend this book to everyone who wants to improve their vocabulary and general knowledge in a fun, convenient way.
Ratings – 4 stars on 5.