The Ultimate Guide to The Building Blocks of Our Universe
From hydrogen to ununoctium, this accessible guide explores the properties of each element in the periodic table, explaining their chemical behaviours – how their atoms interact with atoms of other elements – and their worldly uses, from light bulbs and mobile phones to dental fillings and space suits. The introduction explains the chemistry and physics of nuclei, electrons and chemical bonds and provides the groundwork for understanding the entries and their data.
The Times Concise Atlas of the World
For the 13th edition, this major atlas has been updated to 2016 and includes, among several new features, nine historical maps of the world since 1858 and satellite images of the continents. The main body of the atlas comprises over 200 pages of Collins Bartholomew maps covering the continents, oceans and polar regions. Other features include world maps, 41 city plans and geographical information, new sections on climate change and economy, a glossary and a comprehensive index of place names. Slipcased.
Collins World Atlas
Beginning with a section of world maps and diagrams covering topics including landscape, climate and conflict, this atlas contains full-page, physical mapping of the continents, oceans and poles, with illustrated introductions to the physical and political geography of each major region. There is also a statistics section with a full listing of the world’s states and territories and an index of over 50,000 place names. Fifth edition.
A Journey in Search of Language
Why is Tolkien’s Bilbo Baggins ‘eleventy-one’ years old? Is Leominster named after lions or nuns? What is the origin of the idiom ‘to face the music’? As one of our foremost experts on the English language, Professor Crystal often finds himself travelling down curious and quirky linguistic side roads. This travelogue follows his explorations of the language’s history through encounters with modern-day speakers across the globe, from Anglesey to Zimbabwe.
It's Been Said Before
A Guide to the Use and Abuse of Clichés
While most people agree that clichés are to be avoided, there is no general agreement on what is and what is not a cliché. For the lexicographer Orin Hargraves they are 'the sterile offspring of a mind that is not engaged in creativity', and by analysing hundreds of examples he presents a thorough guide to identifying tired, overused phrases that prompts us to examine how we express our ideas and to construct our speech and writing thoughtfully.
Is That a Word?
From AA to ZZZ, the Weird and Wonderful Language of Scrabble
After a history of Scrabble, rules of the game, tips on playing and some interesting variants (including Haggle Scrabble, Strip Scrabble and online Scrabulous), Bukszpan’s guide comprises lists of interesting and, above all, playable words. As well as the essential two-letter words, there are playable first names, Shakespearean characters, words without vowels and an A–Z of uncommon vocabulary. Be aware that this book is American and uses the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary (2005), based on the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
Mensa Logic Brainteasers
Over 150 Diverse Logic Puzzles
Logic puzzles require no specialist knowledge, just the ability to follow a line of reasoning, step by step, to its ultimate conclusion. This selection of more than 150 brain-teasers ranges from verbal and mathematical riddles to visual conundrums that test your spatial reasoning as well as your powers of logic.
The Dictionary Series
'A browser's paradise', this set comprises four dictionaries: one defines and traces the origins of almost 300 commonly used words from 'accolade' to 'zoo'; another provides detailed explanations of over 400 idioms in current use; English Down the Ages starts from historical events (from 1066 to 1989) and explores how they brought new vocabulary into the language; and Proverbs and Their Origins explains the meaning and usage of 400 proverbs, chosen for their interesting etymologies and stories. Slipcased.
The Puzzler's Dilemma
From the Lighthouse of Alexandria to Monty Hall, a Fresh Look at Classic Conundrums of Logic, Mathematics, and Life
‘A man is found hanging in a locked room with no furniture and a puddle of water under his feet. What happened?’ From ancient Greek paradoxes to the role of probability in television game shows (via the Rubik’s Cube, chess problems and crosswords) this entertaining book illustrates eleven classic types of logic puzzle, tells the stories behind their creation and shows how to go about solving them.
Everything Explained That Is Explainable
On the Creation of the Encyclopædia Britannica's Celebrated Eleventh Edition, 1910–1911
With 29 volumes containing 40,000 entries, the vast eleventh edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica was a high point of Edwardian optimism and is considered to mark the last stand of the Enlightenment. Boyles draws on letters and newspaper articles to trace the history of its production and to reveal the contribution of two American entrepreneurs in the spectacular revival of an ailing British publication. Felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge and American-cut pages.
Do I Make Myself Clear?
Why Writing Well Matters
The right words are essential to clarity of thought and expression, but the use of digital media promotes more speed, more words – and less precision. The veteran journalist Harold Evans has edited everything from battlefield reports to the thoughts of Henry Kissinger, and in this concise, witty guide, he brings his insight to bear on the craft of writing well. Through practical examples using real copy, he shows how editing can cut through clichés, jargon and verbosity to enable clear, effective communication.
Ware's Victorian Dictionary of Slang and Phrase
A goldmine for anyone intrigued by the weird and wonderful usages of slang, Ware’s 1909 compilation of ‘Passing English’ is introduced by John Simpson, former Chief Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, who describes it as full of expressions ‘that might never find their way into more straitlaced dictionaries’. As well as words and phrases dating from the late 19th century, including slang from different occupations, sports, countries and ‘street’, Ware explains new idioms such as cads on castors (bicyclists) and the American brownstone fronts (aristocrats).
Making a Point
The Persnickety Story of English Punctuation
With its unique mixture of logic and eccentricity, English punctuation excites both anxiety and fiercely held opinion. What other area of language has produced an organization such as the Apostrophe Protection Society? With wit, clarity and common sense, this entertaining volume offers both a history of English punctuation from medieval scribes to the internet and a complete guide to how to use it. From the question mark to the semi-colon, the book is packed with both amusing anecdote and sound practical advice.
The All-New University Challenge Quiz Book
Following the exact format of the venerable BBC2 television quiz (except you won’t have to sit on each other’s heads), this book poses the starters, each with three bonus questions, for 15 matches – altogether, over 2,000 questions. The dilemma will be to Google or not to Google. Off-mint.
The Atlas of the Real World
Mapping the Way We Live
Cartograms are digitally modified maps that enlarge or reduce areas of the globe to reflect statistical data. This flexibound atlas contains 382 such cartograms in full colour, depicting a broad range of topics: population, transport, natural resources, trade, food sources, health, wealth and poverty, war, crime, the environment and pollution. This revised second edition includes 16 new maps on the world’s religious beliefs. The result is a powerful and surprising visual presentation of the way people live around the world.
And Other Grammatical Grumbles
Greengrocers are not alone, even PhDs can misuse apostrophes: these ‘little things’ cause more problems in the English language than any other element of grammar. By going back to the roots of the language and understanding why we use apostrophes, Patrick Notchtree promises that ‘all will be made clear’, and he presents the ‘One Easy Rule’ that will point the way to apostrophe mastery.
A History of the English Language in 100 Places
In 100 Places
How did the Germanic dialect of a small island become a lingua franca spoken by two billion people across the globe? This compelling guide charts the history of the English language from the earliest texts to the age of Twitter. Attractively illustrated with colour photographs and maps, the book focuses on 100 places that played a key role in the development of the language, from Canterbury – where the Latin alphabet was adopted – to Kolkata, and from Salford to San Francisco.
The 25 Rules of Grammar
The Essential Guide to Good English
Grammar does matter, and Joseph Piercy argues cogently that understanding and using grammatical rules is not pedantic, but essential if we want to make ourselves understood. Presented with a very light touch, a scattering of anecdotes, and quotes from literature, his 25 rules and essential tools are lucidly explained with examples and summaries. The book ends with a quiz, a glossary and a selection of 'A Grammarian Walks into a Bar' jokes.
The English Illustrated Dictionary
Originally published as the Oxford Illustrated Dictionary and revised in 2005 for the Award edition, this single-volume reference work combines a normal dictionary with an elementary encyclopedia, providing basic information on places, events and famous people in history, the arts or science, and illustrated with line drawings and diagrams. There are also very useful appendices, including lists of monarchs, counties, chemical elements and weights and measures. Slightly off-mint.
Dictionary of Accounting
In clear, simple English, this dictionary covers more than 6,000 terms relating to accounting, from personal finance and investments to company accounts, balance sheets and stock valuations. Many entries include examples and quotations from journals showing the words used in context, and there is a supplement with sample financial documents and a list of industry contacts.
Who Was Who
Volume IV: 1941–1950
Since 1897, when it first included biographical entries instead of a simple list of names, Who's Who has been an invaluable source of information on the careers of people from every walk of life and all parts of the world – while they lived. This fourth volume of Who Was Who contains the biographies of those who died during the decade 1941 to 1950. The entries are as they last appeared in Who's Who, plus the date of death and occasionally some revision.
Sherlock Holmes Everlasting Diary
With apposite quotations from the Holmes stories or information about Arthur Conan Doyle on every page, along with Sidney Paget’s original illustrations from The Strand magazine, this perpetual diary would be excellent for recording birthdays and anniversaries – Ma and Pa’s wedding forever remembered on the day of Ryder’s desperate plea in 'The Blue Carbuncle'. The diary is bound in red linen with gilt-edged pages and a silk marker.
The Timeline Atlas
World History + Maps & Flags of Today's World
Beginning with a concise summary of our knowledge about the universe, the solar system and the physical geography of Earth, this reference book covers both time and space: the timeline and world history trace key events from early human settlement to the conflicts of 2014 in illustrated double-page spreads; the atlas has over 160 pages of maps and an index; and the guide to the world's flags includes basic facts about each country's area, population, capital, government, religions and currency.
Opening Pandora's Box
Phrases Borrowed from the Classics and the Stories behind Them
We might know what it means to be 'under the aegis', but what was the aegis? In this A–Z of classical allusion, Ferdie Addis has gathered together words and phrases, such as chimera, Croesus, hoi polloi and lotus eaters, that so enrich modern English, and he tells of their weird and wonderful origins in ancient history and Greek and Roman mythology.
The O Level Book
O levels were taken in Britain between 1951 and 1988 and are often considered by the people who took them to have been much harder than the GCSEs that replaced them. Whether this is true or not can be put to the test by studying this book, which collates sample questions from O level exams set between 1955 and 1959 in English, Maths, History, Geography, General Science, Music and Household Cookery.
A No-Nonsense Guide to Easily Confused Words
Compliment or complement? Stationary or stationery? This entertaining and sympathetic (or empathetic?) A–Z guide lists common mistakes, with their Embarrassment Rating, an explanation of why they are troublesome and tips on how to avoid perpetrating (or perpetuating?) them.
Oranges and Lemons
Rhymes from Past Times
In the earliest recorded version of the rhyme London Bridge, from 1744, the first line is 'London Bridge is broken down', no doubt referring directly to the decrepit state of the 12th-century crossing at that date. This diverting volume investigates the origins of nursery rhymes, playground songs and children's ditties from the mists of medieval folklore to the inventions of more modern authors.
Collins Easy Learning French Verbs
The bestselling Easy Learning Language series is designed for both young and adult learners, from beginners up to GCSE students, and the books are excellent for exam revision. Each volume is clearly laid out and contains hundreds of example phase. The Verbs books give detailed rules for verb formation and verb table and include a 'Verb Wheel' for conjugating the most commonly used verbs, while the jargon free Easy Learning Grammar books provide the basics needed to speak and understand the language.
The Language Wars
A History of Proper English
For centuries bitter arguments have raged over the correct usage of English, with ideas of correctness often having more to do with morality and politics than language itself. In a witty, combative and thought-provoking book, Hitchings presents the most persistent disputes, asking where ideas of 'proper' English have come from and assessing their implications for our relationships, work and freedoms.
The Marriage Feast at Cana
A jewel-like miniature, surrounded by colourful foliage with birds and drolleries, The Marriage Feast at Cana is from a 15th century Book of Hours from Savoy. The illumination is magnificently reproduced in colour on the embossed foil covers of this journal – one of a series that could lend splendour to the most humble jottings. Inside there are 176 ruled pages, scarlet endpapers, a silk marker and a pocket for loose papers. The book closes with a solid magnetic side flap.
A Book of Days
Every page embellished with medieval ornament and miniatures from manuscripts in the British Library collections, this Book of Days can be used to record birthdays, anniversaries and annual events. It is arranged with one week to one page, always with a facing painting. The cover shows the Annunciation, set in a field of flowers, from the 15th century Book of Hours, Use of Sarum.
The Usual Suspects
and Other Cliches
Cliches: over-used, abused, and sniffed at by school teachers – or are they valuable linguistic shorthand, summing up in a few words what otherwise would take twenty? In this A–Z, lexicographer Betty Kirkpatrick explains the stories behind and the usage of more than 1,500 phrases, old and new, from what is 'essentially a lawless part of the English language'. First published as The Dictionary of Cliches in 1996. Second edition.
Secrets of Codes
'We are all proficient cryptoanalysts' writes Paul Lunde, and his entertaining and visually exciting book demonstrates how coded information pervades our lives, whether we are learning to speak or generating keys for digital encryption. This illustrated survey of how codes of every sort have been used to convey information - from early writing systems to cutting edge computing - investigates topics as diverse as the Rosslyn Chapel, Maya symbols and flag signals, cracking Enigma, mapmaking and the genetic code.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
This is the first printed supplement to the Oxford DNB (2004) and includes entries on 819 men and women who shaped recent British history and who died between 2001 and 2004. The earliest person by birth date is the dancer and choreographer Dame Ninette de Valois (1898–2001), but the majority of subjects grew up in the interwar years. Among the notable figures in this supplement are Barbara Castle, John Peel, Francis Crick and Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. No jacket.
Teddy Bears, Tupperware and Sweet Fanny Adams
How the Names Became the Words
As you lie on the davenport in your cardigan, eating garibaldi biscuits, do you ever consider how people's names become words we use in everyday English? From Achilles to Zeppelin, this entertaining book investigates both familiar and unusual eponyms and describes the stories behind them. At last, we meet the man who gave the world the Hoover, the farmer responsible for macadamia nuts (John Macadam), and Dr Salmon, immortalized in salmonella.
Pocket Oxford Italian Dictionary
You will need a fairly large pocket, because this is a substantial Italian/English, English/Italian dictionary, designed to meet the needs of students, tourists and anyone in need of quick and reliable translations, with the focus on everyday, idiomatic English and Italian. In addition to the main listings, this edition has an A–Z of Italian life and culture and notes on letter-writing, text messaging and online navigation in Italian.
A Dictionary of Foreign Words and Phrases
For this short dictionary, Tuleja has selected foreign tems that are neither completely Anglicized nor merely pedantic. From Abendland (German: 'the West') to zolotaya seredina (Russian: 'the golden middle'), he a gives a translation, pronunciation and information on meaning and history; and there is much more - among the 'Special Categories' are classical phobias, a Sanskrit sampler, Italian musical terms and fearless leaders (caliph, czar, kaiser etc). Finally, there are indexes of words and phrases and subjects.
Whatever Happened to Tanganyika?
The Place Names that History Left Behind
Described by Alexander McCall Smith in his foreword as the pioneering work of a new discipline, 'nostalgic geography', this intriguing book tells the stories of 46 old names, their origins and their demise. Beginning with the bizarre history of Pleasant Island (now the Republic of Nauru), the tales of places that are no more include such evocative names as Hispaniola, Rangoon, Fernando Po and Skye (now officially Eilean a' Cheò).
Encarta Book of Quotations
From Hank Aaron (b.1934), an American baseball star, to the Chilean poet Raul Zurita (b. 1951), this book contains 25,000 quotations by more than 6,200 authors. International in scope, the listings are also up to date, with about half the quotations taken from the last 100 years. The clearly laid-out entries give authors' dates, sources for the quotations and contextual notes; and the keyword and thematic indexes make it easy to find the quotation you want.
Any Number of Things You Didn't Know... and Some You Did
Money, music, movies, life on Earth and the human body, sport, science and space – everything, in fact, is governed by numbers. Arranged (numerically of course) in sections on subjects from the here and now of the modern world to infinity, Numeroids presents 1,300 pieces of numerical information. There is something for everyone, whether your interest is in the number of teeth a tortoise has (zero), or the size of the US defence budget (ca. $689 billion).
You Say Potato
A Book About Accents
Everyone has an accent, though many of us think that we don't. What does our accent say about us – and what do we assume about other people when we hear theirs? Actor Ben Crystal and his linguist father David travel the world in search of the stories of spoken English, from Shakespeare's accent to the rise and fall of Received Pronunciation. Authoritative and packed with anecdotes, this book celebrates the rich variety of the English language.
Cleaning Hints and Tips
'A neglected home becomes a chaotic and unhappy place,' writes Cindy Harris. In this practical guide she provides information on the tools you'll need, the know-how, and the routine that will keep you in control of the chaos. Housekeeping, for Harris, is a state of mind, and the right attitude is every bit as important as the bicarbonate of soda.
Back to Basics
The Education You Wish You'd Had
All of us from time to time are tortured by forgetting simple facts that we learned long ago, or are made aware of glaring – and potentially embarrassing – gaps in our knowledge. If you still have to think about the grocer's apostrophe or can't remember your irregular French verbs, then this book will remind you of the basic English, Maths, Science, History, French and Geography that we were all taught at school.