By Heidi Stevens, Tribune Newspapers
December 14, 2011
It's a beautiful thing to walk through life in love with words. (Not so beautiful when Words With Friends is the object of your affection, as Alec Baldwin will attest.)
Ejection from American Airlines flights and ensuing Twitter battles notwithstanding, a love affair with words is endlessly satisfying. It also makes gift-giving a whole lot of fun.
Here are five of our favorite ideas, each a celebration of language and all its lovely angles.
The American Heritage Dictionary, Fifth Edition. The latest edition — 11 years in the making — includes 10,000 new words (uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, manboob); updated quotes for context; thousands of color images; and a delightful essay on word usage, written by Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker, that is, alone, worth the $60 cover price. Find it at ahdictionary.com.
Mark Twain coasters. "A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read." So says this set of three coasters, with attribution to one Mark Twain. Whether you agree with the sentiment or not is immaterial: Think of the debates you'll have over drinks. (Drinks that won't, incidentally, leave rings on your furniture.) $10 at cafepress.com.
Bag a book. Erie County, Penn., law librarian Kathy Kelly turns old law books into pouches and purses by washing and ironing the covers and sewing them into unique patterns. "McKinney's Consolidated Laws of New York" has wooden handles, black lining and a magnetic button closure. "Poems for Seasons and Celebrations," edited by William Cole, has an 18-inch braided strap and a festive red lining. $225-$300 at bookbags.us.com.
Scrabble-doku. Lest you give your usual Scrabble opponent an unfair advantage, buy a couple of these books and keep one for yourself. The Sudoku-inspired 7-by-7 squares replace the game's numbers with legal Scrabble words. When you solve the puzzle, a hidden word is revealed. $5.95 at amazon.com.
The hangable Great Gatsby. You can hang the entire American Dream allegory on your wall with a poster created from the text of F. Scott Fitzgerald's great literary classic. "Little Women," "War and Peace," "Heart of Darkness" and dozens of others are also available. The text of each book is designed to depict a memorable scene from the story and printed on satin-finish paper. $31.99-$34.99 at postertext.com.
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