Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

The Gift of Words

Posting the First Wednesday of every month, the Insecure Writer's Support Group, is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. YOU can sign up HERE to participate.

Every month a question will be posed that may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Remember, the question is optional. You can write about anything that relates to your writing journey.

Let's give a warm welcome to our co-hosts:   C. Lee McKenzie, JQ Rose, Jennifer Lane, and Jacqui Murray!

This month's question is: Book reviews are for the readers. When you leave a book review do you review for the Reader or the Author? Is it about what you liked and enjoyed about your reading experience, or do you critique the author? I rarely critique the author unless it's to say something general as in "I found the writing a bit choppy" or "I really liked the author's style of writing." My book reviews are pretty simple, I don't give synopses because there are plenty given by other reviewers and there is the book blurb itself. My reviews are mostly about what I like or don't like, how the story make me feel, what I learned or didn't learn. They don't tend to be longwinded. I rarely get into the "psychological" or "metaphorical" meaning behind a story. I rarely give out 5 stars either. For me, 5 stars are for those really powerful and special books that leave me kind of breathless and wanting more, that make me weep or laugh out loud, a book I will want to read more than once. Being honest with myself, most books I like are good solid 4s. A few are 3s. Unless an author is well known and people are raving about a book I find particularly bad, I rarely write reviews for books to which I would only give 1 or 2 stars. If the author is not famous and I think their story is bad (for whatever reason) but has lots of positive reviews, I keep my opinion to myself and don't post a review. I don't want to hurt another author's chances at making a little money.
Origins: a recurring post in which I delve into the history of a word or phrase.

Today's words are: GIFT and BIBLE
Christmas is on it's way. What could be better than discovering the origins of these two words?

Gift, "that which is given," has traveled a long and winding road. We will go from newest to oldest: 
Old Norse gift, gipt meaning "gift or good luck".
Proto-Germanic geftiz, (which is also the source of the Old      Saxon gift, Old Frisian jefte, Middle Dutch ghifte "gift",        German mitgift "dowry") all come from the geb "to                give" which in turn comes from the
Birthday gifts
Words are Gifts
Proto-Indo-European root ghabh "to give or receive." This humble root word forms part or all of these words (this is not the full list):  able, cohabit, cohabitation, debit, debt, due, duty, endeavor, exhibit, exhibition, forgive, gavel, gift, give, habeas corpus, habit, habitable, habitant, habitat, habitation, habitual, habituation, inhabit, inhibit, malady, prohibit, prohibition, provender. 

I love that the word FORGIVE is related to GIFT.

Gutenberg Bible, Lenox Copy, New York Public Library, 2009. Pic 01The word Bible comes from the Latin biblia, which in turn comes from the Greek work biblion, meaning "paper scroll" and evolved to be an "ordinary word for a book as a division of a larger work." 

It's the paper scroll part that's interesting. Biblion was a diminutive of byblos, meaning "Egyptian papyrus." The city of Byblos was a Phoenician port from which papyrus was exported to Greece.  

We have papyrus to thank not only for the word paper, but also for the long list of words that have to do with books from bibliophile to biblioteca which is Spanish for library.

LoanWord: A word adopted from a foreign language with little or no modification. Today's loadwords come from Old Norse. There are so many, it was hard to choose. Loft/aloft, Anger, Are, Awe, Bag, Bait, Band (as in rope), Billow, Bleak, Both, Boon, Bug, Cake, Cozy, Creek, Cur, Die, Dirt, Dregs, Dump, Egg, Glitter, Gun, Happy, Haven, Husband, Keg, Kid, Kilt, Knife, Lad/Lass (not Scottish!? the Vikings gave them to us!) Leg, Mistake, Mug, Ransack, Reef, Rotten, Sale, Same, Skill, Skin, Skull, Sky, Take, Thrift, Troll, Ugly, Wail, Window (which means wind-eye) Wrong.

Merry Christmas,
Happy New Year,
Peace on Earth,
Broccoli on Mars


  1. My reviews are simple too. Happy Holidays!

  2. Those were nice words to pick this month.

    I don't review many books because most of my reading is DLP books.

  3. I agree, Bish. I don't provide blurbs or synopsis because generally every other review gives them. Happy IWSG Wednesday.

  4. Not a chance I'm getting metaphorical in any review!

  5. Hi Bish - happy broccoli to you ... enjoy yourself. Words are fascinating aren't they ... while I must make it essential for me to write a review ... and then I'll be used to doing them ... sometimes I find myself getting lost in the mechanics of the back office for the reviews. Cheers Hilary

  6. I'm all about the emotional impact of the books I read, so I talk about what I experienced.


Your Random Thoughts are most welcome!