Max Cryer is an established authority on the English language, whose books have been sold around the world. He hosts a weekly radio slot on quirks of the English language.
Who first wrote 'absence makes the heart grow fonder', 'accidentally on purpose' or 'no pain, no gain?' Did you know that there is no evidence Queen Victoria said 'We are not amused' or Marie Antoinette proclaimed 'Let them eat cake', but 'iron curtain' was in use for 40 years before Winston Churchill said it, and we have P.G. Wodehouse to thank for 'straight from the horse's mouth'?
Have you ever wondered where terms like `end of your tether', `gets my goat' or `letting ones hair down' come from? Or why we call some people `geezers', `sugar daddies' or `lounge lizards'? Or where the words `eavesdropping', `nickname' and `D-Day' come from? They are just a few of the many words and phrases that language expert Max Cryer examines in this fact-filled and fun new book. Max explains where these curious expressions come from, what they mean and how they are used. Along the way he tells a host of colourful anecdotes and dispels quite a few myths - Did Churchill originate the phrase `black dog'? And if `ivory tower' can be found in the Bible, why has its meaning changed so drastically? Curious English Words and Phrases is a treasure trove for lovers of language. Informative, amusing and value for money, this book is `the real McCoy'. From `couch potato' to `Bob's your uncle', you'll find the explanation here!
Some people casually say 'touch wood' when they speak of something they hope will happen. Others won't allow peacock feathers into the house. And almost anyone who finds a four-leafed clover will treasure it and keep it. Why? Some superstitions are so ancient and have been practised for so long that they have come to be regarded as just harmless and widely observed 'customs', without people realising they are basically superstitions. For instance, many people wouldn't bother tossing spilled salt over their left shoulder or avoid walking under a ladder. But they happily continue to wear a wedding ring and blow out candles on a birthday cake. They don't know why - 'it's just a custom'. But both are actually superstitions. In a book full of surprises and revelations, Max Cryer explains the origins of many of the things we commonly say and observe and why we continue to include them in our lives: kissing under the mistletoe, the unlucky number thirteen, the significance of the bridal bouquet, saying 'bless you' after sneezing, the hanging of a horseshoe, 'the Scottish play', the danger in opals, the Leap Year proposal ...so many aspects of our lives are coloured by superstition. Now you can discover the reasons for them in a book that is both witty and informative. Superstitions will provide many 'Eureka' moments and settle many family disputes.
We cannot get enough of cats: from ancient times they have occupied a special place in many different cultures around the world. They have also generated a fascinating array of words, expressions and observations, as well as poems, books, movies, cartoons and artworks. In this witty and entertaining book, Max Cryer celebrates cats and all they have given to us. He describes the many words and expressions they have inspired, from 'catnip' and 'catwalk' to 'the cat's whiskers' and 'raining cats and dogs', as well as famous cat characters like Garfield, Felix the Cat, The Cat in the Hat and Puss in Boots, songs as varied as 'What's New Pussycat?' and 'The Cats' Duet', and poems like 'The Owl and the Pussycat' and 'Hey Diddle Diddle'. The cats owned by famous celebrities are described, from Elizabeth Taylor's 'Jeepers Creepers' to Dr Johnson's 'Hodge'. In other chapters he explores cats' attributes, the strength of their night vision and sense of smell, their sleep requirements, life expectancy and much more. Surprising facts - and spurious fictions - can be found on almost every page. Everything you ever wanted to know about cats can be enjoyed in this magnificent compendium of a book. It is a delight from beginning to end to be read with one on your lap.
In this revealing book, Max Cryer explores the truth or otherwise of facts and beliefs we may have always been told are true, but which on closer examination may not be. In a wide-ranging book encompassing social history, language, music, politics, food, sport, the natural world and much more, we discover the truth behind some of our most cherished beliefs. For example: Do St Bernard dogs really carry brandy? Does Santa Claus come from the North Pole? Did Winston Churchill coin the term 'Iron Curtain'? 'OK' is an American expression, right? Tulips come from Holland, don't they? Did Sarah Palin say 'I can see Russia from my house?' Did Alexander Graham Bell invent the telephone? Lady Godiva rode naked through Coventry - didn't she? Max Cryer is a seasoned author who is incapable of writing a dull word. Always fresh and amusing, he will take you on a journey through your acquired knowledge, testing whether it is really up to scratch.
In this revealing book, Max Cryer explores the truth or otherwise of facts and beliefs we may have always been told are true, but which on closer examination may not be. In a wide-ranging book encompassing social history, language, music, politics, food, sport, the natural world and much more, we discover the truth behind some of our most cherished beliefs. For example:Do St Bernard dogs really carry brandy?Does Santa Claus come from the North Pole?Did Winston Churchill coin the term 'Iron Curtain'?'OK' is an American expression, right?Tulips come from Holland, don't they? Did Sarah Palin say 'I can see Russia from my house?' Did Alexander Graham Bell invent the telephone?Lady Godiva rode naked through Coventry - didn't she?Max Cryer is a seasoned author who is incapable of writing a dull word. Always fresh and amusing, he will take you on a journey through your acquired knowledge, testing whether it is really up to scratch.
Why has Fido become a generic term for all dogs? Why did hundreds of people collect dog faeces - and sell it? Dogs never eat other dogs, so why is it a dog-eat-dog world? Did any dogs survive the 'Titanic'? What is a Yorkipoo? Do mad dogs really go out in the midday sun? 'Every Dog Has Its Day' pays homage to man's best friend, telling the stories of famous dogs in history, tracing the origins of some of our favourite breeds, showing how dogs have become a significant part of our language, and describing the amazing range of activities in which dogs are involved. Written with Max Cryer's characteristic light touch and sense of humour, this is a fascinating - and sometimes surprising - collection of historical facts and eccentricities of language. It will delight all dog-lovers and anyone with a morsel of interest in the world around them.
From our earliest years we have heard proverbs, and many of them are repeated without much thought. Yes, 'birds of a feather flock together' and 'absence makes the heart grow fonder', but these sayings are so familiar that we are scarcely aware they are proverbs. It has been so for thousands of years, in every culture. It is only when someone like Max Cryer takes the time to look at them that we can see how these 'pearls of wisdom' have played such a key role in the moral guidance of every society. Sometimes the wisdom is distinctly odd, sometimes it has become outdated, and sometimes it is simply contradictory. After all, do 'many hands make light work' or do 'too many cooks spoil the broth'? You can't really have it both ways. In 'Preposterous Proverbs', Max Cryer looks at a vast array of proverbs from around the world. Proverbs on birth, food, women and love rub shoulders with others on money, animals, sin and death. He has chosen some of the most interesting and perplexing, and with his characteristic wry wit he analyses their meaning and truth. A great book to dip into, 'Preposterous Proverbs' will take you from Greece ('A thousand men cannot undress a naked man') and China ('A dry finger cannot pick up salt') to Japan ('Fools and scissors must be carefully handled') and India ('A fat spouse is a quilt for the winter').
At last the cat flap is opened to reveal the secret literary life of our feline companions! Did you know that the bible does not mention cats at all? Do you know why we say the cat has been put among the pigeons? Why do we think they have nine lives? How much of our great literature refers to cats - and what do authors say? These are questions that every cat owner has pondered at one time or another. At last, all the cat references in our language have been gathered in one place to provide an informative, fun and comprehensive resource for the cat fan - from owners to aficionados. With everything from the most common to the most obscure mention of the noble beast, this is the last word on every word about the feline species - it's the cat's whiskers.