Book Review – English Bites ( Manish Gupta)

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The book was sent to me by Manish Gupta, two months ago and I had promised him a review on my blog. It has indeed been a long time and inspite of gentle email reminders from Manish, I have been in the state of opening the book, drifting through a few pages and dozing off. And after dodging the guilt trip and in the spirit of staying true to my commitment, I finally played catch with the 335 paged book.

Turns out that I had been reading it from a very wrong perspective ,after all. It is not the typical  book  ( fiction or otherwise ) that you come back home to, after a dreary day at work.  It is infact a word bank introducing you to the nuances and techniques to become a language nut (in Manish’s words) .It is autobiographical in nature with the author describing his journey, being a kid studying in a vernacular school in the eighties to a self confessed English wordaholic. The eighties were predominantly an era where mastery of  English language was considered  a key to economic prosperity and guaranteed a path to success

 It is a book that can be compared to a word bank ala (Word power made easy) or a Thesaurus with a story line. Making the drab job of comprehending uncommon English words, understanding their context and using them to enrich your vocabulary, a comparatively easier exercise compared to a dictionary or thesaurus that makes you look at the words in isolation. Thanks to Manish, the book made me realise  I wasn’t the language expert,  I had imagined to be. Infact , several times through the book, I was  stumped to note  I was fumbling  in my mind on the meaning of certain words, trying to take a peek into the meanings from  glossary on each page. Another revelation that I had was usage of  a lot of amphibology in my writing. If you thought, I was talking about amphibians, here’s where Manish introduces the word and explains , amphibology means  ambiguous use of grammar making  intent of the sentences unclear.

Inspite of the initial struggle to overcome  inertia, once I got into a  groove , I found myself chuckling at the  narrative , explaining the  plight of vernacular speakers  trying to comprehend English. The classic problem while learning a new language, (Comprehending in our native language and translating it verbatim). Real hero of the book is  Word trivia section and  origin of  words that got me  interested. Some examples  Conjugal – Con is derived from a variant of com  meaning  together, and yoke is derived from the Latin word – Jugum. Hence the inference that in a marriage ,two people get yoked together like oxen.

And Manish, if you are reading this, I can imagine the gargantuan effort that went into compiling this book . Thanks a ton for the book and the crash course in etymology.  Thank you for introducing me to a thousand new words and for the gentle push the pugnacious reader in me needed, to finish the book. English bites sits on my work desk  along with Word power made Easy and the classic Wren and Martin . I vow to use all the words that I can at work and in my day- day life. Starting with a word a day. Thanks to you, I have a new hobby now, trying to observe the idiosyncrasies of this complicated language in the world around me.

And to you folks – Please pick up Manish’ book to savour English bites one bite at a time, to unravel the mystery of English . We may not be native English speakers but I am  sure many of us do love the language to explore and learn as much as we can. I am buying another copy for the niece, who has just started to display a similar streak of loving to play with words.

Here’s the link to buy the book online;

http://www.amazon.in/English-Bites-Fullproof-Learning-Formula/dp/0143419005

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About Thumbelina81
A dreamer lost in this world. Part time Writer, Part time Gardener, A full time wife.

9 Responses to Book Review – English Bites ( Manish Gupta)

  1. enjoyed reading your review… 🙂

    • Manish Gupta says:

      Dear Wajendhar,

      I thank you for enjoying reading the review of English Bites! This book is a crazy mix of facts, fiction, and real-life. It is full of amusing incidents, anecdotes, jokes, and a lot of interesting trivia. If you are a language nut, you can take a look at English Bites! There is something in there for you too to chew, relish, and cherish.The book is available at all leading bookstores like Crossword, Oxford, Landmark, Sapna, etc. and all online resellers like Amazon.in, Flipkart.com, Uread.com, Shopping.Indiatimes.com/books, Infibeam.com, ebay.in, Snapdeal.com, etc. etc. Amazon.in is currently offering a large discount on books (as are all other resellers) with the additional sop of free delivery regardless of the value of purchase. You can also order an eBook version of English Bites! from Amazon.in or Apple’s Book Store. Happy reading! Cheers, Manish

  2. Manish Gupta says:

    Dear Sonia,

    Thank you very much for a wonderful review. I am glad that you enjoyed the book and it lived up to your expectations. I feel good that I was able to further fuel your interest in English language. What a relief to know that my gentle nudges helped you to get over the inertia of rest and get into the inertia of slow motion – you need to read this book slowly, a few pages at a time, and not more than a chapter a day, if you really want to relish and cherish its delicious bites. I am reminded of another blogger’s remark: “This book needs to be savoured and not devoured.”

    I am counting on your support to spread the good word about the book esp. when people ask you for recommendation on books to improve their language. And I am sure, given your background and the accomplishments in this field, there are just so many of them who keep seeking your guidance.

    Many thanks & best regards, Manish
    Twitter: @English_Bites
    Facebook Account: http://www.facebook.com/manishdeepaligupta
    Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/EnglishBitesBook

  3. KP says:

    Wow,I am a lover of new words and phrases.Your review in your inimitable racy style compels one to go for the book if he is ardent lover of the language.Thank you.

    • Manish Gupta says:

      Dear KP,

      The book is a crazy mix of facts, fiction, and real-life. It is full of amusing incidents, anecdotes, jokes, and a lot of interesting trivia. If you are a language nut, you can take a look at English Bites! There is something in there for you too to chew, relish, and cherish.The book is available at all leading bookstores like Crossword, Oxford, Landmark, Sapna, etc. and all online resellers like Amazon.in, Flipkart.com, Uread.com, Shopping.Indiatimes.com/books, Infibeam.com, ebay.in, Snapdeal.com, etc. etc. Amazon.in is currently offering a large discount on books (as are all other resellers) with the additional sop of free delivery regardless of the value of purchase. You can also order an eBook version of English Bites! from Amazon.in or Apple’s Book Store. Happy reading! Cheers, Manish

  4. NIce review there. The book looks interesting. Manish’s idea is good, teach vocab with story. I remember trying to complete the Norman Lewis’s edition of Word power made easy and I honestly couldnt complete it because of distractions.

    • Manish Gupta says:

      Dear Avinash,

      The book is a crazy mix of facts, fiction, and real-life. It is full of amusing incidents, anecdotes, jokes, and a lot of interesting trivia. If you are a language nut, you can take a look at English Bites! There is something in there for you too to chew, relish, and cherish.The book is available at all leading bookstores like Crossword, Oxford, Landmark, Sapna, etc. and all online resellers like Amazon.in, Flipkart.com, Uread.com, Shopping.Indiatimes.com/books, Infibeam.com, ebay.in, Snapdeal.com, etc. etc. Amazon.in is currently offering a large discount on books (as are all other resellers) with the additional sop of free delivery regardless of the value of purchase. You can also order an eBook version of English Bites! from Amazon.in or Apple’s Book Store. Happy reading! Cheers, Manish

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