ENGLISH BITES! – My thoughts

book cover

(click on the above image to reach the Goodreads page)

Name of Book: English Bites! My Fullproof of English Learning Formula

Author – Manish Gupta

This is my first review of a book on request from the author – Manish Gupta. (Sorry for the delay Mr. Gupta) Mr. Gupta had contacted me for an honest review of his book. Being more of a fiction person, I was having second thoughts and at the same time I did not feel like turning down the author. After going through a few reviews of the book (links sent by the author), I decided that I could give the book a try and so I said YES to the author. Soon a pretty package from Amazon was delivered to me. As with every firsts of my life, I was quite excited for this one too. This is how the package reached me and I was quite impressed with the packaging. Brownie point earned 🙂

arival(the pretty package)

The cover of the book showing a boy burdened with books trying to cram up all the information is quite apt. Even the name of the book is also quite interesting. I felt it can be interpreted in two ways- first that the English language ‘bites’ & pains one who has not yet mastered it and second may be ‘bites’ as in small ‘portions’/’dosage’ of the language to slowly master it. The blurb of the book gives an impression that we will get to read about the experiences of the author but it is actually a self-help book to master the English language told by the author citing his own journey.

I felt that the opening chapter is the perfect way to start his book. Delving into the history of his poor knowledge to the start of his quest is very interesting. He narrates his journey from a tongue tied teenager to a now fluent English speaking banker where he leaves no stones unturned and so prospects to learn unexplored. His is a story which proves that “its’ hard to beat a person who never gives up”.

Highlights of the book for me

  • Whether the reader already has a grip on the English language or trying to find it, English Bites helps to add a lot of words to his/her vocabulary. It also tells the reader interesting trivia about the language, origin of words, their meanings and a lot more. Interesting illustrations & anecdotes can be said to be the cherry on the cake in the book.
  • illustrationWhat I personally liked in the book is that in every page the author has included footnotes bearing meaning and usage of the difficult words. This aims to help the reader to grasp information faster and better without having to flip to the last page or a dictionary repeatedly (click on the image below to find out how).
  • footnotesAs advised by the author, this book is to be read one chapter at a time as it would give better retention of the new words learnt in each chapter. (I followed this advice and took so much of time to finish the book)
  • And last but not the least; I learnt huge number of words on my way till the last page. I enjoyed reading it, learning new words, expanding my word stock and I will, most certainly, keep coming back to it for more from this book.

Below are some of the interesting things/ways/methods, etc. which I liked in the book; there are, of course, many more. (Check out the book to learn many more):

  1. Custom is something that is “usual” (in India, it is a custom to touch the feet f elders as a sign of respect) and also “special” (the Bentley was custom-made for the son of a rich industrialist)
  2. Scratch your head over these (Page 10 has some more of them):
  • When look & see have similar meanings, how can overlook & oversee be opposites?
  • If you decide to be bad forever, you decide to be bad for good!
  1. “Closing and opening my eyes had somehow given me a new insight and unmistakably permanent fix to this problem. I wondered how on earth I had not seen the obvious connection between covert/close and overt/open for such a long time!”
  2. Example of a mnemonic – The order of planets in average distance from the Sun is Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, & Pluto. A simple & elegant mnemonic to remember this order is: My Very Easy Method: Just set up Nine Planets.
  3. Stalactite and Stalagmite are deposits usually of calcium carbonate and shaped like icicles. The former hang from the ceilings of a cave while the latter grow up from its floor. And to remember which grows from where, the author found out an interesting way. Stalactites hang from the ceiling while stalagmites grow up from the ground. (Isn’t it an interesting way?)
  4. The word set has 58 noun uses, 126 verb uses and 10 uses as an adjective! (Page 75 shows quite a no. of such uses)
  5. Some of the longest words in English language are – antidisestablishmentarianism (28 letters), floccinaucinihilipilification (29 letters), supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (34 letters), etc. (Check details in Page 77)
  6. In 1939, Ernest Vincent Wright wrote a 50,000 – word novel without the letter E (except in his own name).
  7. A Friday Car – a new car that rolls out of the assembly line on a Friday and, apparently, has more manufacturing defects than cars rolled out on any other day of the week!

After reading this interesting & different book, I must applaud the author on his efforts to come up with a book to teach the language in a unique but effective way. Hats off to Mr Manish Gupta! I am not a self help book kind of person but learning from it was a fun and unique experience. Thank you Manish Gupta for sending me a copy of your fabulous piece of work. Good Luck for all your future endeavors!

AN EXTRA BITE !!

At this point I would like to share with my readers another interesting way to learn new words. Sometime back my friend & fellow blogger Natasha had done a post (Sea of Words) on the subscription to AWAD and soon I subscribed to it. AWAD (A.Word.A.Day), a web Newsletter of Wordsmith.org. It sends one new word everyday to the subscriber’s email. It gives the word, its pronunciation (with an audio file), meaning, etymology, earliest documented use, usage and a thought for the day.

Anyone interested to utilize this easy way of learning one word a day can click on this link:  http://wordsmith.org/awad/index.html

This review has been submitted as a part of my Indian Quills Challenge 2013 (read about the challenge here)

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12 comments

  1. Dear Madhusmita,

    Hope you are doing well. I owe you many thanks so I am listing them down:

    Thanks for:
    1. Accepting my book that came with a self-help tag.
    2. Your detailed and lovely review
    3. Your efforts to showcase the best parts of the book thru your blog
    4. Sharing precise details of the chapters/passages in the book where I can make improvements to make the book more relevant and more interesting (this thanks is in anticipation of a positive response).

    I am also extremely happy that I could, in a small way, further fuel your love for this language.

    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

  2. hey u r becoming quite professional on book reviews yaar!! I was surprised when I saw the author became my twitter follower. Now I know that he must have got the link from this post. And I am happy that u have come out of ur anonymous shell 🙂

    1. Dear Natasha, how could I resist esp since you also write and post about English language, a subject I feel passionately for. I also read your post and subsribed to your blog. Hope my book finds its way into your hands and you relish and cherish taking small bites from English Bites! Regards, Manish

  3. This sounds like a fascinating book for those wishing to master the English language… I like the fact that it has tips to learning and understanding how English is used! Great review.

  4. A delightful review! I think half of America would do well to spend a little quality time with a few, well written books about English. I’m sure it would be hugely surprising to find out just how much we don’t know about our own mother tongue.

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