Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Word Nerd: Dispatches from the Games, Grammar, and Geek Underground Hardcover – June 22, 2015
2016 Book Awards
Browse award-winning titles. See all 2016 winners
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
“Word Nerd is full of insights and stories about SCRABBLE® from John Williams's unique perspective as former head of the National SCRABBLE Association. Informative, eye-opening, often funny. Word nerds everywhere will eat this up.” (Will Shortz, crossword editor, New York Times)
“I love words. I grew up in a SCRABBLE-playing family that loved words so much that they would mark in red the misspelled ones on my papers before I turned them in to my teachers. John D. Williams had similarly sadistic parents, which is probably why he's been able to write such a word-worthy book. If you love words, you'll love this book. If you love SCRABBLE as much as I do, you'll really love this book. In fact, if you can read, period, then this is the book for you!” (Morgan Spurlock)
“For twenty-five years, John Williams oversaw the passionate eccentrics, petty controversies, corporate battles, and linguistic genius that make SCRABBLE one of America's quirkiest and most compelling subcultures. He's got some great stories to tell―the fight over dirty words is a doozy―and I'm glad he's telling them.” (Stefan Fatsis, author of Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive SCRABBLE Players)
“For Scrabble fans―and they are everywhere, young and old, male and female―this walk down memory lane with the former National Scrabble Association (NSA) executive director is informative, funny, anecdotal, and bittersweet…. [A]ficionados will treasure this book for its appendixes: ‘offensive’ words; short Q, J, X, and Z words; ‘Important Vowel Dumps’: and more.” (Eloise Kinney - Booklist)
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
But things get better. There's a longish, intriguing, and accurate discussion about how Merriam-Webster produces its standard dictionaries, although the author says nothing about how vastly that differs from the way the Scrabble dictionary is produced. Many items therein have never appeared in any standard Merriam dictionary. The progress Merriam has made in lexicography over the last fifty years, and changes in standard English, are often not reflected in the Scrabble lexicon, which has proved to be a toxic waste dump for the game.
On page 129 the author mentions that he lives 45 minutes from any Scrabble club. Too bad he didn't count the number of bridge clubs he could reach within that time -- it won't surprise me if there are at least a half dozen. Polls show that Scrabble is slightly more popular than bridge, so why the paucity of clubs? You can read between the lines of this well-written book and discover for yourself answers that eluded the author, who appears to have been somewhat miffed when the manufacturer belatedly decided they should be selling more sets, so his services would no longer be required.
Nonetheless, the book can be read as the life and times of a publicist, and there are lots of engaging anecdotes that transcend the travails of Scrabble. If only most Scrabble books were as superbly written as this one.Read more ›
*** I HAD TO CUT ABOUT 30 PERCENT FOR AMAZON.
*** PLEASE COME BACK HERE WITH YOUR COMMENTS.
I enjoyed this book immensely.
"Big deal, so what?" you might be thinking.
Well, the "so what?" is that I went into it fully convinced I would hate every page of it. I was actually looking forward to trashing it in a review for Amazon, and I told the librarian that when I checked it out.
Here's the background.
I love Scrabble -- as a word game drawing on nice, big, fat words from my vocabulary. On the other hand, I'm convinced modern tournament-style Scrabble, based on the smallest, weirdest words in the language and with a revolting poker-style bluffing component, is totally "broke". Think, people, how long would crossword puzzles and other word games and activities last if they were based on Scrabble word lists? Not two days.
I was sure Word Nerd would be another glowing paean, like Word Freak before it, to the tournament-style "strategy" game. I had contacted the author several times in the past, and the closest I come to appearing in the book is on p187, in the list of the types of communications handled by the NSA, specifically, "new ideas for improving SCRABBLE." Yes, I was (still am) naive enough to think the world is big enough for a Scrabble option for "word lovers", as distinct from point lovers jumping each other with their strange, little "game pieces".
I emerged from my communications with John convinced that he was what you might call a "stooge" for the tournament players. Notice the irony here.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In "Word Nerd" John Williams displays many traits: a fluid writing style, love of celebrity, wacky sense of humor, facility with words and deep appreciation for things... Read morePublished 3 months ago by John A. Higgins
Let me preface this by saying I'm not a tournament Scrabble player. I love the game, though! I'm on that 'illegal site run out of Romania' daily LOL! Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
A very interesting book, but the author is rather dry in his telling of the story. I enjoyed it, especially the parts about the history of the game.Published 11 months ago by Jeanne M. Wilkins
Very interesting to anyone familiar with the world of tournament Scrabble. John has a nice writing style. A pleasant and easy read.