Tod surprised me with

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Tod surprised me with a present of books. Actually, it wasn't a surprise; he let the cat out of the bag a while ago. But he didn't tell me what books he had ordered from
Powell's our favorite online book retailer.

First he handed over Geoffrey Sampson's Writing Systems, a dense tome, thankfully brief, on the development of writing symbols to represent our spoken languages. That will be good bedtime reading though not guaranteed to put me to sleep.

Then, with a big grin on his face, Tod pulled out an old, jacketless hardcover book. Imprinted in fading black ink on its green fabric binding were the words "Origins, a short etymological dictionary of modern English" We proceeded to spend the next hour looking up words and discovering connections we never dreamed of.

Did you know that 'suave' and 'sweet' have the same root? That 'boot' (as in "Buy three oranges and you'll get an apple to boot") means rememdy or improvement (which might explain the name of the British pharmacy chains, Boots) and has the same background as 'better'?

Ah, words. Maybe I should have taken Latin in school.

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