Are you an avid reader looking for your next "fix"? Can't bear to be without some form of reading material in your spare time? Welcome to my world! Whether you are seeking a new book to "feed your need", or you are an author seeking an unbiased point of view on your own recent masterpiece, this is the place to be. With life as with books, you never know where the next step might take you...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Living the Bookish Dream: Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk

Hi everyone!
Welcome back to another day here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers!
Today we are looking at a light hearted "tail", I mean tale of one bookish little mouse and the place he called home.  Are you ready?  (No seriously...sit down those of you that get faint from bookish delight, this one is a doosey!) 


Sam is just like me and you.  He has a thirst for knowledge, a curious mind, and a love of the written word (hmm, sounds like a lot of the bloggers I know).  The best part?  He lives in a LIBRARY! (I'll pause a moment here so that those of you that fainted can collect yourselves again before continuing....fell better?  Might I recommend a cold compress or some rapid fanning....moving on...) The worst part?  (I know what you're can there be a "worst" part?  He lives in a library!  Trust me here it comes...)  He is a mouse.  It's not bad in and of itself, I mean you are who you's more an unfavorable trait when you wish to explore the library books and know that the sight of you is going to create havoc.  Sam is not an under achiever in any way though, and devises a way around this obstacle.  He has full reign of the library after dark, so once the lights go out, the light in his furry little mind burns brighter than ever as he devours (not literally this time, just figuratively) the many genres set before him.  Children's Literature, Biographies, Mysteries, Fantasy....anything and everything was available for him to peruse. (You must stop hyperventilating or you'll never make it to the end of the review...)

After reading so many wonderful tales, Sam's creative energy began to transform from that of solely a reader to the split persona of reader and WRITER.  **A LITTLE SPOILER-ISH STUFF FOLLOWS BUT THE ENDING REMAINS A MYSTERY** To satisfy this urge, he begins to pen stories of his own....Squeak!  A Mouse's Life....The Lonely Cheese.....The Mystery of Mouse Mansion....just to name a few. He would staple them into little books and place them on the shelves (in the appropriate section too!  Hey, this mouse can visit our local store here any day....) where they were discovered the following morning by curious young readers and the librarian.  Each time a new one was discovered, the readers were delighted but alas, they wanted to know who this mystery author was!  To celebrate their mysterious friend, they invited them to a "Meet the Author" day event they were planning the following week.  As you may imagine, Sam was thrilled by this development, but how could he possibly attend such an event without creating mayhem?  He had to think of a way to reveal the author behind the books that were inspiring these young readers to try new genres without revealing his true form...*think*think*think*.  No worries, Sam is a well learned little mouse....just wait and see what solution he came up with.... (yes, I'm going to leave you me, it's worth it!)

I picked this book up while wandering through the bookstore a week or so ago purely for the title.  That's right!  I hadn't heard of it nor seen the cover...all I saw was the spine and the title and thought this looks like a cute book indeed!  (Perhaps the "indeed" was left off in my mind, but it definitely caught my eye.)  I mean how many times have you thought about making a library your home?  Besides the obvious draw of an unlimited supply of books to read, there are so many fascinating designs out there that nary a day goes by when I don't see a new picture of something amazingly bookish to behold.  Combine that love of books with beautiful illustrations and a story that is truly inspiring even in this basic storybook/picture book style form for readers of all ages....and in my humble opinion, you have a winner.

Recommended reading for younger readers or those merely young at never out grow a love of reading.  It's one of those past times that is good for everyone from the tall to the small (~waves at picture of Sam~). 

Until next time....happy reading!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Guest Post: Author Bridie Clark

Hello, everyone!
Nice to see you once again...second post of the day and all.  This particular guest post comes to us straight from Bridie Clark, author of The Overnight Socialite (which I am currently to come soon!) and will certainly come in handy for all my fellow girl readers out there (no worries, lads....your day will come when the blog tour stops by next week for a different title).  The topic?  FASHION and how to dress for success whether you have a million dollars or far less than that (~raises hand~).
Take it away!


The Socialite Look: How to Dress Like You Have a Trust Fund Even If You Don't
By Bridie Clark,
Author of The Overnight Socialite

You know the type: It's raining, or 3 am, or the middle of yoga class and this woman looks crisp, pulled together, ready for her close-up. Her hair is freshly blown-out, her jewelry is tasteful Cartier. Linen wouldn't dream of wrinkling when she wears it. Seeing her, you envision a walk-in closet full of neatly folded Italian cashmere. She must be rich, you think. Her look would be impossible to achieve -- or maintain -- without a trust fund and a lot of free time.

Actually, the "socialite look" -- we're talking Aerin Lauder, not Paris Hilton -- is just a matter of mastering a few basic rules.

1. Figure out what works and stick with it. Anchor your wardrobe with clean lines, good fabrics, classic tailoring. Develop a signature look . . . even a uniform. Avoid trends. The look you're striving for is fresh but timeless, and most trends have an expiration date.

2. Before you make a purchase, try to calculate Cost-Per-Wear. A Burberry trench that you'll wear every spring for the rest of your life could be worth a splurge. Likewise you'll always want to wear a great watch, "everyday" jewelry with just the right amount of bling, a simple clutch for evening, a T. Anthony tote that's comfortable but chic. A little black dress is part of every socialite's arsenal -- make sure yours fits perfectly, and you'll wear it all the time.

3. Buy at the right time. Stores need to turn over their inventory to make room for new arrivals, so keep your eye out for sales. There's definitely a right time (usually January) and a wrong time (November) to buy that shearling coat.

4. Buy more than one. Say you find the perfect pair of jeans. The right length, the right wash, the right silhouette from every angle. This is a good moment to splurge by doubling down on an extra pair (and if they're really that fabulous, two). Same goes for all your basics -- white tailored shirts, black ballet flats, socks. This way you'll have a fresh set to rotate in when the original starts to show wear and tear.

5. Never compromise on fit. Who cares if it's cashmere -- if the sweater doesn't fit properly, donate it. Keep your wardrobe as streamlined as possible.

6. Take care of what you have. Even if you're short on "staff," it's worth it to pay close attention to the laundry. Skip bleach -- it will hurt the fibers of your clothing after many washes. Instead, soak whites in hot water using detergent and a bleach alternative, like white vinegar. Be vigilant about separating colors. Your jeans and delicates should never see the inside of a dryer. Lastly, spot-clean items instead of always dry-cleaning -- it'll save you money, and save your clothes the chemical treatment.

7. Never pay retail. Why blow your budget at the mall when there are so many places to buy designer clothing at deep discounts? (become a member by signing up at, eBay, and consignment shops are just a few of the spots you'll find marked-down treasures that look like you bought them on Fifth Avenue. Somebody did.

8. Master a speedy daytime beauty routine. We all need to get out the door quickly sometimes. After your shower, massage a small amount of mousse into the roots of your hair, flip your head and use a flat brush to blow-dry hair into straight, shiny panels. Smear on some tinted moisturizer with SPF, some mascara, and some lipgloss, and you're good to go.

9. To paraphrase Coco Chanel, remove one accessory before you walk out the door. Less is more. If you want to look effortlessly elegant, put quality ahead of quantity and keep your look simple.

10. Exercise clothing should be worn solely to exercise. Ok, and back and forth to the gym. Socialites don't allow themselves to lapse into that comfy, sloppy look that can be so tempting on a Sunday morning.

Splurge vs. Save List

Splurge on:

Classic pieces -- the little black dress, the Chanel ballet flats, the perfect clutch -- that you'll wear for years to come.

If you plan on making it as a socialite -- in the Jackie O, not Casey J mode -- you'll be dashing off countless thank you notes. Invest in personalized stationery. Sites like offer an affordable alternative to monogrammed letterpress.

Charitable giving. Nothing's worse than a socialite who struts the red carpet but can't write a check for an important cause. No matter what your budget, find some way to give -- or give your time -- to the organizations that resonate with you.

Save on:

Staying Bergdorf blonde can be an expensive habit. Fortunately, most of the top salons hold "training nights" for stylists' and colorists' assistants to hone their skills under the watchful eye of the experts. Sign up, and you'll get top-end color for significantly less than the salon's usual rates.

Furniture. Estate sales, auctions, and online sites like and eBay have heirloom-quality pieces to lend sophisticated polish to your home. If a piece isn't quite heirloom-quality -- but the price is right and the bones are solid -- give it a coat of high-gloss paint, in a quirky turquoise or a punchy coral.

Hostess gifts. Hand-wrapping small items -- soaps, candles, a few chocolate truffles -- adds a personal touch which will impress the recipient.

High-end exercise classes and personal trainers. You can check out what's keeping Gwyneth so fit at, or purchase a DVD. Core Fusion, a class that's popular with the Posh Upper East Side set, is also available on DVD. Or you can downward dog along to a Jivamukti yoga CD, the choice of fit and fabulous yogis in downtown Manhattan.

Retail. Paying full-boat is for the masses. Instead, explore sites like (you can become a member by visiting, designer outlets, or your local thrift and consignment shops. Make enough of a name for yourself, and it won't be long before designers are sending you their wares.

© 2010 Bridie Clark, author of The Overnight Socialite

Author Bio
Bridie Clark graduated from Harvard University, and has written for The New York Times, Vanity Fair, New York, and Quest. Her debut novel, Because She Can, was published in nineteen countries. She lives in New York City.

For more information, please visit


Hmm...I have to say that I actually practice a few of these already, but may have to see about trying out some of the new ones.  What about YOU?  Any tips strike you as familiar?  Or perhaps you have one you'd like to share?  The comments are open!

Special thanks to both author Birdie Clark and Anna at FSB Associates for the article. (THANKS!)  Stay tuned for the review on The Overnight Socialite coming soon to a blog post near you!

Until next time....happy reading!

Taste Testing Tuesdays (21)

Good morning (or whatever time it is where you are), everyone!
Welcome to another installment of Taste Testing Tuesdays!
Taste Testing Tuesdays was inspired by 'Teaser Tuesdays', a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading

On the menu this week ... one book that someone slipped into the dark corners of my TBR, but no worries, it is being read as we speak (well maybe not literally depending on when you are reading this, but you know what I mean).  The second is one I was sent for review with another by the same author...the other book is going to be part of an informal blog tour coming this May in conjuction with Amy at My Friend Amy.
Shall we have a taste?

Lucy's eyes fell on one older woman whose silvery hair and three strands of good pearls offset her dark velvet jacket as she stood next to a younger brunette with Maria Shriver cheekbones.  The two of them looked vaguely familiar, but then the rich and powerful were New York's particular genre of celebrity.  -- pg 102, The Overnight Socialite by Bridie Clark

When you go walking with Leisha, you walk with style.  You know she'll tell you what she sees from where she sees it, which is up high. -- pg 48, House of Dance by Beth Kephart


Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
*Grab your current read
*Open to a random page
*Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
*Share the title & author, too, so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


Until next time....happy reading!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Taste of Home CONTEST!

Hi there!
Welcome back to another day here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers!  With all the talk about snow here and snow there (trust me, if you've been on Twitter at all, you've heard the talk), I was getting a bit home sick.  Now grant it, we've been down here for a considerable length of time, but nothing ever really compares with the memory of home, or where you grew up (especially when your second home only manages to get cold for a few days out of the year....).  Somehow its just ingrained in us and I think it's safe to say that whether you adored or wished to escape your hometown, it will always have a special place in your heart.

Today's post is one for the masses....who are the masses?  YOU, of course!  It's CONTEST time!  Whoo-hoo!  Thanks to Nicole over at Tribute Books, we have a copy of Scranton:  The Electric City by Alyssa Amori up for grabs!  While the subject of the book is not my actual hometown, it is close enough to take me on an unscheduled trip down memory lane.  I've actually seen in person a few of the places photographed in this book.  Whether you are seeking a reminder of home (like moi) or a great collection of photographs from in and around the city itself, this book is a great addition to your bookshelf or coffee table.  To get a sneek peek inside the book, follow the link in the authors name to her site, or check out my review.  Here's the contest breakdown:

The prize: 

(1) copy of Scranton:  The Electric City by Alyssa Amori

How to enter:
Fill out this FORM....easy huh?
(You MUST do this particular step)

For EXTRA entries:
(these are options listed on the form, but just to give you a looksie)
+2 - Leave a comment on this post (not only will you get an extra 2 entries, but in case the form fails me, you're entry is sure to be counted!)
+2 - Blog follower (new or'll both get credit)
+2 - Follow on Twitter, leave your user name here (new or'll both get credit)
+1 - Tweet about the contest (leave the link, please)
+1 - Link to your blog, either on the sidebar or an actual post (leave the link, please)

The rules:
*Open to US/Canada mailing addresses only!  No P. O. Boxes please.  (Following the guidelines set by our gracious provider.) If you are an international participant with a friend in US/Canada willing to forward the book on to you, you are free to enter as well.
* Entries will be accepted from Monday, March 29th, 2010 through Sunday, April 4th, 2010 at midnight CST.  The entries will be tallied and entered into the randomizer, after which a random number will be picked by their number generator.  (This way all the entries are mixed up nicely.)
* All entries must be submitted using the form accessable through this post.  You MUST include your email address in order to be counted as well as contacted should you be chosen as the winner!
*The winner will be contacted via email on Monday, April 5th, 2010 and will have 72 hours to respond with their mailing address.  Should they fail to respond in the given time, a new winner will be chosen.
*Winners name and address will be forwarded to Nicole at Tribute Books for prize send out and then discarded.

Alright, that's it!
Now spread the word and let the entries begin!

Until next time....happy reading!

In My Shopping Bag (22)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.
Through her guidelines, your post does not actually have to be named the same and thus my post shall be..."In My Shopping Bag".  (just fits with the "foodie" theme a bit better in my humble opinion)
Let's take a peek inside my shopping bag from this past week....


For Review

Tangled by Carolyn Mackler
(courtesy of Laura at HarperCollins)

How to (Un)cage a Girl by Francesa Lia Block
(courtesy of Laura at HarperCollins)

The Snowball Effect by Holly Nicole Hoxter
(courtesy of HarperCollins)


Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
(via contest from Pat at Peace Love & Book Reviews)


Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
(from Nayuleska at Nayu's Reading Corner)
(YAY!  I finally have a copy of my very own....hahahahaha!)

The Shadow Club Rising by Neal Shusterman
(from Nayuleska at Nayu's Reading Corner)



Heck by Dale E. Basye

The Year of Disappearances by Susan Hubbard


Off on another adventure!
Until next time....happy reading!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Roving Reader

Hmm, not certain I'm a fan of the "I'm-underwater-and-my-hair-is-floating-in-my-face" look there, but you have to admit that is does make you stop and look twice....

Jessica Warman

Check it out!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Roving Reader

Now with the cute puppy cover AND the funny quote, how can you NOT stop and look at this one....oops! Me thinks I snapped a pic of my shoes as well... =0)

(yep...that's the title and the way it runs together)

Check it out!

Friday, March 26, 2010

WINNER: Raven Stole the Moon by Garth Stein!

Hi everyone!
Hope your Friday is treating you right.  Time to make someone's day a little brighter and announce a winner!  The prize up for grabs was....

...a paperback copy of Raven Stole the Moon by Garth Stein, courtesy of Sara at Terra Communications.  (THANK YOU!) 
The total number of people that entered came in at 23 (YAY...we're seeing a bit more participation!), but the number of entries came in at a whopping 171!  (So glad I tried using the Google Docs form for entry...that made life so much easier...anywho...)  The wait is over...release your baited breath, uncross your fingers, and CHECK YOUR EMAIL....the winning entry/name is....

#94  --  vvb
Congratulations!  You now have 72 hours to respond to the email I sent you to claim your prize.  If not response is received in the allotted time worries!  I have two back up numbers drawn...
Special thanks to Sara for allowing me to host this fabulous contest!  Thank you to all those that entered (and those that merely thought about lurkers you...)!  Welcome aboard to our new followers and thanks for sticking around to those that have been here from the start.  Remember, your comments are always welcome (I'm all, I mean eyes...well, you know what I mean).  There's lots more fun to come...stay tuned...
Until next time....happy reading!

AWESOME ADVENTURE: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book 1: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood

Happy Friday, everyone!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers!
Hoping that this post finds you well, if not perhaps it will help lift your spirits as it is Friday after all...the weekend is just around the corner!

Today's post is a fun one indeed for it not only features a book review by yours truly on a title that is most intriguing to say the least, but I also get the chance to shine the spotlight once again on a fantastic feature that has been (and still is) going on this month!  HarperCollins Children's Book feature this month is the....


This feature is all about experiencing new adventures from middle grade authors! Some of the great names you will find include Frank Cottrell Boyce (Cosmic), Maryrose Wood (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place) and many more. See the stories come to life with games, book trailers, podcasts, and more!

If you haven't checked out all the fun yet, make it high on your to-do list before it's too late!  I had hopes of reading two of the books as I already owned one, but alas, time did not permit.  No promised, I have a review for one of the featured titles to share with you today!  Get ready....we're about to set out on a mini-awesome adventure of our own!  Shall we?  Today's book of choice is....

of Ashton Place
Book 1:  The Mysterious Howling

Miss Penelope Lumley has just graduated from the the esteemed Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females at the tender age of 15.  She has her whole life ahead of her.  Step one begins with her recent procurement of a position with a prestigious family suitable for a scholar of her level.  Yes, my friends, she is going to be a.....governess.  (For those that don't know, a governess is sort of like a nanny that not only watches and cares for the children of the house, but also instructs them in everything from proper ettiquette to their school day curriculum.)  Travelling away from the only home she's ever really known (she was brought there by her parents at a very young age and hasn't seen them since) toward an uncertain future, Ms. Lumley keeps her book of favorite poems close at hand for comfort and support.

Upon her arrival at Ashton Place, she senses something is not quite right, but dismisses these feelings as a case of nerves...after all, this is her first interview and if she doesn't land the job, where will she go?  She need not worry in this case because Lady Constance is as new to the procedures as well and happily welcomes the young girl with the glowing resume...a little TOO happily.  The proper papers are signed and her belongings are brought up to her new quarters when..."Aaaahoooooo!"  What was that?  "Aaaaaahooooo!  Bark!"  Good heavens, there are dogs in my post?  ---leave screen to investigate--- ---comes back to screen--- Whew!  Thank you for waiting, it appears as though the lingering conversations between student and pup, I mean pupil leaked into my review...moving on... 

Just as she was settling in, Ms. Lumley heard some rather strange noises, not unlike the ones you just heard/read, coming from the barn.  Since she had no charges as of yet (Lady Constance wanted to introduce them the following day) and she had some skills acquired from the veternarian at the school, she went outside to investigate.  To her surprise, it was not a pack of dogs that she discovered, or should I say not exactly a pack of dogs....rather it was three scruffy, unclothed....CHILDREN!  GASP!  Yep...these were to be her charges!

It seems that the three children were discovered on the Ashton Place grounds two weeks prior when Lord Aston was hunting local game.  (Yeah, not exactly a great way to greet anyone the end of a musket!)  Imagine his surprise, coming upon the three of them in their current state and seeing them behalf much like wolves.  They stick together like a pack.  Prefer to walk on all fours.  Even long to chase after the squirrels that seem to over run the area.  This is not what Ms. Lumley signed up for, but pulling from her skewed background of knowledge she faces her task undaunted.  She is to bring the children back to "normal" standards and get them ready for an introduction to society a task not to be taken lightly.  Things seem to be going along swimmingly, but for how long?  Will she ever be able to solve the many mysteries that plague this upper class hideaway?  Or will everything from the mysterious howling as well as the schottische go unexplained?  Take a look into the hallowed halls of this manor to see what truths you might uncover....

What can I say?  I really enjoyed this book!  I had seen the title locally before and the cover/title really drew my eye.  Lucky for me, HarperCollins was including this title as a part of the AWESOME ADVENTURE feature and I got the chance to review it in turn!  (THANKS!)  Where to start, where to start...there is just so much I wish to share, but I don't want to get into spoiler-ish territory. 

For starters, the title is actually explained within the book.  To shed a little light on it....Incorrigible ends up being the last name Lord Ashton bestows upon the trio (nice right...hang on, it gets worse), perfectly matched with their new first names....Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia.  I love the fact that the meanings of each name are explained within the story, it adds to the overall experience (learning + reading enjoyment = great combo).  Another part that will carry forward long after you've finished, are the sayings of Agatha Swanburne herself.  Though it was hard to choose, one of my favorites that brings Lumawoo, I mean Ms. Lumley, strength times a great challenge is "No hopeless case is truly without hope."  How inspiring!  There are many other worded gems to partake, but alas I will leave them for your discovery. 

Last but not least, there are two unexpected twists near the end that you can't possibly see coming...setting you up to join me in anticipating the next book in the series. (Um...Ms. Marywood Rose?  If you are reading this....thank you for the wonderful story and loveable characters, but we REALLY need that next book...there are questions that must be answered!) Really, I simply must know who her parents are and what of the similarity discovered by Cassiopeia?  I can't wait for the next installment to welcome back these three children and their wonderful governess (and Nutsawoo, the loveable squirrel...don't ask, just read it) and you can be certain I'll be securing a copy as soon as I catch wind of it's release....

Review copy provided by Laura at HarperCollins Children's Books.  For more information, check out their website, or follow along on Twitter.  Don't forget to check out the AWESOME ADVENTURE feature going on now for more on this great title and much, much more!

I shall leave you with a final bookish quote from Agatha Swanburne herself....

All books are judged by their covers until they are read.


Until next time....happy reading!

Book Blogger Hop! (3)

It's that time again!  Time for the BOOK BLOGGER HOP, brought to you by Jennifer over at Crazy-for-Books! This idea was created as another means of finding, sharing, and otherwise connecting those in the blogosphere! How can you participate? Check out the main post on Jennifer's page, add your blog name and link into the MckLinky, and get "hopping" over to the other sites listed to make those connections!

Now that I've spread the news, I'm off to "hop" on over to a few other sites!
Until next time....happy reading!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

REMINDER: GIVEAWAY: Raven Stole the Moon by Garth Stein, Ends TONIGHT!

Just a quick reminder....
...a contest at SFIR is ending tonight at midnight CST!
Enter now for your chance to win your very own copy of ....
Raven Stole the Moon by Garth Stein
...courtesy of Sara at Terra Communications!

Click here to enter now!

A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi" by Chloe Rhodes

Hi there! ~waves~  Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers!  For the newcomers to the site, welcome....feel free to browse around and stay for a while!  For those who more frequently visit, thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to check out my reading world happenings and are all #1 in my book!  Now that the warm fuzzies have been dispensed, allow me to introduce today's post!

The featured book of the day is a unique read indeed for although it is a type of reference book, it deals with a subject we are all familiar with, a field we all dabble in, and a topic that definitely adds to your daily trivia knowledge.  Curious?  Don't worry, I won't keep you in suspense for too long.  The first part of our post is a rather interesting article (that came to me via Julie at FSB Associates) about the book and subject in review today....and away we go!


A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi"
By Chloe Rhodes,
Author of A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi": The Origin of Foreign Words Used in English

Picture this scenario: You're having a tête-à-tête with an old friend from your alma mater, who is a wine aficionado. So you pick an al fresco table at a chic little café, and order from the a la carte menu. However, your companion won't stop exchanging double entendres with the woman in the sarong at the next table. So you're stuck listening to the klutz of a waiter droning on ad nauseam about the soup du jour. At that point, you're ready to say hasta la vista -- but you don't want to seem like a diva.

Try to say all that in "English." You probably wouldn't change a single word. How else would you describe such a scene if it weren't for the thousands of foreign words and phrases we've snuck into our conversations over the years? We all use them without a second thought. But how much do you really know about the origins of the borrowed words and phrases you use every day?

Did you know, for example, that when you place an order for apple pie a la mode, that you are using a phrase that dates back to the days of King Louis XIV? His court became such a standard of good taste that the British aristocracy wanted to do more than dress in French fashion; they wanted to use their phrase for it, too. In the seventeenth century the term was anglicized to become alamode -- a light silk used to make scarves. And at some point in small-town America, the combined flavors of cooked apple, sweet pastry, and cool, creamy vanilla represented the very latest in fashionable, cutting-edge gastronomy, giving the term its modern meaning of "with ice cream."

And there's hundreds of other examples from France: laissez faire, joie de vivre, fait accompli, faux pas, I could go on but you'd only become blasé. And with good reason; English speakers have been word collectors since the fifth century, when the dialects of Anglo-Saxon settlers, Celts, and Norse invaders were cobbled together to create Old English. When the Norman conquerors arrived in 1066 it must have seemed natural to steal some of their vocabulary, too. By the end of the thirteenth century, more than 10,000 French words were absorbed into English -- and we still use 75 percent of them today.

But we've done more than add a French lilt to our lingo. Those Normans also introduced us to Latin. In medicine, we have words like post-mortem and placebo, while in legal language, Latin phrases such as in camera and quid pro quo are still bounced around the courtroom. And others have crossed over into broader use; an agreement or contract signed in good faith is said to be bona fide. However, in everyday use, the phrase has become interchangeable with the word genuine and usually describes someone or something whose authenticity can be trusted.

More foreign phrases joined the fray during the marauding, seafaring days of our English-speaking ancestors, who filled their boats with strange Asian spices, exotic fabrics, and loads of new words for all the animals, garments and foods they had discovered.

Even ketchup, that favorite sidekick of French fries, is an import, starting life as a spicy pickled fish sauce in seventeenth-century China. The word is a Westernized version of the Malay word kichap, which came from koechiap, meaning fish brine. The sweet red version we love with began to take shape when American sailors added tomatoes, which are excellent for preventing scurvy. In 1876 John Heinz launched his infamous tomato ketchup and the rest, as they say, is history.

And there are stowaway words in your wardrobe as well as your pantry; your pajamas, dungarees, and even your bandanna have their origins on foreign shores. Bandanna comes from the Sanskrit word bandhana, meaning to tie, from the tie-dying technique used to decorate scarves and handkerchiefs in India. The anglicized "bandanna" was incorporated into the English language during the days of the British Raj, though they're now more popular with wrestlers and cowboys who want to give their look a certain panache.

And while the Brits went abroad to gather additions for their dictionary, in seventeenth-century North America, words were coming to the English language by the boatload. Soon words from Italy, Poland, German, and Eastern Europe were leaping off immigrant ships and landing in the American English lexicon. To uncover the backstory on some of these, from alter ego to zeitgeist, explore the pages of A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi -- The Origin of Foreign Words Used in English by Chloe Rhodes, published by Reader's Digest, and voilá! Soon you'll easily be able to schmooze with everyone at the next cocktail party without making a single faux pas.

© 2010 Chloe Rhodes, author of A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi": The Origin of Foreign Words Used in English

Author Bio
Chloe Rhodes, author of A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi": The Origin of Foreign Words Used in English, is a freelance journalist who has worked for The Telegraph, Guardian and The Times as well as numerous other respected publications. She lives in North London with her husband. For more information please visit


Well now, I know I feel about you?
Of course, we can't just let this book go at that (or at least I can't...hehe) so on to my review!

A Certain "Je Ne Sais Quoi"
The Origin of Foreign Words Used in English

Whether you are a lover of the written word in general, or you simply love to learn about where particular words and sayings got their start, this is a must read for you. Presented in a reference book style that allows easy look up of your favorites, it can be read straight through or picked up at random to provide a meaning, or saying at a moments notice. You may not recognize them all (I sure didn't) but those that are new will simply be fodder to add to your ever growing knowledge base. Ever wonder what "paparazzi" really means?  It's not pesky media folk, either.  It actually came from the Italian word for mosquitos!  (Hmm, definitely fits in some cases...)  How about the phrase "quid pro quo"?  This one comes to us with Latin origins, meaning something for something....such as this book is available in stores now; quid pro quo -- it's a fun and informative read for readers of all ages.  By the end of this book, you'll be surprised at how many languages you actually speak.....or at least are able to reference in witty or appropriate situations.

Article and review copy received courtesy of Julie at FSB Associates. (THANK YOU)  For more information, feel free to follow your nose (Toucan Sam reference...if you have to ask, never mind)...I mean the continue your discovery!  Carpe diem everyone! (Love that phrase...honest and strong...and from a great movie, Dead Poets Society) Make the most of every moment, every day!  

Hasta la vista (Spanish for "see you later".....sorry, I couldn't resist using at least one more from the book)....and happy reading!
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