The Painted Word: A Treasure Chest of Remarkable Words and Their Origins
To untangle the knot of interlocking meanings of these painted words, logophile and mythologist Phil Cousineau begins each fascinating word entry with his own brief definition. He then fills it in with a tint of etymology and a smattering of quotes that show how the word is used, ending with a list of companion words. The words themselves range from commonplace - like "biscuit", a twice-baked cake for Roman soldiers - to loanwords including "chaparral", from the Basque shepherds who came to the American West; words from myths, such as hector; metamorphosis words, like "silly", which evolved from "holy" to "goofy" in a mere thousand years; and words well worthy of revival, such as "carrytale", a wandering storyteller. Whether old-fangled or brand new, all the words included in The Painted Word possess an ineffable quality that makes them luminous.
Linda Numbas would like this one, I bought the audio version and find it enjoyable and informative.