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Thursday, December 19, 2013
English Bites! My 'Fullproof' English Learning Formula

Pages:334 pages
Published on: 21st Dec,  2012
Publisher: Penguin books
Genre: Non-fiction/Self-help
Book Links: Amazon, Flipkart, Infibeam

Book Description

English Bites! My Fullproof English Learning Formula is the story of a man who goes from being tongue-tied in school to becoming a smooth talking banker. Through a series of hilarious personal adventures and misadventures, Manish Gupta provides easy solutions to problems faced by language learners. So, whether you're a vernacular speaker, a GRE/ GMAT/CAT/XAT aspirant or just a language nut, English Bites! will expand your vocabulary and improve your verbal ability. It may even help you love the English language a little more!

• Add over 1000 new words to your vocabulary and figure out easy and effective ways to expand your word bank.
• Combine etymology, mnemonics, jokes and anecdotes to better your understanding of the English language.
• Differentiate between similar sounding words and learn to use them right.
• Improve your general knowledge with trivia that spans brand names, automobiles, fine dining, love, money, banks, science and B-school jargon.

My review

Speaking in English is every body’s dream, much to the dismay, in south India (Stressing, Tamil Nadu); you can see nearly half of the student community never want to converse in this language or cease midway due to proclaimed fears. And sadly, majority of these students would have studied in English medium schools much like the author in the book. As a regular college student and an observant, I still can confidently argue there is no change at all (if we ignore the big cities alone). From what I see, they all consider it as an unfriendly language. I think this is the same case all over India. What drove me towards reading this book is this self-realization and self-motivation for improvement.
English Bites! Written by Manish Gupta is a source abundance of knowledge. It gives factual information relating to English that we didn’t know before with a touch of hilariousness, anecdotes, pictorial representations , interesting trivia's about etymology, contronyms, Ambibhology, Palindromes , Alliterations, and billion more to make this book utterly unique and worth appealing to the subsequent readers.
Additionally, the footnotes of unknown words with meanings given under each page encourage us to engross in the book without searching for dictionary to learn what it means. Each and every page in the book turns out to be a rare gem. The author has done thorough research while he himself was a struggling learner of the subject which is why we don’t see him waste a single page or chapter on unnecessary ramblings. Wherever he had opportunity, he had used it very wisely. The difficulties arise due to the long reading process.
Even though, I took way too many days to finish, there is no doubt, this book is a compulsive, satisfactory read but can’t deny I lost concentration here and there for it happens with most non-fiction books. So it was as if, I had to reread some of the pages later on to make sure I didn’t miss anything.
Unfortunately, this is not a beginner's guide nor is it a grammar book. For other people, reading English Bites! is like acquiring knowledge of hundreds of books put all together in one book where you gain insights to various subjects via author's life journey. That is why his dedication and commitment towards writing this book never fails to fascinate because he has given his 100% effort.
If you start reading the book, you will be amazed to know this is a self-help book as well as personal memoir of the author in which English forms the core subject of his life as a college student, as a professional, and as a family man.
My only complaint- Instead of publishing it as one book, the author could have published this book as two separate books in an effective manner. This way, the interest of the readers could have been kept alive throughout their reading process without wearing them down, plus the readers would have plenty of time to test what they have learnt do not go in vain  or else some additional exercises of difficult words to recall . Overall, I wholeheartedly appreciate the author for writing this wonderful book. It really helped me a lot and I am very sure, it will definitely help anyone reading.

Rating 4/5
Excerpts from the book
Ernest Vincent Wright wrote a 50000-word novel without the letter E(Excpet in his own name)?Though self-published and little noticed in its time, Gadsby is now a favourite among fans of constrained writing and is a sought after rarity among book collectors. Later editions of the book sometimes carry a subtitle:50000 Word Novel without the letter E.
Did you know that Paris, which gave restaurants to the world, also gets credit for introducing the word bistro to the English language? Bistro is a familiar name for a café serving moderately priced, simple meals in unpretentious setting.
At a dinner party in 1912, Lady Astor became annoyed at an inebriated Churchill, who was pontificating on some topic.Reaching the end of her patience, she blurted out:'Winston , if you were my husband, I'd put poison in your coffee'.Churchill famously replied:'Nancy, if you were my wife, I'd drink it.
About the Author
Manish Gupta is a banking professional. When not crunching numbers he is busy engaging with and examining the vagaries and idiosyncrasies of the English language. He also likes trivia, travelling, adventure sports, delving into human psychology, and giving professorial discourses to colleagues, family and friends, and practically anyone who can give him a patient hearing. An engineering graduate from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh and an MBA from XLRI, Jamshedpur, he lives in Mumbai with his wife Deepali, a medical professional, and daughters Tamanna and Prakriti.
Disclaimer I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.