read, peruse

read, peruse4

By LAWRENCE FELLOWS

To read has many meanings, one of which is to get the drift of a message by interpreting written or printed words.

Its roots are in the Old English raedan, which was the word used for figuring out the mystic sense of runes scratched in the sand or on crude boards. The word riddle comes from the same roots. Even nowadays, half the handwriting you see is a riddle.

To peruse is to read thoroughly, to read with great care. You cannot peruse casually.

The best way to peruse a book is to settle down to it without distractions. It helps if you know you haven’t anywhere else to go.

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The Writer's Stylebook is a unique collaboration between two former journalists -- my father, Lawrence, and me. Mr. Fellows, an impassioned wordsmith and journalist of long standing, created the original Stylebook, which he distributed to Connecticut newspapers and worked on for over a decade until his death 16 years ago. In 2003, the Connecticut Press Club published "Wordwatch: A Writer's Guide to Linguistic Distinctions," a compendium of nearly 300 of my father's word features. Unfortunately, that book is out of print and my father's features have been languishing in the attic of our family home in Westport -- until now. With the blessing of my mother, Ruth, I'm reviving the Stylebook and putting it online in the hope that it will find new readers. I think there's a need for a lively, illustrated guide to words and word usages that isn't wordy -- especially in today's fast-paced world!

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