Synopses & Reviews
Beginning his career on a lark as a freelance contributor to SCRABBLE® News, John D. Williams Jr. fell down a rabbit hole inhabited by gamers, geeks, and the grammar police. Having served as executive director of the National SCRABBLE® Association for twenty-five years, Williams now takes readers inside the byzantine, dog-eat-dog world of top tournament players, creating a piquant (sevenletter word, 68 points!) work that is part pop-cultural history, part anthropological fieldwork. Whether reminiscing about past national champions (the highest recorded SCRABBLE® score is 830), helpfully providing a list of offensive words once banned from SCRABBLE®, opining on the number of vowelless words that are allowable (cmw for Welsh deep-walled basin, or nth for the ultimate degree), noting how long it takes a word to get into the SCRABBLE® dictionary, or why there remain more male than female champions, Williams has created a memorable work that will fascinate both amateurs and seasoned experts alike.
"Williams, the first and only executive director of the National Scrabble Association, joyfully and enthusiastically recounts his unlikely 25-year tenure as the official national spokesman for the world-famous word game. ...Casual gamers will find this light read to be a fun escape, while avid grammarians and fellow word nerds will devour it in a single sitting." Publishers Weekly
" is full of insights and stories about SCRABBLE® from John Williams's unique perspective as former head of the National SCRABBLE Association. Informative, eye-opening, often funny. Word nerds everywhere will eat this up." Will Shortz, crossword editor, New York Times
"I love words. I grew up in a SCRABBLE-playing family that loved words so much that they would mark in red the misspelled ones on my papers before I turned them in to my teachers. John D. Williams had similarly sadistic parents, which is probably why he's been able to write such a word-worthy book. If you love words, you'll love this book. If you love SCRABBLE as much as I do, you'll love this book. In fact, if you can read, period, then this is the book for you!" Morgan Spurlock
"For twenty-five years, John Williams oversaw the passionate eccentrics, petty controversies, corporate battles, and linguistic genius that make SCRABBLE one of America's quirkiest and most compelling subcultures. He's got some great stories to tell--the fight over dirty words is a doozy--and I'm glad he's telling them." Stefan Fatsis, author of Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive SCRABBLE Players
"For Scrabble fans--and they are everywhere, young and old, male and female--this walk down memory lane with the former National Scrabble Association (NSA) executive director is informative, funny, anecdotal, and bittersweet.... [A]ficionados will treasure this book for its appendixes: 'offensive' words; short Q, J, X, and Z words; 'Important Vowel Dumps': and more." Eloise Kinney
A zany, one-of-a-kind memoir brings to life the obsessions, madness, and glory of the SCRABBLE® culture-- from living-room players to world champions.
In this zany, one-of-a-kind memoir, former executive director of the National SCRABBLE Association John D. Williams Jr. brings to life the obsessions, madness, and glory of the SCRABBLE® culture--from living-room players to world champions.
About the Author
John D. Williams Jr. served as the executive director of the National SCRABBLE Association, acting as the official national spokesman for the game, and is the coauthor of the best-selling Everything SCRABBLE®. He lives in Greenpoint, Long Island.