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Welcome, Word Lovers!

My twelfth book,





on November 15, 2018.


For more information or to order the book or audiobook,

please click on the link in the sidebar on the left,

or click on WRITINGS in the menu bar above.

To read the introduction to the book, click on the link

in the sidebar on the right.

You have landed at the website of writer, radio commentator, and logophile Charles Harrington Elster, aka the Grandiloquent Gumshoe. (If you're wondering what a logophile is, it's a lover of words.)

Bring up the subject of language and I'll talk your ear off. Hand me a dictionary and I'm lost in its pages for a week. Ask me to find an obscure word and I won't sleep until I track it down. I am an unrepentant, irremediable word nerd and proud of it, for language is the most pleasant obsession I know.

The Grandiloquent Gumshoe scours the pages 
of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Day and night, weekday and weekend, I am drawn to the luminescent screen of my computer, there to wrestle with strand upon strand of sticky syntax. If you want to find me, listen for a bunched clamor of keystrokes. Look for a forehead furrowed from straining over where to place a comma or delete a word. Look for eyes gone blank from focusing too long on the cobwebs quivering in the corner of the ceiling. Look for a man seduced by the sound of syllables and caught in the web of words.

If you are a fellow woolgatherer in the world of words, or simply an inquisitive visitor searching for verbal entertainment or enlightenment, I invite you to explore my website and learn more about my work.

When I tell people I'm a writer and they ask what I write, my stock answer is, "I write about the English language for a general audience." In other words, I don't write textbooks and I don't write academic tomes. I write popular reference books for people who want to learn more words or learn more about words.

For many years I have also been a radio commentator, and for five and a half years I cohosted a weekly public radio talk show on language called A Way with Words. I am also a voice talent, with more than 30 years of experience narrating audio programs and books.

Here is an audio excerpt from the introduction to Word Workout, my eleventh book, published by St. Martin's Griffin. The audiobook, narrated by me, is available from Macmillan Audio.

Word Workout Intro (5.11 MB)
The logophile with his first love, Webster's New International Dictionary, second edition, 1934.

At the top of this page, on the menu bar, click on Biography to find out more about me. Click on Writings to learn more about my books and articles, and to read my list of The Latest Outrageous Accidents of Style. Click on Events for information on my radio interviews and other appearances. And click on Blog to take a word quiz and read my ravings and musings about language, writing, and the writer's life.

You're also welcome to share your thoughts or post a question about language on my Blog page. Or you may contact me directly through the Contact page on the menu bar or by clicking on WRITE TO CHARLIE in the "Quick Links" sidebar to the right (about halfway down the column).

Good words to you!

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Charlie at the 2011 TwainFest in Old Town San Diego, where he read Mark Twain's 70th-birthday speech.
Photo by Carmen Veronica Elster.