Cover Image: Fifty Words for Snow

Fifty Words for Snow

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Member Reviews

This is such an exquisitely put together book - I adored it. Like many I'm in turn fascinated and enchanted by snow. It's so rare to see it where I live and yet I had always assumed most languages how just one one word for it. Not so! I had no idea there were quite so many different terms for it . The author takes us on a tour around the world and how different cultures refer to snow and explores the birth of the word and definitions too. It's the most enchanting read. I loved it.
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I started reading this on the day that we had our first settled snow of the year. Coincidence? I think not. It is entirely believable that the magic crafted by the words of this book enticed the snow to fall. 

The English language seems lacking after finishing these gorgeous fifty words for snow and snow related-things from other languages. Why do we just have the same four letters to describe all the wonder and variety of the white stuff? Shame on us. Particular favourites included “Fokksnø”, a Norwegian word meaning “wind-transported snow” and the Finnish word for snow that has accumulated on tree branches - “tykky”. 

I adored this, and know that it will be joining my list of annual wintry re-reads. Make sure you pick up a copy and feel your heart grow warm as you read about the cold and beautiful nature of snow.
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This beautiful book presents fifty words for snow across different languages and cultures, with a short piece on each. The words chosen are interesting and the writing on each heartfelt and warming. Each entry is separated by a beautiful illustration of a snowflake, each different. This is non fiction that reads like poetry. 

A collection that both soothes and educates is hard to come by; I’ll definitely be purchasing copies to give as presents in the future.
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This was such a gorgeous, atmospheric, memorable read. It has such a delightful premise, too. Ideal for armchair travel. Educational and enchanting. Flawless!
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It is a common idea that there are hundreds of words for snow in the languages of people who live in the arctic circle. Nancy Campell, who also wrote The library of Ice and has been to Greenland several times, now collects words to describe snow from all kinds of languages. Fifty little chapters give an insight into the history and cultures of our planet.
The chapters range from musings about language history to personal accounts of the author – to be fair, this is not what I expected, but I was positively surprised by it. Campbells writing style is easy to read. There is a nagging feeling that she got some minor details in the linguistics not completely right, but that is really nit-picking.

My favourite chapters are the ones about the Estonian jäätee and the Dutch hagelslag. My grandfather was born on Saareemaa, so I have been to Estonia several times and also saw the highway on the Baltic Sea in winter. Nancy Campbells description is spot on!
I would recommend this book to everyone with little time to read. The chapters are very short and entertaining, the knowledge is great. It makes for a nice coffee table book, especially with the dark blue ink and the beautiful snowflake pictures.

Thank you, netgalley, for letting me read this little gem.
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This was an interesting and unique read. 

Nancy talks about the meanings snow in 50 words. 

And with each word offers a myth and story.  

A perfect little read for the winter months.
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This was a lovely book to read in winter - short, fast-paced and full of interesting bits of information. It is hard to describe the topics - snow is the main connector but it brushes on history, science, linguistics, mythology... Some chapters were very short - half a page - and vague, more anecdotal than specific. The good chapters were very good - highlights are the one about Japan and the supernatural snow-woman, the Cherokee one, and the one from New Zealand. I liked that there were chapters about places where I didn't think snow even existed - Ethiopia, Thailand.
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Words for snow exist in most of the world’s languages – even those spoken in countries where it rarely, if ever, snows. For instance, Thai has “hima” at the ready even though there were only once claims of a snow flurry in Thailand, in 1955. Campbell meanders through history, legend, and science in these one- to five-page essays. I was most taken by the pieces on German “kunstschnee” (the fake snow used on movie sets), Icelandic “hundslappadrifa” (snowflakes big as a dog’s paw, a phrase used as a track title on one of Jónsi’s albums – an excuse for discussing the amazing Sigur Rós), and Estonian “jäätee” (the terrifying ice road that runs between the mainland and the island of Hiiumaa – only when the ice is 22 cm thick, and with cars traveling 2 minutes apart and maintaining a speed of 25–40 km/hour).

The white and blue tendrils of the naked hardback’s cover creep over onto the endpapers, each essay is headed by a Wilson Bentley photograph of a snowflake, and the type is in a subtle dark blue ink rather than black. Too many of the essays are thin or dull, such that the contents don’t live up to the gorgeous physical object they fill. Still, I imagine you have a snow-loving relative who would appreciate a copy as a seasonal coffee table book. (2.5 stars)
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Snow is just magical, at least to me it is, and the same can be said for this book. Contained within each chapter is a well researched and documented summary of words used to describe snow all around the world. Included are the origins of the words and I particularly enjoyed the account of the author's memories of snow growing up in the Scottish Borders sheep farming community. I’m so glad that she and her friend never grew out of making snow angels.

The book includes stunning artwork of snowflakes with the print in an unusual chilling ice blue colour. I would highly recommend reading this in hardback format to fully appreciate its beauty.

Thank you to Elliott & Thompson, NetGalley UK, and Nancy Campbell for the review copy.
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Each chapter in this book discusses an international word for snow and the symbolism of snow for different communities across the globe. This book has a big emphasis on the lore and history around snow and what it means for different people; the stillness of it, the destruction of it, the mysticism of it...
Throughout the entirety of this book you are taken on a journey in the world. From the Scottish Highlands, to Thailand where snow is an unseen myth, to Russia, to Mexico...
This is a good book if you want to learn more about different cultures and their relationship to snow. I initially thought the book would be a lot more festive in its descriptions, but just hearing the intimate relationships that different communities have with snow is magical on its own.
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Fifty Words for Snow by Nancy Campbell⁣
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I loved this little book! It was so beautifully presented. A tiny snowflake sized chapter for each of the chosen fifty words for snow. Words from different languages and cultures and people across the world. I love etymology, mythology, philosophy, nature and travel writing and this book brought all of those things together. ⁣
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I must admit my expectations weren’t high. I thought it would be an interesting gift book but it is sooooo much more! ⁣
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The way our language shapes our consciousness and experience of something is a concept that fascinates me and boggles my mind! Each snowflake gave me an insight into a different experience of snow. Nancy Campbell includes ancient languages, sign language and chapters on snow in places where I would never have though it existed like Ethiopia and Hawaii. ⁣
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“Just as the ecosystem is changing, so are the languages that describe it and the way they are understood.” With fewer snowflakes falling in many countries over winter, what will happen to our words? ⁣
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This is a fascinating and beautiful book. A perfect winter non fiction! ⁣
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This book deserves nothing but a 5 star review. It’s warm, it’s informative, it’s comforting, it’s conscious.

Not only does this book cover 50 words for snow and other snow-related words, it also is an encyclopedia for all things wintery in the entire world. The folk tales from Mount Ibuki to the fact of the snowless region in the Antarctica were more informative to me as compared to an atlas. The aesthetic beauty of this book I’m sure is beyond compare (I got a digital review copy of this book, but the previews of the pages online look elegant and classy) with intricate snowflakes, and true to the geometrics of a snowflake, no two illustrations are the same.

When we think of ice, we naturally think of global warming. But for most of us who live in the cities, this topic is too remote to even consider as a threat. But to various snow-capped regions in the world, who are facing the effects of our world’s unwillingness to change to sustainable ways of consumption, global warming is a lived reality. The facts about global warming and it’s effect on the tundra regions, glaciers and ice sheets serve as a reality check at the end of each chapter. I couldn’t get through more than a chapter a day, because of the eye-opening and hard-hitting facts presented in it.

From an inclusion perspective, the book also covers the sign-language for snowboarding! The diversity in the cultures presented in this book are way more than just 50. And that is the true beauty of this anthology of words.

On a lighter note, there are fun stories about snow and ice too. For example, did you know that once upon a time, people in Italy used to put snow in their alcoholic drinks as a custom? Or that in the Faroe Islands, it is possible to experience all four seasons in one day? Or that the craft beer revolution has reached even the Arctic region? For many more such facts, do get your copy of this book. This book is the perfect Christmas gift for word nerds and Spell Bee champs, as well as lovers of geography and all facts randomly arcane!
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I picked up this book with no expectations whatsoever. But I was pleasantly surprised. Since the first pages, I fell in love with the pages. It is not only about snow, but there is so much more to it! You will learn a lot about other civilisations, history, meanings of the words. You will come across some beautiful stories. It is beautifully written yet still an informative book, full of magic, which I can only recommend for long winter evenings. I will definitely reread it and wish I will find it under the Christmas tree.
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I thought this was charming - full of atmosphere, I loved the bite-sized nature and how transporting the book was. Perfect for a wintery/Christmas gift and for reading by the fire.
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A lovely, well written and informative book that made me learned a lot about snow and everything related to snow.
I loved the style of writing and how interesting each of the short essay is.
It's strongly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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<i> Thank you to NetGalley and the Publishers for giving me this eARC in exchange of a fair and honest review.</i>

Firstly, I think it should be said that this book is a masterpiece. I'm not the biggest lover of non-fiction, but this book and its setup is gorgeous. 

I didn't realise how many ways snow could be interpreted, shown, appreciated, described and loved - but Nancy Campbell has a knack for explaining the different ways that Snow impacts every single culture and country that she discusses within her book. 

Also, I would like to give a huge shout out to whomever did the art work, because snow is gorgeous. Personally, I'm hoping to have Snow fall here in Scotland soon... its certainly been cold enough - and it would just start off my December right. 

A gorgeous book for anyone with a love of snow, a thirst for knowledge or a passion for the cultures of the world.
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Fifty Words for Snow is a unique and beautiful book - it’s one of those books to read snuggled up under a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate next to you. I love learning new things and this book really helped my curiosity by having a broad range of stories and interesting facts to tell. Each chapter takes a word for snow in a different language and then tells a true story or folklore about the subject. We hear about the plight of the snow leopards, the unclimbed peaks of Mount Kailash and the ancient civilisations being wiped out or assimilating into modern culture due to the weather shifts.

The book feels well researched and the entries are only a few pages long which keeps you engaged throughout. I did take a break to read another book half way so perhaps it is best to dip in and out of the book to get the most out of it but I’m sure it can also be read in one sitting. I really liked the pictures of different snowflakes at the beginning of each chapter but I also wish there were more photographs of the subject matter (even though these don’t often work as well in Kindle books).

Overall, Fifty Words for Snow is an informative and interesting book on a great range of wintery subjects and I recommend it. Thank you to NetGalley and Elliot and Thompson for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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A series of exquisite little expositions on snow and the way cultures around the world describe it. Not one single wasted word. This isa perfect book to slip into a Christmas stocking.
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This book is really very interesting. It explores different words relating to snow from different languages across the globe, and includes contextual information about snow explaining the meaning of each word.

It’s an enjoyable read, and I think it contained just the right amount of detail. If it was more in depth, it would become a very specialist book and I wouldn’t have picked it up at all, let alone finished it. As it is, I’ve learnt a decent amount of interesting information about snow and its relevance in different cultures.

Some might describe Fifty Words for Snow as a bit of a coffee table book, but I think it’s more than that.
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Fifty Words for Snow by Nancy Campbell is a must read for anyone who is interested in linguistics, climate change or sociology.

The first thing that struck me about this book was the beautiful cover. This is definitely a book I would choose for the cover along let alone anything else.

Fifty Words for Snow travels the world exploring fifty words for snow but also provides the reader with a wealth of stories in relation to those words, each one unique.

As the author says, “Fifty Words for Snow is a journey to discover snow in cultures around the world through different languages.”

I have been interested in languages, particularly those that are in danger of disappearing forever, since I read a book on disappearing languages about ten years ago. Nancy Campbell discusses these languages many times throughout the book.

“While many of the languages in this book, such as Spanish and Urdu, can be heard spoken around the globe, others, such as the Inupiaq dialect of Wales, Alaska, are remembered mainly by elders in relatively small communities.”

Fifty Words for Snow has beautiful pictures of snowflakes peppered throughout the text.

One of my favourite stories was that behind Yuki-onna the Japanese word for snow woman.

“Taoist philosophy suggests that when there is an abundance of any natural matter, a life will come forth from it, the river will create its own fish when the water is deep enough and the forest will produce birds when the trees are dense enough. And so, it follows that a women may be generated in the heart of a snow drift.”

I think my favourite word was the Latvian word meaning ‘a blizzard of skylarks.’

“Used to evoke the enchantment of a surprise snowfall in springtime – whether the snowflakes fall to the ground as deliciously light and silver as the notes of the skylark or beat the air as powerfully as their wings.”

Fifty Words for Snow was a lovely little read.
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