Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players

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9780142002261: Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players
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Scrabble may be truly called America's game. But for every group of "living-room players" there is someone who is "at one with the board." In Word Freak, Stefan Fatsis introduces readers to those few, exploring the underground world of colorful characters for which the Scrabble game is life-playing competitively in tournaments across the country. It is also the story of how the Scrabble game was invented by an unemployed architect during the Great Depression and how it has grown into the hugely successful, challenging, and beloved game it is today. Along the way, Fatsis chronicles his own obsession with the game and his development as a player from novice to expert. More than a book about hardcore Scrabble players, Word Freak is also an examination of notions of brilliance, memory, language, competition, and the mind that celebrates the uncanny creative powers in us all.

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Review:

Like a cross between a linguistic spy and a lexicographic Olympic athlete, journalist Stefan Fatsis gave himself a year to penetrate the highest echelons of international Scrabble competition. Word Freak is the account of his journey. It's a wacky grab bag of travelogue, history, party journal, and psychological study of the misfits and goofballs whose lives are measured out in Scrabble tiles.

Fatsis gives us all the facts about Scrabble--from the story of the down-on-his-luck architect who invented the game in the 1930s to the intricacies of individual international competitions and the corporate wars to control the world's favorite word game. He keeps the reader turning the pages as we get involved in the lives of the Scrabble obsessives: men and women who have a point to prove against the world and have chosen Scrabble as their playground and their pulpit. As Fatsis goes on his own quest to attain the coveted 1600 rating, we actually get obsessed with him as he lies awake at night pondering moves and memorizing lists of words. For anybody who is interested in words, Word Freak provides an entertaining and absorbing read. --Dwight Longenecker, Amazon.co.uk

From the Back Cover:

"Drama, strategy, controversy, pathos. The rich panorama of emotion. Synchronized swimming? No. Scrabble. Who knew?" --Bob Costas, NBC Sports broadcaster and author of FAIR BALL

"An engrossing, inside look at the strange and rarefied world of competitive Scrabble. It's a pleasure to experience vicariously a level of play that I'll never achieve!" --Will Shortz, New York Times Crossword Editor and Puzzle Master of NPR's "Weekend Edition Sunday"

"As they say in the Scrabble world, Fatsis got great tiles when he set out to write this book -- a slew of memorable characters, and a competitive subculture as bizarre as any I've ever seen in sport. I really enjoyed WORD FREAK." --Frank DeFord

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780618015849: Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0618015841 ISBN 13:  9780618015849
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin, 2001
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9780224060615: Word Freak

Vintag..., 2002
Softcover

9780965247351: Word Freak : Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competit

Hought..., 2001
Softcover

9780224060608: Word Freak: A Journey into the Eccentric World of the Most Obsessive Board Game Ever Invented

Hought..., 2001
Softcover

9780618392506: Word Freak

Penguin, 2001
Softcover

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