My city has a big book sale every year that benefits the library. I look forward to it eagerly — trade paperbacks for $1, mass market for a quarter? Sign me up! I think my favorite part thing about it is that there’s almost no risk — you can pick up some random book because it looks vaguely interesting and if it sucks, who cares? It was a dollar or less. This was my reasoning behind 1) purchasing 55 books this weekend and 2) picking up a book about the creators and solvers of crossword puzzles.
So Matt Gaffney classifies himself as one of the few people in America who can claim to make their living by creating and editing crossword puzzles, so he’s pretty qualified to write a book about them. I found Gridlock surprisingly interesting, especially when he discusses crossword puzzle tournaments and how they work (I also liked the Scrabble tournament in Bad Feminist quite a bit, so maybe it’s me). He talks about the history of puzzles, how they vary paper to paper, and the big boom they’ve enjoyed on the internet.
It’s a quick little read, full of dorky fun facts and random trivia. He interviews some real characters, too. I recommend it to anyone who loves words and the people who make a living playing with them!