15 Following


I read widely and in most genres but romance and westerns. Here you'll find my reviews since 2007, with a few reviews of previously read books as well.


In 2012, I completed an "authors of the world" challenge, reading a book for every country (and a few other entities) by someone who'd lived there for at least two years. I expect to tag these books by challenge and country in the near future. I'm still refining my list by adding books that better meet my challenge criteria.

Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages - Ammon Shea I am a dictionary reader--not like Shea, who reads them straight through, but in a more desultory manner, as occasional pleasure reading. I am one of those people who list a good dictionary when asked which 5 books I'd take with me to a desert island. I am as likely as the next dictionary reader to play word golf, looking up associated words and concepts in the same or other reference books. I have two favorite dictionary reading games. One is to trace words with related etymologies, an activity that does not seem to move Shea. I would be a much slower dictionary reader than he, because I find the origins more interesting than the words themselves. The other is to read translating dictionaries, both for the satisfaction of understanding how another language's words are constructed, but primarily because the "X to English" section presents the English words in non-alphabetical order, creating a sequence of English words that may be read as a story. Who needs new books when you have a Greek-English dictionary? It is full of new tales.I enjoyed Shea's narrative in much the same way as Jacobs's The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World, Fatsis's Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players, or, in the non-linguistic sphere, Koeppel's To See Every Bird on Earth: A Father, a Son, and a Lifelong Obsession--as a tale of obsession and acquisition. I'd have liked the chronological narrative, which falls after a successive letter heading and before interesting words beginning with that letter, to relate to each letter in some way. Otherwise, why subsume it under the letter heading? Still, I enjoyed this account without feeling inadequate that I have no desire to replicate it.To learn more about the OED, read Winchester'sThe Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary and The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary.