Reading the OED One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages

Review :

This book is so good! It's the experience of Ammon Shea as he spent one year reading the OED. He has a great sense of humor. This book is full of stories about his experiences reading the dictionary mixed with stories of his life not to mention definitions of unusual words we've never heard of.

Two of these words I have already started saying in my daily life:

Prend - noun - a mended crack. Every Sunday I now look at my Sunday tea cup - the one from Colorado Capital Bank that shattered into several pieces when I dropped a juice glass on top of it (which also shattered into several pieces) and which my husband lovingly glued back together - and I say "Look at all these prends".

Inadvertist - noun - One who persistently fails to take notice of things. Can you say "clueless" I've been using this word each morning during rush hour when clueless motorists cut me off and then drive 15 miles an hour under the speed limit talking on their cell phones. The world is full of inadvertists who inadvertantly do stupid things.

Then there are other words that I would love to say but I know I won't remember:

Apricity - noun - The warmth of the sun in winter.

Hypergelast - noun - A person who will not stop laughing.

And did you know disrespect was used as a verb hundreds of years ago "He's disrespectin' me" is nothing new.

One thing that made this book delightful is not only that the author lists all these great words, he makes comments after all these words. Some of his comments made me laugh so much I cried. Example:

Unbepissed - adjective - Not having been urinated on; unwet with urine. "Who ever thought there was an actual need for such a word Is it possible that at some time there was such a profusion of things that HAD been urinated on that there was a pressing need to distinguish those that had not"

When the author went to attend the biannual conference of the Dictionary Society of North America I was actually jealous. What fun! I, too, want to read a dictionary and talk about words with other like-minded geeky souls. Then again, maybe I need a break from all of this. The other day I was reading the comics in the paper and got to "Mutts" and thought - hmmm, probably short for mutation. That's probably from the Latin word mutare meaning "to change". I made all that up but the sad thing was that when I checked the internet, I was actually right. . . .

Maybe I should read the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th edition (1910) and then write a book about that. . . .it's really considered literature with contributors such as John Muir and Bertrand Russell. Well, maybe not. I might end up, as Ammon Shea ends up, with stronger prescription eyesight and chronic backaches.

Highly recommended for all you other word geeks out there.


73 downloads 2890 Views 26.8 MB Size