Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

November Books 4) Reading the Oxford English Dictionary, by Ammon Shea

There seems to be a bit of a trend of books about people doing pointless things (eg How To Sharpen Pencils); this is a harmless addition to the sub-genre. I'm sympathetic to people who set themselves mildly absurd reading projects, I'm sympathetic to people who suddenly discover that their eyesight is not quite as good as they thought, I'm sympathetic to philology and the derivations of words, and this book ticks all those boxes without stretching the reader very far. The 26 chapters each have a chapeau of a few pages of narrative about the reading process, or about Shea's earlier life, or (not as much as I'd like) about how the OED itself came to be, followed by a few quirky words. I was a bit surprised that "moreish" is considered quirky - I think of it as pretty mainstream. But there you go; perhaps it's something more on this side of the Atlantic.
Tags: bookblog 2013
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