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

 
 
Author
Ammon Shea.
Publisher Perigee  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 8.5 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
ISBN 9780399533983
Pages/Publication Date 223/2008
Daedalus Item Code 01906
This item is not available.
Description
This is an obsessive word lover's account of reading the entire Oxford English Dictionary (waggishly hailed as "the Super Size Me of lexicography" by the New York Times Book Review). "I'm reading the OED so you don't have to," quips Ammon Shea on his slightly masochistic journey to scale the word lover's Mount Everest, the venerable and vaunted OED. In 26 chapters from A to Z, Shea shares his year inside the OED, delivering his own favorite words, a few obscure ones that beg to be revived, and the stories of dictionaries themselves.

"Oddly inspiring.... Shea has walked the wildwood of our gnarled, ancient speech and returned singing incomprehensible sounds in a language that turns out to be our own."NYTBR

"Shea's engougement ('irrational fondness') for dictionaries led him to spend a year reading through all 20 volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary, and he describes this account as 'the thinking man's Cliff Notes to the greatest dictionary in the world.' For each letter of the alphabet he provides a handful of his favorite words and his own humorous glosses, along with musings on the history of the OED, dictionaries in general, and his reading life. (He does most of his OED reading at the Hunter College Library and finds himself turning into one of those 'Library People' as the year goes by.) He shares a number of words that, though they have fallen out of the common vocabulary, could be put to excellent use today: empleomania: 'a manic compulsion to hold public office'; zabernism: 'a misuse of military authority.' The book will happify ('make happy') word and dictionary lovers, who will be able to read it in an hour or two, much less time than it takes to read the OED."Booklist

 
 
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