Friday, October 26, 2018

A home entertainment system

Ammon Shea:

I’ve never been prone to buying fancy clothes, or meals in nice restaurants. But I’ve always allowed myself to buy books, no matter how meager a budget I was living on at the time. Anytime I come across a book that holds the slightest potential that someday I may want to read part of it I pick it up and bring it home. It isn’t a mania for collecting — it’s a defense against boredom. The fact that my shelves are filled with things I haven’t yet read and want to, and things that I’ve read before and want to revisit, means I will never be at a loss for entertainment at home.

Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages (New York: Penguin, 2008).
I like the sentiment, though at this point in life I will often write down a title and get the book from the library. (Question to self: “Are you really ever going to read this?”)

Shea’s book has some good moments (see above), but I think it’s best borrowed from the library. The book is made of short chapters, one for each letter of the alphabet, each chapter with a few pages of narrative (finding a good place to read, drinking coffee, getting a prescription for glasses, dreaming of words) and a few pages of odd words with short commentaries. Shea leaves unexplained the circumstances that allowed him to spend ten hours a day reading the OED. He gives a single definition for each word (not an OED definition), with virtually no attention to etymology. Which prompts me to ask: you read the OED for a year and this is all you came back with? Sigh.

Related reading
All OCA dictionary posts (Pinboard)
Words of the day: apricity, apricot

[A home entertainment system? A home-entertainment system? A home entertainment-system? A home entertainment system.]

comments: 0