Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Meaning of Meanings

The Meaning of Everything
Simon Winchester
Book 4 of 25

Yo yo yo! Big up to my three loyal readers! This is your boy Perspicacious P aka the Vanilla Thrilla, back with another installment in the 25/50 challenge. Today I check in with a book review, if you can believe that shit. I’m on a tear right now, averaging about a book every 10 days or so. I have no idea how people with full-time jobs can read more than one book in a week. I spent a solid 2-4 hours every night reading this book, and it took me from Sunday to Saturday. Back when I used to hoop, once in awhile I’d come across guys who played D1 or were nearly that good and I couldn’t even relate to how much more gifted they were than everyone else. I sort of feel the same way about people who read fast. I’m just not physically capable of it, something that held me back in grad school. But you know what they call the person who graduated last in his class in his master’s program? Master.

ANYWAY, back to the book. So, dear loyal readers, you are well aware that I read Simon Winchester’s book on the writing of the Oxford English Dictionary, The Professor and the Madman. Well, he went ahead and wrote another book about your favourite (see what I did there?) dictionary. The problem is that he borrows heavily from his first book, retelling, damn near word-for-word, a lot of the same anecdotes and even using similar weird adjectives in places. I still enjoyed the book, but his high-flying Victorian triumphalism attitude was a bit much when he described the writing of the dictionary. I suppose it is one of lexicography’s greatest achievements, the thing defines like 600,000 words, along with etymologies and sentences to illustrate a word’s use. But still. It isn’t a cure for cancer or even the moon landing (if it happened, LOL). He has other books about maps and shit, but I’m all set with his writing for now. I had fun, know more about the composition of the Oxford English Dictionary than 99 percent of the population (does this mean I’m finally in the 1 percent?), and now know what the word polymath means. But it’s time to move on.

Now excuse me while I watch obscure silent movies online to review.


  1. Pat! You should add pictures to spruce up the place.

  2. Dude, I'm lucky I'm writing anything at all, but yeah, you're right.