Some books that I enjoyed in April and have scheduled for closer to publication:
The Hunting Hour by Margaret Mizushima
The Prague Sonata by Bradford Morrow
The Black Painting by Neil Olson
Down a Dark Road by Linda Castillo
All of the above are advanced reader galleys from NetGalley.
My favorite book so far in May is The Great Passage by Shion Miura, which was a pleasure. Not action-packed, but the details of making a Japanese dictionary are not the stuff of action. The book is, however, the stuff of delight for anyone who loves words. And quirky characters. And dictionaries.
The problems faced by the dedicated team of lexicographers include etymology, choosing what to include, choosing appropriate and accurate definitions and examples, choosing the perfect thinness of paper and more. A little romance, very little, but important, is also worked into this short novel.
I've always been amused by Samuel Johnson's Dictionary (1755). At the conclusion of his long preface, he says, "I have protracted my work till most of those whom I wished to please, have sunk into the grave..." That remark would have been appreciated by Mituma Majime and his colleagues.
Fiction. 2011; 2017. Print length: 224 pages.
Digressions on Dictionaries
From Johnson's Dictionary:
lexicographer: a writer of dictionaries; a harmless dredge
patron: commonly a wretch who supports with insolence and is paid with flattery
oats: a grain which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.
And what about Ambrose Bierce's (1911) Devil's Dictionary. Love my copy.
Admiration, n. Our polite recognition of another's resemblance to ourselves.
Egotist, n. A person of low taste, more interested in himself than me.
Love, n. A temporary insanity cured by marriage.
Malefactor, n. The chief factor in the progress of the human race.
Marriage, n. The state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress and two slaves, making in all two.
On Cats. Lucy loves the fountain.
Unfortunately, She also loves lizards, which she enjoys delivering to me. Sometimes, I'm quick enough for a rescue, but sometimes not. I happen to love these tiny chameleons, and it bothers me a great deal that Lucy and Edgar find them enticing in another way entirely.
|Green anole lizard -- Source|