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Friday, May 12, 2017

Miscellaneous and The Great Passage

 Finally, I'm cutting back on my reading.  This year--because of anxiety, perhaps--I've been reading like a maniac.  May has seen a cut back in reading and a return to doing a little embroidery while binge watching Drama Fever and Netflix.  Since I need to keep my hands busy, I make tiny "whatevers" to work on as I watch.

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.  

Kindle First.  

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
How has May been for you?  Reading? Gardening?


  1. Love your embroidery works! Those written words are so true!

    So which drama are you watching now? I'm currently watching Hwarang and I love the plot. My husband is enjoying it, too.

    The Great Passage sounds interesting, though I suspect it wouldn't pique my interest initially without knowing what it's about. Thanks for your thoughts, Jenclair.

    My letter is on its way to you.

    1. Thanks, Melody! I really liked Hwarang; I'm watching Tunnel now. The Great Passage isn't very long, but the love of words is palpable. I loved that Majime's books took over the first floor of the house he lived in. :) Looking forward to your letter!

  2. Thank you. I will be looking for the Miura book. I am a dictionary fan.
    Lovely embroidery. I hope you are feeling better.

    1. The book made me realize all of the work that goes into preparing a new dictionary, and I found it quite interesting. The Great Passage is unconventional, but the characters were so passionate about language! I thoroughly enjoyed it!

  3. Love your embroidery! (And I'm glad to know Linda Castillo has a new book coming out soon.)

    1. Thanks, Lark! It was my first book by Castillo, and I really enjoyed it!

  4. One of Ricky's favorite books is The Devil's Dictionary. He is always buying copies to give away to discerning readers. He also put a copy in our LFL.

    1. Such a curmudgeonly misogynist, but some of his satire is so accurate! I love Ricky for buying copies to give away! The Devil's Dictionary has entertained me for years. :)

  5. The Great Passage sounds like fun!

    1. It is a gentle kind of book about people in love with words. A pleasure.

  6. Those embroidery pieces need to be framed! :)
    I don't know what's going on with my reading either. Hang in there!