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

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

ISBN13: 9780399533983
ISBN10: 0399533982
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

An obsessive word love‛s account of reading the Oxford English Dictionary cover to cover.

“‛m reading the OED so you do‛t have to. If you are interested in vocabulary that is both spectacularly useful and beautifully useless, read on..”

So reports Ammon Shea, the tireless, word-obsessed, and more than slightly masochistic author of Reading the OED. The word love‛s Mount Everest, the OED has enthralled logophiles since its initial publication 80 years ago. Weighing in at 137 pounds, it is the dictionary to end all dictionaries.

In 26 chapters filled with sharp wit, sheer delight, and a documentaria‛s keen eye, Shea shares his year inside the OED, delivering a hair-pulling, eye-crossing account of reading every word, and revealing the most obscure, hilarious, and wonderful gems he discovers along the way.

Book News Annotation:

To enthusiast Shea, the 137 pounds is as nothing, the tiny print is no impediment, and getting through the nearly 22,000 pages is just a labor of love. Working on the idea that you always imitate the source of your inspiration and power, Shea plowed through all said pages and managed to do so in one year and arranged some of his chief findings in alphabetical order, from whence we come to learn such terms as "father-better" and "twi-thought." Much better than a word-a-day approach, and containing infinitely more clever ideas and usage, Shea's treatment features a wry approach to his love of the language and what appears to be a staggering amount, literally, of caffeine. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

With sharp wit, sheer delight, and a keen eye, Shea shares his year inside the "Oxford English Dictionary," delivering a hair-pulling, eye-crossing account of reading every word, and revealing the most obscure, hilarious, and wonderful gems he discovers along the way.

Synopsis:

An obsessive word lover's account of reading the entire Oxford English Dictionary, hailed as "the Super Size Me of lexicography."

"I'm reading the OED so you don't have to," says Ammon Shea on his slightly masochistic journey to scale the word lover's Mount Everest: the Oxford English Dictionary. In 26 chapters filled with sharp wit, sheer delight, and a documentarian's keen eye, Shea shares his year inside the OED, delivering a hair-pulling, eye-crossing account of reading every word.

About the Author

Ammon Shea is the author of two previous books on obscure words, Depraved English and Insulting English (written with Peter Novobatzky). He read his first dictionary, Merriam Webster’s Second International, ten years ago, and followed it up with the sequel, Webster’s Third International. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

wafinebooks, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by wafinebooks)
What can I say? This book along with Simon Winchester's The Professor and the Madman inspired me to seek out and acquire both the first and second editions of the Oxford English Dictionary. They ARE great reading!
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Shoshana, July 20, 2009 (view all comments by Shoshana)
I am a dictionary reader--not like Shea, who reads them straight through, but in a more desultory manner, as occasional pleasure reading. I am one of those people who list a good dictionary when asked which 5 books I'd take with me to a desert island. I am as likely as the next dictionary reader to play word golf, looking up associated words and concepts in the same or other reference books. I have two favorite dictionary reading games. One is to trace words with related etymologies, an activity that does not seem to move Shea. I would be a much slower dictionary reader than he, because I find the origins more interesting than the words themselves. The other is to read translating dictionaries, both for the satisfaction of understanding how another language's words are constructed, but also primarily because the "X to English" section presents the English words in non-alphabetical order, creating a sequence of English words that may be read as a story. Who needs new books when you have a Greek-English dictionary? It is full of new tales.

I enjoyed Shea's narrative in much the same way as Jacobs's The Know-It-All, Fatsis's Word Freak, or, in the non-linguistic sphere, Koeppel's To See Every Bird on Earth--as a tale of obsession and acquisition. I'd have liked the chronological narrative, which falls after a successive letter heading and before interesting words beginning with that letter, to relate to each letter in some way. Otherwise, why subsume it under the letter heading? Still, I enjoyed this account without feeling inadequate that I have no desire to replicate it.

To learn more about the OED, read Winchester's The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary and The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780399533983
Subtitle:
One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages
Author:
Shea, Ammon
Publisher:
Perigee Trade
Subject:
Reference
Subject:
English language
Subject:
Encyclopedias and dictionaries
Subject:
Dictionaries - General
Subject:
English language -- Etymology.
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20090505
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.18x5.96x.85 in. .80 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Reference » Reading

Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages Used Hardcover
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Product details 256 pages Perigee Books - English 9780399533983 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , With sharp wit, sheer delight, and a keen eye, Shea shares his year inside the "Oxford English Dictionary," delivering a hair-pulling, eye-crossing account of reading every word, and revealing the most obscure, hilarious, and wonderful gems he discovers along the way.
"Synopsis" by ,
An obsessive word lover's account of reading the entire Oxford English Dictionary, hailed as "the Super Size Me of lexicography."

"I'm reading the OED so you don't have to," says Ammon Shea on his slightly masochistic journey to scale the word lover's Mount Everest: the Oxford English Dictionary. In 26 chapters filled with sharp wit, sheer delight, and a documentarian's keen eye, Shea shares his year inside the OED, delivering a hair-pulling, eye-crossing account of reading every word.

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