Tag Archives: logophile

WWWWednesdays

(As stolen from the delightful Bridget at bridgetsbooks.wordpress.com!)

1. What are you reading currently? I’m in the middle of reading Baked, by Mark Haskell Smith.  Hilarious, full of adventure, and about the weed scene in LA–plus Mormons. What more do you need?

2.  What did you just finish reading? Ok. I cannot tell a lie. I just read A Clash of Kings, by George R. R. Martin, the second book in the Game of Thrones series. Yes, the books are kind of poorly written, and yes, there’s not a whole lot to think about when reading them, but man, does good old George R. R. sure know how to make likable characters and immediately kill them.

3.  What do you plan to read next? That is an excellent question, sir or madam! I think I might go with 50 Shades of Grey….

I’m totally messing with you.

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Bumbling Wanderlust: No Touch Monkey! And Other Travel Lessons Learned Too Late, by Ayun Halliday

So, I have this friend. A friend who is a dude. A dudefriend, shall we say. A week or so ago, this dudefriend and I were engaging in some 3 AM phone banter (along with being nerd-like, I have some serious issues with sleep), and I was explaining to him that I have a serious, serious case of wanderlust, and all I really want to do with my life is travel around the world and experience as much of it as I possibly can before I die. This dudefriend, knowing full and well of my love for books, then asked me a very good question:

“Have you ever read any books on travel?” (He said this in a very annoying manner, as dudefriends are wont to do.)

Point for you, dudefriend. No, I had not read any books on travel; I’d read guidebooks and brochures when I was trekking around Europe for four months, I’d read articles found in  my parents Scuba magazines, and I’d devoured the Travel section of the L.A. Times, but never once had I read a real, honest-to-goodness travel book.

And thus I arrived at No Touch Monkey! And Other Travel Lessons Learned Too Late by Ayun Halliday. Halliday is refreshingly honest, open, and forthright with her (mis)adventures in traveling, from being accosted by a prostitute in Amsterdam, to the woes of a malaria-ravaged digestive track in Africa, to lessons on hygiene from a train station cop in Munich. Often funny in her brutal honesty, Halliday’s book reflects the conflict between what one expects and what one receives when exploring the world.

While Halliday’s honesty is delightfully frank, she takes some of the magic away from travel. Her child-like wonder when she first arrives in each country is repeatedly squashed by some bizarre (and, admittedly, entertaining), which eventually becomes tiresome for the reader, whose hopes are dashed as well as having the exotic de-mystified.

For a good laugh and a relatable read for travelers who love the word, but can’t who can’t quite seem to get it right, look no further than No Touch Monkey!

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On Security and Happiness:

-Hunter S. Thompson, “Security,” 1955

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The Best Things In Life Are Free

Last Christmas, my parents got me a Sony e-reader. At first, I was enchanted by its whispered promises. “I don’t have to carry around ten pounds worth of books on vacation anymore?? My 500+ paged novels now can fit conveniently in my purse via this slim little thing?? I can be hip and cool and all of the popular kids will like me??”  my brain thought feverishly.

It’s definitely taken some getting used to (and I’ll admit, I still like getting the real deal better than the electronic versions). Books are intensely personal items for me; each book I have in my shelves isn’t just a book, it’s a time, a place, a mindset. The stains on page 114 of Portnoy’s Complaint are from a spilled Pasifico beer. The folded down dog-eared corners in my copy of Brave New World are a representation of the favorite passages of my 17-year-old self. And poor, poor Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens is so marked with annotations that J. M. Barrie is surely rolling in his grave.

But that’s the beauty of books. It’s in their tangible pages, their glue at the seams, their reassuring weight, and, most of all, their ability to hold memories within them.

There is something to be said for e-readers, though, especially when sites like Planet ebook offer 50+ classics you can download on your e-reader…brace yourselves, fearless readers…FOR FREE. I’m talking Jane Eyre, Moby Dick, Frankenstein, The Great Gatsby…

For some free books (how could you possibly say no??) click HERE.

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Lovely

 

-Albert Camus, Lyrical and Critical Essays, 1968

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Tre Magnifique: The 100 Most Beautiful Words in English

You mean you only picked 100,  Mr. Beard?? Robert Beard, writer of poetry, dictionaries, and all around logophile, has selected 100 of his favorite words in his book The 100 Most Beautiful Words in English. Considering the English Language has about 200,000+ words to choose from, this could not have been an elementary task. His delightful book  breaks each down into magnificent one-page descriptions, including entomology, use, and fun, surprising facts.

Here are a few of my personal favorites:

Halcyon: sunny, happy, or care-free

Scintilla: a spark or very small thing

Dulcet: sweet, sugary

Woebegone: sorrowful, downcast

The argument for the sound of a word having a direct physical or emotional effect on a person directly relates to the book I’m currently devouring. It’s the first book of poetry I’ve ever read in entirety, and I cannot wait to let you all know what I think!

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