ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.



June 2018



Word by Word by Kory Stamper

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Four Stars

Best for: People who love words. So, you know, ALL OF US.

In a nutshell: Mirriam-Webster Dictionary lexicographer Kory Stamper shares a behind the scenes look at what goes into that tome so many of us take for granted, the dictionary.

Worth quoting:
“The fact is that many the things that are presented to us as rules are really just the of-the-moment preferences of people who have had the opportunity to get their opinions published and whose opinions end up being reinforced and repeated down the ages as Truth.”

Why I chose it:
I love words!

I’ve been in a bit of a reading black hole the past month. After powering through all three of the Crazy Rich Asians books in like a week, I posted just one (ONE!) review in May. I have maybe three or four books that I’m a chapter or two into, but I just couldn’t get into any. So I picked this one up because it seemed fun, and thank Maude, I’m cured. This was a delight to read, and has kick-started my consumption of the written word.

Being a dictionary editor sounds partially amazing and partially horrible. No one talks except outside the office on lunch breaks (which, most days, is my dream, but still, I like to at least have the option), and there’s a lot of time spent reading. Unfortunately, the reading isn’t for pleasure so much as it is to look for interesting examples of words being used, to refer back to at a later time when revising the dictionary.

I’ve never put a whole lot of thought into dictionaries; I don’t own a physical one anymore, but I think I might pick one up after reading this. Ms. Stamper has a great grasp of language (as you’d hope), and manages to make what could be extraordinarily dry subject matter come alive with interesting stories, clever anecdotes, and vivid imagery. Its a great little book that I think my fellow Cannonballers would enjoy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.