Operation Superhuman Reader: a nonfiction triumph

{Presenting yet a deeper level of my self-professed word/lexicon obsession/passion. I know fully well how my unbridled excitement over this book adds to my nerd factor.}

The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English DictionaryThe Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The epitome of nonfiction.

The subject matter of this book (the Oxford English Dictionary) interested me before picking it up, but I had no idea how fascinating nonfiction could be and how quickly I would come to genuinely love this true story and those real men (and few women) involved in the Dictionary's evolution.

Winchester is a masterful storyteller, knowing which bits of information to develop and how to keep the august history of the Dictionary cohesive and relevant. Apart from novel-form nonfiction, I have never read a nonfiction book that was so delightfully engaging as this.

The OED's story is one of national—even global—collaboration all in the name of language. The story and its expert writing affected even my emotions. I found myself increasingly proud of my native English language and bolstered by the enthusiasm of the hundreds upon hundreds of nineteenth-century English-speakers who felt the same. I feel a nerdy thrill of excitement when I think of all the thousands, if not millions, of English words at my disposal.

If you're reluctant to read nonfiction, read this. Even if you're not such a passionate word-lover as I, you can enjoy this book for its engaging, witty writing and its accessible and thoroughly enjoyable telling of a truly remarkable story.

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Jill said...

I'm not usually a fan of nonfiction, but I appreciate good recommendations and this one sounds interesting.

Laura said...

When I took The History of the English Language this summer I had to read a book about the language. I chose to read about Samuel Johnson's dictionary. It was very interesting. My goodness what a tedious process, for real.

michelle said...

I consider liking nonfiction a triumph! I read another of Winchester's books years ago, and this one is on my list.

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