The Value(s) of Books

There’s a new book I want. Well, it’s two books, the two-volume Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary. I like very much my Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus, which has smart little editorials on words and their usage from Zadie Smith, David Foster Wallace, Stephin Merritt, and other smart people whose opinions I don’t just trust but more like place the entirety of my faith in. (And I know, having read thoroughly my DFW, that the late grammarian would have no problems with the preposition hanging out at the end of that there sentence up there.) The other great thing about the OAWT is its superlative tables for certain groups of adjectives. Like the one that ties “kind” to “cruel” through words like “humane” and “inoffensive” and “pitiless”. Also the tables of specifics for those writers like this one who tend always to satisfy themselves with dull generics. A whole table of terms involved with knitting and crocheting! A list of oaths and curses inclusive of both “fuck it” and “jeez Louise”!
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