Reading the OED

In General by JohnLeave a Comment

Apart from the lead up to Christmas Day, this past week has seen a very interesting sequence of events for me, because so many things seemed to come together this week regarding the OED – and Christmas Day.  Even my post on Christmas Day, in which I had to look up the OED on my computer to see how to spell “misspell”.

It really all began a few weeks ago when I decided to adopt a far more interesting theme for my blog page, designed by Felix Krusch in Montreal, and accelerate the search for a new blog name.  It crossed my mind many times that I should look up a book I’d read two years ago, called Reading the OED.  It has lots of words in it that most people have never heard of, but have meaning that are often extraordinary.

I thought it would be really great to choose one of those words from the book to use as part of the new name for my blog page.  But I couldn’t find the book.  I searched high and low for it, in every spot in my home that I could think of.  Perhaps I’d lent the book to someone, or tossed it out in a super clean-up as a book read.

So I finally drew up a list of possible new names for the blog site and asked Felix his thoughts.  He replied:

For the Title I personally would go with “The Tarragon Tatler” or if you allow me to suggest a new one “The Tarragon Times” …. I like the alliteration of the 3 capital “T”.

So I adopted his suggestion.  And so did Google.

Last weekend I increased my search for my copy of Reading the OED and finally on Sunday, I intensified the search and eventually found the book.  It was too late to use any of the words in it for the Title of my blog page, but I was thrilled to find the book again, to re-read it at random.

Against this background, on Tuesday, I visited Jeffrey’s Stonnington Books in Glenferrie Road, Malvern, and to my great surprise and astonishment, they had the OED on display and for sale, at the amazing bargain price of $1,300.

This was the first time I’d ever seen the OED in the flesh.  I could hardly believe it.

The link with Christmas day with Matthew and Joy, and their parents, family and friends was that in November 1997, Matthew arranged a collection at work for my 60th birthday, and in accordance with my choice of gift, was given the OED on CD.

Twelve years later I’m still a great fan of the OED, and have updated my CD to the DVD version (but not yet the latest version).

Interestingly, Jeffrey’s Stonnington Books had the author of Reading the OED in store when the book was released in Australia, to autograph copies.

Here we see Ammon Shea, the author of Reading the OED, looking at one of his reference books while holding a volume of the OED.  The other 19 volumes can be seen on the book shelf behind him.

The photo was taken by Marks Woods of Brooklyn, NY, and of Harvard University.

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