September 17, 2011

What Does It All Mean?

I love visual media, and to celebrate National Sewing Month (what? You didn't know it had a month?) I am here to tell you that people who collect thimbles are digitabulists. It's the Word of the Day for Grandmas! More sewing trivia at, our fave infographics and visual media blog.

I also love the dictionary, as most of you know - I am a big geek who started reading the dictionary in grade school, and it just never got old. (Weird, that. I can't reread a lot of books, but the dictionary...) Even fake dictionaries which are mostly zeitgeist-based like the Urban Dictionary are worth looking at, if only for the occasional snickers and rolled eyes. Thus, when I ran across The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, I fell immediately in love with words like:


n. [Brit. wallesia] a condition characterized by scanning faces in a crowd looking for a specific person who would have no reason to be there, which is your brain’s way of checking to see whether they’re still in your life, subconsciously patting its emotional pockets before it leaves for the day.

Somehow, that's so weirdly appropriate.

In grad school we did a round-robin exercise when we giggled at the reviews we read and the big-ticket lines they used like "gripping tale," and "promising new work." We were then informed of what those words really meant, according to the artist in resident who was our instructor that session. He was pretty funny -- but the One-Minute Book Reviews blog has a lot of those same explanations with even worse meanings from members of the publishing establishment. Promise us that you'll never use these on the other members of your writing group....

“classroom-friendly”: “kids won’t read it unless they have to” @LindaWonder, Linda White, book promoter at Wonder Communications

“gritty street tale”: “Black author from the hood. Run.” @DuchessCadbury, graduate student in literature

“continues in the proud tradition of J.R.R. Tolkien”: “this book has a dwarf in it” @jasonpinter Jason Pinter, author of the Zeke Bartholomew series for young readers

More here, and here. (Hat tip to both previous links to the lovely name blog, Fritinancy.)

And speaking of meanings and defining things -- boy, howdy, there's a lot of screaming going on after Sherwood Smith and Rachel Manija Brown wrote on PW's Genreville about being asked to make their YA novel less GLBTQ friendly by changing the gender preference of a character. Genreville published a second piece in which it highlighted the replies and rebuttals and ripostes... but Malinda Lo rocked the house by coming up with statistics and facts. Oh, facts, how we really love you best. And thank you, Malinda Lo, for all the hard work.

Do you love getting mail? I do -- and have two dedicated friends who write me actual long-hand letters routinely, plus tons of fun folk who send cards from time to time. Postcrossing is a great way to get even more mail. Part pen pal, part Bookcrossing, your postcards come from all over -- and go anywhere. It's an excellent project - for the young or young at heart, and I could see it being fun to use in a classroom.

Well, back to writing. Meanwhile, enjoy the smell of books.


Anonymous said...

The definition of "waldosia" kind of made me want to cry. I feel like I need a copy of that book.

Sarah Stevenson said...

I love the word-nerditude. The Smell of Books was also great. (Crunchy Bacon would just make me hungry all the time, though...)