I am such a nerd. I read Foyle's Philavery in one sitting on Friday night. I couldn't stop! I have kept a list of my favourites, but in the interests of not swamping you with another list of words, I'm going to save that for another post.
Oh, I will mention just one thing. In the pages of Philavery I found a name for a condition that afflicts my friend Hannah, only I don't think it occurred to either of us that it was an affliction that might even have a name. You see, she has a major aversion to the feel of cottonwool balls. She cannot stand to touch them. It turns out this is known as haptodysphoria - "an unpleasant sensation felt by some people in response to certain tactile sensations".
Christopher Foyle writes that in compiling the book, he came across haptodysphorics who have reactions to the feel of kiwi fruit, jelly, hamsters and um...old forks.
And on Saturday night...
I whiled away several hours at www.rinkwords.com, a site reader The Infamous Mrs Blueballs mentioned in the comments last week. It is a treasure trove of interesting stuff about words. The collection of collective nouns is highly amusing, but my favourite thing is the lengthy list of funny and unusual words. I took notes there too but again, I'll save that for later.
Oh, I will mention just one thing - did you know that there is a word to describe the act of causing a frog or toad to jump up in the air? Well, there is! It's "spanghew"! That's hilarious.
And one more thing! There is a word for the worship of words - epeolatry.
The pleasure of binding
Part of the charm of Foyle's Philavery is its presentation - it's a solid little book with an old-fashioned hard cover and fabric binding on the spine bearing the name in gold lettering. It also has a little red ribbon to keep your place (not that I needed to use it).
Does anyone else find pleasure in the presentation of a book? Books these days generally lack the visual and tactile appeal of those from years gone by, don't they? (Geez, how old do I sound?).
I had to buy one of my other favourite books, Strunk & White's The Elements of Style (writing style, that is) when I opened it up and saw that it had 'hello' and 'goodbye' printed inside the front and back covers . I liked the idea of something so silly on a book on an ostensibly dry topic and it reminded me of the sort of things I used to scribble on my exercise books when I was at school (along with "Private! Keep out!"). The book is also pleasingly cloth bound and has quirky illustrations, unlike the little softcover edition I had when I was at university.
Do you have a book that you like for its presentation?