Monday, November 24, 2008

It's Super Word Nerd!

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, 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?


victoria said...


Urban Panther said...

I grew up reading a copy of the Brothers Grimm that was red leather with gold on the paper edges. I loved that book!

julian309 said...

It's not just you: there's just something about the older books, with their much more elaborate bindings and covers. They've got much more of a feel to them, both figuratively and literally. Walking through an older library filled with old books has so much atmosphere compared to the more sterile feel of a modern one.

I’ve still got the book I made in a book binding hobby class in secondary school, and even though it isn’t brilliantly made and the coloured patterns they had for the covers were slightly garish, I like it. :) (The ribbon and the gold leaf imprints add something, too.) I’ve been thinking that I should write something in it one day, but have no idea what, really. Sadly we only had one session. I think I might’ve liked getting into the more elaborate stuff, even back then!

Sadly enough, I think it -is- a bit of an old person thing though (you and me both, before you hit me with that copy of Foyle's Philavery ;) ). Younger people who didn't grow up around them are probably used to the modern day "style", and wouldn't have much of an appreciation for the more alien older ones. That is, if they read books at all, of course! One thing I will certainly miss (and again, it's more a matter of what you grew up with, I think, sure), is actually holding a book, and not just reading it off a screen. I know that things change and newer things can be good in their own right, but I can't help but feel that just about everything nowadays, from artwork to buildings, to tableware, has lost some sort of fundamental depth or richness (now -I'm- sounding like an oldie ;P ).

I'm sure there are still younger people who like older style things, but my guess is that they're probably in the minority!

julian309 said...

On a completely different topic, Xmas is just 'round the corner, and the elves are apparently out in force already! Santa's elves is what came to mind anyway when I dropped into Coles (major supermarket chain in Australia) for a couple of things just before. I stepped into the canned food aisle and was suddenly witness to at least 10 staff busily restacking the shelves left, right, and centre. The rapid *clock clock clock* noise of tin against tin created an atmosphere all of its own. ;)

It didn't stop there though. There was an entire army of them throughout the store. I swear that I counted at least 80 of them (yes, I deliberately went from one end of the store to the other just to count) busily restocking stuff in various aisles. The sight of a line of about 8 freezer section doors open, with a person standing in each one was quite something (although nothing compared to the aisles that had 10+ of them busily working away).

I've never seen that many staff in a supermarket before, and as I drove home I was wondering to myself where on earth they managed to get them all from?!

Earl Riser said...

Yes I do have a book I like for its presantation, the bible, don`t present it to me!!

When I was a young pup, Mum used to buy me pop up books, I loved them then and still like them now.Though they don`t seem to be as well made these days.

Frisky Librarian (formerly known as GleeGirl) said...

Hello Victoria! =)

Hi Urban Panther. Oooh, red leather and gold edges sound wonderful.

Hi Julian. Tired again? ;)

Have you been to the Athenaeum Library in the city? Not that it is full of old books, but it has fabulous old dark timber book shelves and other old features. binding. Maybe that's something I could learn?

I bought myself a nice spiral bound journal earlier this year which I call my Happy Book - I have written down quotes and passages from books and things like that which help me to keep focused on my 'happiness project'. Maybe you could use your book for something similar? (Not necessarily about happiness, but something that is important to you.)

Reading off the screen is no substitute for holding a book in your hands, is it? I'll be sad if books disappear (although I rarely use a proper dictionary these days and can't recall the last time I consulted an encyclopedia - that's what Google is for!).

Funny to think that the books of today might one day be prized by future generations...

I thought the supermarket elves only came out at night? Must have been an urgent need for baked beans or something!

Hello Earl. Yes! I remeber pop-up books. We had several and I really liked them, expecially the ones that has little handles you could pull and flaps to lift up. I'd forgotten all about those. Can't say it's surprising they don't make 'em like they used to. Sigh.

You know what else I have rediscovered? Little Golden Books. I have recently purchased some of the classics that we had as kids - Scuffy The Tugboat, The Poky Little Puppy and so on. Ah, nostalgia.

Abbeysmum said...

Hi Julian 309.. i used to work in retail, and what you describe sounds to me more like a full on stock take count, unless the load had been delayed for a day or so, you wouldn't have that amount of stock needing to go in at once.

Marelisa said...

I had an agenda once that was back leather with gold on the paper edges. I always felt so glamorous writing in it. And I had no idea that there are people with an aversion to certain tactile stimuli.

julian309 said...

"Hi Julian. Tired again? ;)"

Well, tired now, anyway. ;) Somewhat high energy and very busy when I posted before, which'll probably lead to the same sort of thing. ;)

The Athenaeum hey? Don't think I've been there yet: I'll have to take a look. Writing something significant in my book is definitely a good idea, but I'm not sure what yet. :) I've thought of a journal before, but that didn't really work in the end, so I'll have to find something else. I've got the feeling it could take me a while to come up with up something, but it'll wait. ;)

Little Golden Books? Oh wow: I was about to ask if those were the ones with the little ladybird on the spine, but then I remembered there were (Little?) Ladybird Books, too. It's funny: I get a real feeling of nostalgia when I think of them, but about all I can remember is the ladybird!

The one danger I've found is that sometimes if you go back and look at something you used to love again, it doesn't have nearly the same charm it had when you were young, and it feels a bit lacklustre. (The biggest mistake can be eating something you used to love back when you had less of a sense of taste! ;) )

Glee moment: I'm finished my Wed. night course after half a year, and I'll be getting my certification as a vocational trainer! It was a big "ahhhhh" feeling, esp. after a busy last-minute wrap-up of some outstanding stuff (made worse by my recent busy-ness). Accomplished and relieved to have it all over with: that's a good feeling. :)

julian309 said...

Abbeysmum: I think you're right (in fact, I'm sure of it), because now that you mention it, I didn't actually see much in the way of boxes sitting around. Funny how I missed that detail completely!? :)

Gillian said...

Hello Frisky, I've been trying to comment for weeks here, but have had "issues". Let's try again :-)

books...oh yes....old books....oh yes....special books....oh yes ...

As a librarian yes I love books! the smell, the feel, opening a new book is heaven. opening a very old, beautifully bound book is orgasmic!

I have a few lovely books. Only about 20 years old. They're Australian nature types and have gorgeous pics in them. I have a complete set of Shakespeare bound in deep blue, in a slip case.

Favourite childhood book...Ned the Lonely donkey. a ladybird book. Which doesn't quite capture the feel that it used to years ago. But there is still the tugging of the heartstrings....see Ned was lonely, just like I was as a child. I also didn't own very much (deprived childhood) and this was one of my few it was cherished. Sadly I threw out its original slipcover years ago.