another day, another book

Had one of those days where not a lot went right. Had a good night’s sleep but the day seemed to go downhill, even to the point that when I went for a relaxing walk after work, I was nearly run over by speeding cyclists…on the footpath. Oh so Newtown. I yelled my displeasure but the cowards laughed and took off. Probably just as well, if they’d hung about I would have turned coward I reckon. Popped into a bookshop in search of a guide to Newtown that got an interesting review in the paper a few weeks ago. No sign of it and I suspect I’ll have to order it from the Trust. However, in a victory for retail therapy (and a failure for being spendthrift), I found a copy of the Taschen edition of da Vinci’s works I’d been seeking. All his drawings and paintings in a single, very heavy (hurt my finger when I shut it too quickly) volume. Been trying not to buy books, particularly as my nice copy of The Silmarillion had recently arrived. Oh well, it was at least a book I’ve been on the lookout for and nearly ordered from a bookstore in Melbourne where I last saw it. Feeling rather relaxed and content at the moment.

playing with words

Proving that my vocab is not as expansive as I would like, I did manage to attain the dizzying heights of 40 (several times) and in the process was responsible for donating 1,340 grains of rice. It goes without saying that serious word people, were comfortably in the 40s and regularly attaining a score of 50.

Update: with a bit of practice you can improve. Some words repeat but not enough to explain the improvement. I’m now scoring primarily in the early 40s and briefly made it to 44.

dictionary day

Just noticed that 16 Oct was Dictionary Day, or at least it was in the US, where the Day was declared to honour the birth of Noah Webster, author of the first American Dictionary. Reading the comments of the OUP historical piece on various lexicographers, I came across a site dedicated to the 300th anninversary of the birth of Samuel Johnson, creator of the dictionary, A Dictionary of the English Language, which was considered the authoritative dictionary until the publication of the OED a century or two later.

and in this envelope…

Hmmm…new blog, interesting ideas [shifted]. What if Google became the ultimate publisher, purveyor of all things digital, books, journals, you name it. Buy a publisher or two, a few aggregators, mash them together, and all of a sudden you have a new content stream, funded by advertising rather than folk in the street parting with moolah. There’s signs of this sort of thing beginning to happen, eg google scanning lots of books, not to mention some publishers eg my own company, Gale, opening their database content to google to index. The advertising model seems to work, and generates enough cash to keep these sorts of projects going. It’s only a matter of time before someone the size of google steps in and throws a bit of weight around.

a book fair and a sack

The annual Frankfurt Book Fair is over for another year, while waiting for the Man Booker prize to be announced I went looking to see if any interesting books attracted attention. While reading The Guardian’s take, I happened upon mention of an intriguing work from Georgia,

 “And then she shows me a copy of Morchiladze’s Santa Esperanza and it’s a wonderfully inventive thing – a tiny explorer’s sack containing 36 booklets and a map of a fantasy island in the Black Sea ‘which is populated by Georgians, Turks, Italians and British’.”

Upon searching further, I found an interview with the author, and a place selling the German translation. German however, is the only language into which it has been translated. It looks lovely and I daresay would sit well on my shelves, though I am unsure as to how many books I want that I can’t read :)

yet another book

Reading the SMH today, I found an article on a book due out in a few weeks on the trials of the Knights Templar, around 700 years ago:

“Only 799 numbered copies of the epic have been made. Each comes in a soft leather case that includes a large-format book including scholarly commentary, reproductions of original parchments in Latin, and replicas of the wax seals used by 14th-century inquisitors.”

Interesting that only 799 copies will be available, having googled about, it looks like 1 copy is going to the Pope, however I’m not clear whether it’s the first copy, or the 800th. Alas, as the price tag is 5,900 euros, I suspect it’s unlikely I’ll be grabbing a copy. The Vatican Secret Archives does have a website (eng) and there is a page on the Chinon Parchment.