The Oxford English Dictionary is the premier dictionary of the English language. It is famous for its easy-to-understand definitions and word etymology, which strives to record the earliest known usage. The seemingly simple verbs set, make and put vie with each other for the longest entries – over 60,000 words each to describe all of the uses and senses!
The current editor of the OED, as it is commonly known, is set to retire later this year. John Simpson was briefly interviewed on Morning Edition on NPR yesterday. What makes his position newsworthy is that he is only the seventh editor of the dictionary since the project's beginning in 1879 and has been working in this high profile position of the world’s most famous dictionary for more than 35 years.
In addition to some specialized copies of the Oxford dictionaries for foreign languages and picture dictionaries, MCPL owns a compact version of the Oxford English Dictionary. The print is so tiny, you need a zoom text reading machine (which MCPL also owns!) to really read any parts of this mammoth book. Read more »
Today is Shakespeare's birthday and to celebrate a Goodreads contributer created a great infographic to help you select your next read. A comedy? A tragedy? MCPL has works by Shakespeare, books to help you get through the plays and of course biographies. One of the best biographies is Stephen Greenblatt's Will in the World. Shakespeare expert and Harvard historian, Greenblatt does an excellent job of integrating a basic biography with the sights, sounds and feel of Elizabethan England. This book is dense with detail, but also entirely readable is a great choice for both self professed Shakespeare know-it-alls and newcomers alike.
Seeing as it is a classics sort of day, I thought I would also link to the Lizzie Bennet Diaries. This fictional video blog chronicles the modern day Lizzie Bennet, her sisters Lydia and Jane, and her best friend Charlotte Wu as they navigate between the pressure of their parents and potential boyfriends including the new-to-the-neighborhood Bing Lee. Read more »
Every year VIDA Women in Literary Arts conducts a survey to count female author representation in major literary periodicals. This survey isn't about quality or good reviews, but just about the representation, number of reviews or general press coverage that women authors are getting. The results can be viewed through a wide variety of lenses, but the graphs are admittedly a little shocking.
It would be interesting to know how the publishing numbers break down, but a quick peek at the New York Times Best Sellers hardcover list of the top 16 titles shows an exact 50/50 female to male representation. Which to me (unsing completely unscientific methods) shows that books written by women are just as popular or being read in the same numbers as books written by men. Read more »