Monday, August 5, 2013

The Lover's Dictionary

Book Review

The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan.

This is a relatively new release.

And it is a bit of a different kind of read. Not your usual romance. Not your usual novel. Not your usual anything.

It is a quick read. But it is not a quick read.

It all depends on how you read it.

This summer has been the summer of rain. At least around here.

That might be good for reading this book. That might mean you don't want to spend any time outside in the rain. You might want to spend your time inside reading.

Then again, all this rain might be bad for reading this book. You might just want to stare out at the rain and not keep reading.

But read you will. Rain or no rain. Curiosity should guide you to reading this.

The Lover's Dictionary

This is a dictionary. Just not a complete one. The author has inserted his own definitions, revolving around a story, but only for a select number of words.

But you need to know that this story is jumbled. This story is presented a small tidbit at a time. And in no particular order.

So you'll have to spend some energy piecing it all together in between your actual reading.

Then again, with all this rain, you might be tempted to read a lot. And keep reading. And plow through your book. But this is probably not the book for that kind of reading. Each dictionary entry causes you to think.

You need to think how each entry relates to the story that you know random bits of. You need to think about the Oxford meaning of the word. You need to think about how the author interprets the word and applies it to a particular part of the story.

Thinking in the midst of the reading of the story does not jibe well with plowing through a book on a rainy day. But thinking in the midst of the reading of the story is perfect for staring out the window while it rains.

I guess you need a bit of both. Rain for wanting to stay inside and read. Rain to stare at while you contemplate the meaning of the most recent word definition you just read.

Hmmm, it is starting to sound like you should have this book on hand for when it rains.

Most of the words presented in this dictionary I am already familiar with. I did not need to look up the standard, Oxford, definition for most. But I was stumped on a few. Like halcyon. And hubris. And kerfuffle (but I had a -correct- guess about this one). And peregrinations. And quixotic. And rapprochement. And solipsistic.

It was interesting to look up these words, read the standard definition, and then go back to reading the author's version. And then to try and figure out how that version fit into this puzzle of a story.

It was also fun to read these non-standard definitions for words I am very familiar with.

Like catalyst, but for a different kind of chemistry. Dissonance, but not the kind from music. Elliptical, but nope, not geometry this time. Flux, but nothing close to relating to radiation. Gravity, no physics here. Integral, but this one is far, far from being related to a derivative. Kinetic, I roll with frequently. Latitude, but no maps anywhere near here. Non sequitur, often used by me to one of my children at the dinner table --- almost daily. And zenith, but this one doesn't involve looking up.

This is fun. I think I should make my own dictionary. I would love to make up my own definitions to some of these very geeky words, which are frequently used in my vernacular. But if I was going to create something similar to this dictionary, I would need a story behind it. Because there certainly is a story here.

A story that you just aren't ever sure you've gotten enough of to figure out. To figure out what happened. To figure out what happened when.

If you are ready for a rainy day puzzle in words, this is your dictionary. Don't bother with it if you want  a linear narrative. You won't find that here.

This is an adventure with words. Not a pick-your-own adventure. The author has that firmly under control. But get ready for trying to puzzle it out.

This is unlike any other dictionary you will find available in a library. Check it out!

No comments:

Post a Comment

We welcome your thoughtful comments.