‘Dr Johnson’s Dictionary of Modern Life’

Now, I rarely sit down and read dictionaries through from front to back…but for Dr Johnson, I made an exception…much to the delight of the boyfriend, I was giggling to myself, attempting to dictate (in my best “olde English accent”) various definitions and for the most part, distracting him from the television…

But there was a good reason for it! I was having a great time reading the ‘Dictionary of Modern Life’. As well as the witty definitions and cheeky examples…the introductions to the chapters are fantastic! I also think that had my ABC Alphabet book been as up-to-date as this one (i.e. B is for Books, D is for Disney, F is for Facelift…), I would have been much better prepared for the world! What were they thinking, X is for xylophone!? When do you use that in conversation!? Anyway, back to Dr Johnson…

‘Dr Johnson’s Dictionary of Modern Life’ is a humorous look at this crazy mixed-up world that we live in! Hopefully there will be lots more ‘Dr Johnson’s Dictionary of…’s in the years to come because, anything that brightens up the seriousness of life is gold dust!

Here are a few relevant, humorous examples to tempt you!

“Blog n.

electronick Diary unto which earnest Fools do commit their innermost Thoughts, safe that no Man shall ever read them

Booker Prize n.

Cabal of Necromancers & Shamen meeting once yearly to endow but one Book with mythick Popularity

Ghost Writer n.

hidden Drudge, frequently compell’d to fashion the verbal Clay of Mistress Katie PRICE into Clods of near Sense”

Okay, one more…

Mister Men n.

Geometrickals whose Parents had the Prescience to name them after their defining Characteristick: CLEVER, BUMP, TICKLE, &c”

A BRILLIANT book for presents, stocking-fillers and general amusement! Check it out (or put it on your Christmas list)

‘C’

WOW! Tom McCarthy’s Man Booker Prize shortlisted novel ‘C’ is phenomenal! It’s not like anything I’ve read before, but it’s exactly what I want to read again! I nearly missed my stop on the tube about three days in a row because I was so completely enthralled! Fortunately, I live one stop away from the end of the line so it wouldn’t have been too bad…but knowing me, I’d probably have ended up riding the Piccadilly line until I finished the book!

‘C’ follows the life of Serge Carrefax, through childhood, WW1, the roaring twenties and even to the mysterious tombs of Egypt! Serge’s childhood fascination with wireless technology leads to an adult near-obsession with how things work. His child-like innocence disappears after a family tragedy and although at the time he doesn’t feel the need to grieve…he is overcome with what he feels as a darkness inside, which seems to follow him throughout his life, affecting his perspective on war, relationships and himself.

We get swept along with Serge through the war, witnessing (as he does) the horrors, but arguably being more affected by them than he is…through the 1920s where he discovers more experimental ways of escaping his troubles…and finally to Egypt where he delves into Egyptian mythology and finds himself at the beginning of literary modernism! Throughout the novel, Serge is at the forefront of technological advances…he was even born to the sounds of the wireless!

McCarthy’s writing is so clever. Although Serge is our protagonist, it becomes apparent that the main theme is the onset of modernity, which “surges” (sorry!) through the events as they unfold…he is a fascinating character from beginning to end…and ‘C’ is exactly the kind of novel that has been missing from the shelves!

An outstanding book which definitely deserves its place on the shortlist and has a very good chance of winning this year’s Man Booker Prize!