Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

I love dictionaries. There I said it.

Ok, so maybe I just love words. But, that means I love dictionaries too.

I know exactly when it happened. I was in the 5th grade and my best friend that year (who is a very good lawyer now) used to read the dictionary.

Like, she literally sat down with the dictionary and read it. So, me being the type of kid that didn't want to miss out on anything, decided to try it too.

(We did a lot of weird things in the 5th grade. Including calling any medical specialist in the area and asking them to send us brochures on different disorders. This is another post in itself, so before I get off track....remind me to tell you all about it sometime).

So, when I saw this book, I knew I had to read it.

This book is one of those books where while you're reading it, you're thinking, "Why didn't I think of this?!" The idea is so original and so simple.

The book IS a dictionary. The entire story is told in the format of a dictionary. I am not kidding. It's really cool. If you like words and enjoy looking up new words, you will like this. I am a total word person and am constantly looking up new words. The Merriam-Webster app on my phone is one of the apps I use the most. I use it to learn pronunciations of words (it has an audio function), get the word of the day or just learn the meanings of words I come across in books or everyday life.

What I liked most about this book was that it had a nice mix of everyday words and words that are just a tad above that (but not quite "SAT words"). I wasn't looking up so many words for it be annoying, but every few words I would look up just to confirm the definition or because I had no idea what it meant.

Here are a couple entries from the book:

lackluster, adj.

And when Kathryn asked you about me, I imagined you said, "He's lackluster."

Which is why I waited for you to ask me out for the second date. Just to be sure I hadn't underwhelmed you.

aloof, adj.

It has always been my habit, ever since junior high school, to ask the question:

"What are you thinking?"

It is always an act of desperation, and I keep on asking, even though I know it will never work the way I want it to.

neophyte, n.

There are millions upon millions of people who been through this before -- why is it that no one can give me good advice?

contiguous, adj.

I felt silly for even mentioning it, but once I did, I knew I had to explain.

"When I was a kid," I said, "I had this puzzle with all fifty states on it -- you know, the kind where you have to fit them all together. One day I got it in my head that California and Nevada were in love. I told my mom, and she said no idea what I was talking about. I ran and got those two pieces and showed it to her -- California and Nevada, completely in love. So a lot of the times when we're like" -- my ankles against the backs of your ankles, my knees fitting into the backs of your knees, my thights on the backs of your legs, my stomach against your back, my chin folding into your neck -- "I can't help but think about California and Nevada, and how we're a lot like them. If someone were drawing us from above as a map, that's what we'd look like; that's how we are."

For a moment, you were quiet. And then you nestled in and whispered,


And I knew you understood.

dissonance, n.

Nights when I need to sleep and you can't. Days when I want to talk and you won't. Hours when every noise you make interferes with my silence. Weeks when there is a buzzing in the air, and we both pretend we don't hear it.

Final verdict: A wonderfully original idea for a way to tell a story. It's thought-provoking and shockingly real. There were entries that warmed my heart (contiguous?! That one makes my heart beat so fast, because that moment in a new relationship is so amazing) and other entries that made me want to tear up because I knew exactly what he was talking about (dissonance? That moment is one of the worsts).

Definitely look into this book if you're a word person. It's a fast read and worth looking into!


Marisa A. said...

Ah that is so cool! This would be my kind of book since it would hold my attention by jumping around from word to word. Love it!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I think I saw this featured on or something like that. Sounds intriguing and as a lover of words, I bet i would like it!

That merriam-webster app will always make me think of you & our August weekend!!

Lesli said...

Oh, my gosh, I need the dictionary app on my iPhone! Adding!!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

I use my Merriam Webster's app a lot too. I bet you've played Dictionary! (I think they made a game out of it called Balderdash, but we used to just open up the dictionary and pick a word nobody knew).

This book looks like one that I would like. Thanks for the suggestion!

Nicole said...

I have to find this book!!!! So so cool.