The concept of a word for the day is tried and tested and always fun in my world. It just isn’t possible to spend too much time thinking about words. I say this as a logophile (16. February) of course. And this cornucopia (6. September) of vocabulary is spectacularly brilliant. Its target demographic is substantially younger than I am but that matters not a whit.
Word of the Day is a serendipitous (2. March) whatsit (10. March), a marvellous coming together of different talents to produce a fascinating book. Writers, researchers and illustrators all play their part. For each day there’s a word and a picture illustrating it. (There’s also a pronunciation guide which presumably works for some accents, although not generally mine.) The words appear to be random but each month’s selection is collected into a short story, a little bonus sure to leave readers feeling contented (22. September). The illustrations are bold and dynamic and colourful, using animals rather than people. As an ailurophile (13. February) I was delighted to see some felines featuring.
The book itself is sturdy with heavy pages making it pleasant to hold, and the design is engaging. Some dates have little thematic runs to peruse (18. March) but most stand alone throwing fresh linguistic delights at the reader each day. As you would expect from Britannica and What on Earth Books, the research is exhaustive and the sources are credited – wordy (3. May) but reassuring. All in all this is a gem of a book, one that I will joyfully add to my collection, bibliophile (14. February) that I am.
My favourite word? That it’s impossible to select just one is indubitable (21. April). I could choose odyssey (18. August) as it’s what I like to go on or wanderlust (20. March) because it’s what I have or verisimilitude (4. May) in honour of the kind of characters I enjoy reading about whilst travelling. But in the end I’ve chosen Aft (16. December). It’s short and specific in its meaning. And it conjures up for me memories of voyages in glorious sunshine and spellbinding ice. You can keep – mostly – your landlocked (9. November) countries. Aft is my location of choice – unless I’m hanging over the stern, of course, watching the trail we’re leaving behind.