Summertime Books and Other Nonsensical Things
Technically I’m on vacation. It’s not a traveling kind of vacation, but rather a sit-around-and-be-lazy-and-do-things-you-didn’t-have-time-for-before vacation. Which, for me, means I’m dedicating most of my time to these three things:
1.) I’m playing Skyrim. Again. (Any Skyrim fans out there?) But this time I’ve installed survival-type mods that change the experience of the game somewhat. I’m having a ridiculously good time with it, especially considering this is around my fourth time through (only completed the main story on one play-through though).
2.) Reading! Yay! I’m an epically slow reader, though, so in terms of “books read” I won’t have a lot to show for my extra time. But I did recently read Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, and highly enjoyed it. I’ve now moved on to Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and am enjoying it immensely so far. I was a bit intimidated by it because it’s thick. But the language in the book is so spot-on 19th century that it in itself is highly enjoyable (is that weird? some might think that weird). There’s also excellent goings-on happening, so it’s not just the language. I’m only a fraction of the way through (page 173 out of 846), but so far, so good.
3.) And then I’m doing more reading, but this kind involves boring driving-theory because I’m finally going through the hassle of getting a driver’s license here in Sweden. I had one in California, but non-EU licenses don’t transfer over here, so I need to get one the Swedish way. Which, unfortunately, involves reading tremendously boring literature on the theoretical aspects of maneuvering a vehicle. Ugh.
So, not a lot of writing for me lately. But I have recently gotten a few books that I will probably use in my writing at some point in the future. Right now they’re sitting on the table. I walk by them and pet them lovingly. One of them is Leonardo da Vinci: The Mechanics of Man. It’s pretty much just a collection of da Vinci’s anatomical drawings and a translation of his notes. Pretty bare bones (ha!) which is what I was looking for. This book is more for inspiration for my creepy archivist story I’ve got percolating, and less about research.
On the research front are the other two recently obtained books: Madness in Civilization: A Cultural History of Insanity and Chambers Slang Dictionary. The insanity book I got mainly because it sounded interesting, and will probably provide good story fodder in some form, though it’s not for any particular project. Same with the slang dictionary. I started wondering about old-time slang words, found out there was a dictionary, and bought it. Unfortunately, the dictionary includes modern slang (boring), but it does also go back about 500 years. So it will require some digging, but I think there will be some good tidbits in there.
hornswoggle v. 1. to embarrass, to confuse, to disconcert. 2. to cheat, to swindle [19th century]. Also used as a noun: nonsense, humbug. A hornswoggler is a cheater and swindler. (I’m totally going to have to use this word at some point.)
old bendy n. the Devil [18th century]. Also, old billie, old clootie, old clubfoot, old driver, old hairy toe, old harrington, old hornie, old lad, old Mr. Grim, old Ned, the Old One, old poker, etc. (The list goes on for a while. I guess the devil is old…)
and no pickles: without a doubt [late 19th century]
pickled pork n. 1. talk, conversation. 2. chalk. 3 (also pickle and pork, pickling pork) a walk. [late 19th century] (The pickle section in this book is fun.)
quiller n. one who “sucks up”, a toady, a parasite [mid 19th century]
Satan’s bones n. dice [early 18th century]
sixpenny adj. second-rate, cheap, worthless [late 16th – early 17th century]. Also a noun used in the 19th century to mean a pint of beer costing sixpence.
wiggen n. the neck [mid 19th century]
What are you doing this summer? Have you read any good books or discovered any obscure words?