To Be Read: The Professor and the Madman

As part of my New Year’s Resolutions, I am working through my To Be Read shelf and tracking the books I read in an effort to be more mindful about my reading and more critical in my thinking.

I have two competing genres for my favorite type of book to read. One (the better one to talk about at cocktail parties) is narrative nonfiction, where a historical event is put into context through telling the story of one or two people who took part in it. (My other favorite genre is the Schmaltzy Novel, which will always remain near and dear to my heart, and which is critically underappreciated and undervalued.)

The book selection for April, The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester, is a classic example of the first of my favorite kind of book to read. It tells the story of two men who were instrumental in the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary, which turned out to be a more monumental task than the people who conceived of it could even imagine when they started. I had actually already read this a number of years ago, but must have picked it up at a thrift store or used book shop. It is definitely going into our permanent collection.

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