Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Erin McKean

Erin McKean, aka "America's Lexicographical Sweetheart" and "the queen and rock star among lexicographers," is the Editor in Chief of Oxford's American Dictionaries.

She is also the author of Weird and Wonderful Words, Totally Weird and Wonderful Words, and That's Amore!: The Language of Love for Lovers of Language.

I recently asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
My summer reading goal is to redeem my promises to all the books that I bought with good intentions and never read: so far I've galloped through Marilynne Robinson's Gilead (and dog-eared a dozen pages because the words she used were so lovely and rare: covetise, lour, robustious), immersed myself in Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and am rambling at a leisurely pace through Neil Gaiman's Sandman trades -- I just finished A Game of You. All winners -- and I can't believe it took me so long to get to them!

I'm also getting over a cold. I treat colds with Dayquil, Diet Coke, and megadoses of children's literature. This one was vanquished by four volumes of Noel Streatfeild's 'shoes' books in quick succession: Dancing Shoes, Ballet Shoes, Movie Shoes, and Family Shoes. If a hearty dose of stiff-upper-lip Britishness and various nasty, spoiled children getting their well-deserved comeuppances doesn't make you feel better, you may never get well.

More seriously, I'm right in the middle of David Weinberger's Everything is Miscellaneous, which is terrifically smart and eerily prescient about where information is going (and how we'll find it once we've caught up to it). As a lexicographer, I especially enjoyed his take on the evolution of alphabetical order ... finally, someone gets it!

Of course, I'm also looking forward to what I'm going to read next ... on the horizon are John Scalzi's The Last Colony (my reward for getting through the Dictionary Society of North America conference next week; I plan to read it on the plane to the O'Reilly Tools of Change conference; and any day now I should get the books from the reading list for the Literary Sojourn, which I'll be emceeing in October! (If you're in Colorado, you should stop by ... )
Visit Dictionary Evangelist, one of McKean's blogs.

--Marshal Zeringue