Reading the dictionary: I quit

I’m fifteen pages into the dictionary, and what I didn’t think of yesterday is starting to hit me in the fact.

The dictionary is the driest thing you’ll ever read.

I’ve read a lot of boring things. My human origins textbook in college put me to sleep on multiple occasions, as did my introductory philosophy book. If I kept one of those books I would probably have no problem falling asleep these days, but no, the college noob me had to get rid of them as soon as final exams were over.

The dictionary tops them all. This is shocking given how much I love words. I know the dictionary wasn’t designed to be an entertaining read; how interesting can a very long list of words and definitions be? But the dryness of the material makes slogging through the material that much worse. The words themselves aren’t boring. It’s seeing a prefix followed by an entire column of words containing that prefix and knowing exactly what most of them mean.

Then there’s the fact that I’m a slow reader. Reading my daily 6.5 pages already takes a long time. Yes, I have a good bit of spare time right now, but what about later? And what about everything else I’d like to be doing, much less should be doing? The dictionary is cutting into that time slowly but surely. Getting behind, even by one page, makes catching up difficult.

I’m throwing in the towel on this one. The fancy was nice while it lasted, but I don’t think I can take it anymore. I’ll stick to reading about the guy who read the OED. Sorry, Dictionary Book Club.

4 replies on “Reading the dictionary: I quit”

I’m still doing it at a nice leisurely pace, probably before I go to bed each night. Ah, but now I feel I can spoil the ending for you:

“zythum (noun)- A drink made in ancient times from fermented malt, esp. in Egypt.”

Did not see that coming.

@LeoFair I didn’t see it coming either. Zythum? That’s a new one for me. I haven’t checked to see what this edition’s ending is. Good luck with the dictionary reading!

Don’t blame you for quitting. I would have never attempted it in the first place. From my encounters with the dictionary, I kinda hate them (the real ones, not the computer dictionaries). So, did you end up learning any new interesting words?

@BookOwl I had to see if I could do it, honestly. As for interesting words, I only go to the ac’s. A lot of the words were technical, but I did learn abelia (a genus of honeysuckle plants and the name of my iPod) and the really subtle differences between a lot of words. That was the big thing I got out of the experience.

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