Kinga's Reviews > The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary

The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester
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Apr 09, 11

bookshelves: non-fiction, mad-men, words-words-words
Read from January 20 to 29, 2011

If you know me personally or almost personally, then you should be aware that I am quite mad. I have a heavy obsession with the alphabet, inventing bizarre systems that rule just about anything in my life and catalouging things. It is quite obvious that a book about a lunatic and creating Oxford English Dictionary would be a winner with me. And it was.
However, it wasn't perfect. Winchester performed some weird narrative experiments. For example, he started off with a really exciting scene, then er... repeated that scene word by word in the middle of the book. And then... a chapter or so later, he said it actually never happened. This is a non fiction book!!
Also, Simon Winchester is obviously psychic because he can tell exactly what everyone was thinking and feeling ages ago. The conviction which he states it all with is imperturbable.
It's all forgiven, though, because any book that involves someone cutting their penis off (ESPECIALLY non fiction) can't get anything less than four stars.
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Reading Progress

01/27/2011 page 138
48.0%
01/28/2011 page 189
66.0% "Oh my god, awesome, I think they are about to catch him masturbating." 4 comments
01/28/2011 page 194
67.0% "Oh no, it was even better!! But I am not telling you, read the book."

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Alan (new)

Alan he started off with a really exciting scene, then er... repeated that scene word by word in the middle of the book. And then... a chapter or so later, he said it actually never happened.

Really?


Kinga Yup. I swear!
It was so confusing!


message 3: by Alan (new)

Alan not a printing error then, or something like that?


message 4: by Harold (new)

Harold Maybe he's a Calvino fan.


Kinga Definitely not a printing error. I think he is a fan of his own writing and decided that scene was so good it ought to be there twice!


Rita I am so glad you mentioned these shortcomings. He tells a good story and I;m glad I read it, but my goodness, all the glib phrases he uses, and as you say, his 'psychic' ability to know what everybody was feeling...


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