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223 pages, Hardcover
First published January 1, 2008
un- goes on for 451 pages, and reading a 451-page list composed largely of self-explanatory words is only slightly more exciting than reading the phone book.
After ten pages of this I think to myself, “This isn’t so bad.”
After twenty pages I begin entertaining thoughts of just skipping ahead to the end, reading the last un- word and pretending the whole thing never happened.
After fifty pages I sink deep into a petulant rage and turn the pages violently, occasionally tearing one, as though this whole enterprise was the invention of some cruel taskmaster other than myself.
By the time I’ve read one hundred pages I am near catatonic, bored out of my mind, and so listless I can’t remember why I wanted to read any of this in the first place….
I am convinced there must be some other use for this section of dictionary aside from it being an extraordinarily thorough scholarly record of some small corner of the alphabet…. It could be used in much the same fashion that some convenience stores use Muzak, blasting it into their parking lots at night in order to repel idle teenagers….
[I]t is at times such as this… that the true appeal of reading the dictionary makes itself known. It’s not that I’m a great fan of boring activities, but they do make the rest of life that much more special when they come alive.