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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Show and Tell: Beautiful Words

This afternoon I wandered the library's fiction aisles, Giller list in hand, on a quest. One or two, was all I needed to begin my goal of reading all the Giller Prize Award winners and as many of the short-listed books as I can this year.

I begin the search for my quarry on a whim by seeing if I can find the two newest books. But no, that search was futile. So I start at the bottom of my list in 1994 hoping that the older books would be easier to find. Sure enough I do find two. I casually peruse the aisles, my gaze catching a familiar author here and there. Jojo Mayes being one I enjoyed very much. She was one of those clearance shelf finds that seem to stick with you.

On another whim I go take a look at the "New Additions" shelf to see what treasures were to be had. My gaze wanders the titles randomly seeing if anything catches my eye. Not today. I look a little further to my right and freeze.

Right there before me was the Holy Grail itself; the book I've been wanting to read ever since I saw the Giller Awards last year... Late Nights on Air by Elizabeth Hay (and yes, I realize that I'm not punctuating the words with periods as previously mentioned, but let's face it, I'm going to be writing a lot about what I read and that's going to get very annoying very quickly).

The book was sitting on the fast reads shelf, just begging for me to reach out and take it. I momentarily pause and wonder Can I actually read this book in a week? After all, there are no renewals on fast reads and the overdue fines are $1.00/day. Ouch. No room for error here.

I grab the book, put one of my other books back, and proceed to go find my husband. We check out the books and leave. 249th on th ehold list, my a*s. Ha ha ha, I have my book! I've been reading since we got back and am on page 55 of a 363 page book. So far it's a good read and I'm intrigued. Back story mostly so far but some wonderful lines here and there that make you pause and think.

Since you're probably wondering if I'll ever get to Show & Tell, here it is:

There's a passage in the book where one of the characters recounts travelling with her father on a car trip. In a discussion he tells her about how "Mr. Funk, the poet and dictionary publisher, had compiled a list of the ten most beautiful words in the English language, namely: mist, hush, luminous, murmuring, dawn, chimes, lullaby, melody, tranquil, and golden."

It got me thinking of what words I'm drawn to and love, not just for their beauty, but for their ability to convey so much so simply. (Even if that conveyance is simply of personal preference)

So here is my list:
1. ache 2. lovely 3. subtle 4. wrenching 5. permanence 6. swirl 7. drift 8. rhythm 9. musically 10. despair

Just a few that came to mind.

What are your favourite words?

Don't forget to stop by and check out what the rest of the class is sharing...


Cara said...

What an intruiging question! I could probably come up with WAY more than 10,but here goes. 1. Amber 2. Harmony 3. mirage 4. inhale 5. exhale 7. twilight 8. integrate 9. serenity 10. insight

WiseGuy said...

Well....what an interesting find! Books give us so much and sometimes what they leave us remains whirling inside us...emerging at the most unexpected times. 10 words - Sea, Night, Moon, Love, Jealousy, Happiness, Solitude, Intimacy, Hope, Determination.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

Wow--I need to come back with my favourite words--I have too many. But that is my favourite thing: when I find a book I really want either at the library or the used book store. It feels more special than when you find it at the regular book store.

G I N A L O U said...

1. serendipity
2. holistic
3. grace
4. wisdom
5. tradition
6. please
7. lavender
8. value
9. surreal
10. commiserate

But I hate
1. hockey puck

G I N A L O U said...

And I hate
2. luke warm
3. tepid

Another Dreamer said...

I know the ones I can't stand, like "Flow" but never really thought of the ones I like... so here's a spur of the moment attempt...

1.chaos 2. twilight 3. transcendence
4. ash 5. subtle 6. echo 7. breaking 8. constant 9. stillness 10. starlight

Sam said...

that's an interesting thought! I wonder how much we'd all reveal about ourselves in our ten word lists. Something to think about!

I don't know what I'd choose though!

Lori said...

Great question! I love the words put forth in your post and in these comments.

How about exhilarating? and fulfilled?

I'll have to think on the other 8.

Kristin said...

Wow...this is really making me think. I'll give this a shot...faith, family, joyful, soulmate, exhilarating, chivalry, serendipitous, entrancing, enmesh, soothe

Queenie. . . said...

I agree with Mel about two things--it always feels special to find a book you really, really want at the used bookstore, and I'll have to think about my list of words I love, because there are too many! I agree with the author, though--luminous is a good work. So evocative.