Thursday Boggle #150: Final Edition

This is the last edition of Thursday Boggle. It’s been fun hunting for those elusive seven- and eight-letter words and scrambling against the timer to beat past high scores. Unfortunately, maintaining the weekly posts is no longer feasible for me.

I’m sad to be saying goodbye to Boggle here on Speculosity, but I’m also glad that I’ve been able to share my love for Boggle with anyone who’s been willing to give the game a try.

Thank you for enjoying my Boggle boards, and I hope you continue Boggling when you can. You can always revisit past Boggle posts here if you want a quick board to play.

So, for the last time…

Give it your best go and share your score and most epic word below!

Don’t know how to play? Find out here.
Boggle 150

Fairy Tales, Fables, and Mythology

Classic children’s spec-fic has been on my to-read list for a long, long time, and finally, once I finish up The Old Curiosity Shop, I’ll be able to lose myself in childhood fantasy.

It’s intimidating choosing where to start, though, because there are so many classic books that, for whatever reasons, I had never read as a kid. My first thought was to limit myself to more recent classics of the last century, such as Peter Pan, The Phantom Tollbooth, and Matilda. Stories everyone knows and loves in one form or another.

But then again, everyone knows the stories of Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, and The Tortoise and the Hare too. These fairy tales and fables are just as embedded in and important to our literary culture as are the standard-issue modern classics, so I can’t pass these up. I thus added some of the more “classic” classics to my to-read list—the fairy tales and fables of the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and Aesop.

Thinking of fables then led me to One Thousand and One Nights, the well-known frame story of Middle Eastern folk tales. Although the work isn’t a piece of children’s literature by any means (and really, many traditional fairy tales aren’t child-friendly), it is another piece of speculative fiction that has influenced and continues to influence other fables, fairy tales, and children’s stories. I added One Thousand and One Nights to my list as well.

The deep cultural roots of the Middle Eastern classic and its ties to Mesopotamian, Indian, Arabic, Egyptian, and Persian folklore shifted my search for “classic” children’s classics to a search for mythology. I mean the real classics here: Greek, Roman, Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Aztec, Chinese, Japanese, Norse, Celtic…the list goes on.

Any given culture or religion in the world has a rich and extensive mythology that has shaped storytelling in some way. At what point does my innocent search for  fairy tales, fables, and myths to read in preparation for children’s literature become a study in culture, religion, and philosophy?

I just want to read some of the roots of fantasy. Where do dragons come from? What does it mean to be a hero? What is magic? How did fantasy all start?

Typical me—in an effort to narrow down which classic children’s books I will read, I’ve split open my possibilities. Now instead of choosing between Winnie the Pooh and The Velveteen Rabbit, I’m choosing from among the entire world’s cultures. I have a lot of research ahead of me, and I welcome any suggestions for particular collections of myths. Please let me know if you have any recommendations!

Looks like I’m taking an extended detour in myth before I can get lost in children’s fantasy.

Thursday Boggle #149

Give it your best go and share your score and most epic word below!

Don’t know how to play? Find out here.
Boggle 149

The Boring Curiosity Shop Update

How embarrassing…I’ve been reading Dickens’s The Old Curiosity Shop since April. This one is taking me even longer to get through than the drudgery that was One Hundred Years of Solitude. It’s just so boring. At least with Márquez I knew what the point of the book was.

But fear not—I will get through the book because my next set of reads has arrived and I am thrilled to read these books. Tomes, really (one of them is over one thousand pages long. Eek!). I’ll tell you all about them once I finish up with Dickens. Two hundred pages to go…

Thursday Boggle #148

Give it your best go and share your score and most epic word below!

Don’t know how to play? Find out here.
Boggle 148

The Dictionary of Me

Being a Canadian, I enjoy the luxury of selecting not only the spelling of any given word but also the word itself from among American, British, and Canadian variants. Being a writer, I also enjoy the freedom of spelling and word choice based on intuition, aesthetics, and creativity. But being a proofreader, I must follow my workaday bible: the dictionary.

And not just any dusty dictionary off the shelf will do. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition online subscriber version only, please. Web’s, as we in the office call it (or, more affectionately, that stupid, ridiculous, nonsensical piece of junk) is the authoritative source in publishing for American English.

And unfortunately, American English is what we do. Even though my publisher is Canadian with proud Canadian roots, the majority of our products sell in the United States, so we edit our North American products to US-language standards.

Which means that, even after almost a year using Web’s, I am still stumped today by the dictionary’s choices. Words that make absolute sense to me I happily pass over when proofreading until someone else points out the “correct” spelling or word choice in Web’s. My Canadian and writer self shudders at Web’s choices such as these:

  • fund-raiser
  • breast-feed
  • taxicab
  • night table (preferred over nightstand)
  • ax
  • dived
  • sneaked
  • senor
  • good-bye
  • Internet

Webs Olive GreenJust for laughs, take a look at Web’s definition for olive green. Thanks for clearing that one up, Web’s.

It seems that every day at work Webster’s finds a new way to make me groan, laugh, or simply blink and stare. I know that Web’s is descriptive—it reflects how the language is used rather than how it should be used—but I cannot understand many of its choices. Fund-raiser is straight-up wrong, Internet is so 90s, and senor without the tilde looks like a typo of senior.

That is why when I write, I follow the Dictionary of Me. It largely conforms to the Oxford English Dictionary, which is closest to Canadian dialect, but my dictionary also accounts for my Canadian-style detours into American English, new and evolving terms, and my own tastes. Plus, it includes all the words I like to make up for my speculative fiction.

The Dictionary of Me is a writer’s best resource…and a proofreader’s worst enemy.

Are there any words in Web’s or Oxford that are spelled differently in your Dictionary of Me?

Thursday Boggle #147

Give it your best go and share your score and most epic word below!

Don’t know how to play? Find out here.
Boggle 147