Thoughts Of Summer Essay, Research Paper
Thoughts of summerPenguin’s new 150th birthday edition of Roget’s Thesaurus (£16.99, pp1296), edited by George Davidson, is a new revision of a book that’s sold more than 32 million copies since publication; it offers a fascinating snapshot of English at the dawn of the twenty-first century.But while it gives us uber-babes (Liz Hurley, Madonna, Kylie Minogue et al ), power-nap and Botox, it does not neglect to categorise the building blocks of everyday sentences – verbs nouns and adjectives.In this taxonomic paradise, dreamed up to entertain a virtuoso Victorian scientist in his retirement, we find that the magical concept of ‘the beach’ (that mythic place to which we all long to repair as the summer sun blazes into view) is reduced to four essential categories: edge n.; land vb.; shore n.; and arena n. Under ’shore’, you will find strand, sands, shingle, seashore, plage, lido, n etc – and that’s before you’ve even dipped a toe in the ocean.In other words, good old Dr Roget is still plying his trade, and even if Dr Davidson feels obliged by the iron law of language change to include carjacker, mockney and cybercourt, the prehistoric core of the English language is as molten with synonymy as ever. The new edition boasts more than 411,000 words and phrases from tegestologist (beermat collector) to biblioman.You probably wouldn’t take a thesaurus on a summer holiday, unless, of course, you were heading off to finish your novel, though such a volume might be just the answer to the angst-inducing experience of terminal three or (my bête noire) the M4 connection to the southbound section of the M5. But if not a thesaurus, or a nice fat dictionary, then what?Elsewhere in this section, we have invited celebrities to choose the book or books they plan to take away to the beach. It’s a special kind of book that works well on holiday. It should be substantial, but not too much so; it should be absorbing, but perhaps not too compelling; it should be.. well, what should it be? My all-time top 10 holiday reads (trailing memories and associations in the sea of the unconscious like seaweed) might go something like this:1. Márquez One Hundred Years of Solitude2. Tolstoy War and Peace (or Anna Karenina)3. Eliot Middlemarch4. Thackeray Vanity Fair5. Forster A Passage to India6. Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird7. Sterne Tristram Shandy8. Dickens Great Expectations9. Woolf Mrs Dalloway10.Conrad NostromoIn truth, I could write a holiday column about each one of these books and the exotic foreign circumstances in which I read them, and self-indulgently tedious it would be, too. There is, no doubt, rather more emphasis on the male-dominated classics than some readers might like and it includes nothing contemporary (too risky for anyone in this chair). But what can I say? That’s great books for you.Still, if you want escapism and entertain ment, but with a bias to the classics, my list would go something like this:1. Nabokov Lolita2. Greene Travels With My Aunt3. Waugh Scoop4. Woolf Orlando5. Austen Emma6. Wharton The House of Mirth7. EB White Charlotte’s Web8. Jerome Three Men in a Boat9. Vonnegut Slaughterhouse Five10. Penn Warren All the King’s MenThe inevitably American flavour (tang, sapor, smack) of that catalogue reminds me that many people will be taking some kind of American holiday, if not now, then in the next 12 months. There’s definitely a list of 10 holiday books to take to the USA. For instance:1. Tyler The Accidental Tourist2. Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby3. Kerouac On the Road4. Morrison Song of Solomon5. Roth American Pastoral6. Bellow Henderson the Rain King7. Faulkner The Sound and the Fury8. Chandler The Big Sleep9. Wolfe The Right Stuff10. Mailer The Executioner’s SongOK, I’ve missed out JD Salinger and Joseph Heller; also Mark Twain (Roughing It is one of the funniest books ever written, and ideal for Route 66) and Hemingway, to say nothing of John Updike, Dos Passos, Lorrie Moore and Nicholson Baker, all of whom would feature in many reader’s North American top 10 (past and present).Turn again to Mark Roget and you are transported to a time before airports, let alone airport fiction, a category that sneaks in to this edition. At the better class of airport, you should find some of those writers mentioned above, together with old stand-bys like Dostoevsky, the Trollopes, (Anthony and Joanna) and Thomas Hardy.