Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Best. Book. Ever.

Serendipity: good luck in making unexpected and fortunate discoveries

(Word History: We are indebted to the English author Horace Walpole for the word serendipity, which he coined in one of the 3,000 or more letters on which his literary reputation primarily rests. In a letter of January 28, 1754, Walpole says that "this discovery, indeed, is almost of that kind which I call Serendipity, a very expressive word." Walpole formed the word on an old name for Sri Lanka, Serendip. He explained that this name was part of the title of "a silly fairy tale, called The Three Princes of Serendip: as their highnesses traveled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of....")

The plain people of Ireland: Sri Lanka. Isn't that what used to be called Ceylon?
The management: Indeed. Why do you ask?
The plain people of Ireland: We´ll let you in on a secret, but you have to promise not to tell.
The management: ¿?
The plain people of Ireland: The secret to the rich, distinctive flavour of Barry's tea is that they use tea-leaves exclusively harvested from Ceylon.
The management: I did not know that.

To continue. When I entered the VIPS store, it was only with the intention of buying a decent map of Madrid. Little did I know that my excursion would result in my stumbling across what can only be described as the



How can I begin to do justice to the awesome fabulosity of this book? Only - and I sure hope the good folks at Dorling Kindersley don't mind my appropriating two further images from the book, but this whole post is a cri de coeur for you to go out and buy your own copy, whether or not you have any interest in Spanish, so how could they - by showing you a few pictures.

know ur verduras

los estilos

Do you see my point? Gentle readers, this book will not just open up a whole new exciting treasure chest of Spanish vocabulary. It will also teach me things I could never have hoped to learn otherwise. Such as the difference between Swiss chard and bok choi. How to spot a French pleat at a hundred paces. The proper fatuous expression to assume in the unlikely event that baldness should strike.

Oh, the places we'll go. The things we'll learn. I am beside myself with excitement. Honestly.
This is simply the



Anonymous said...

Serendipity ~ great to know authorship for a word, thank you, Dg.

Speaking of which, today's Washington Post Style section profiles Michael Ondaatje, who describes his writing technique as serendipitous. He has an image, writes about it. Has another, writes about it. Pastes them together. Takes him two years to do the pasting. New novel Divisadero is named for a street he once lived on in San Francisco. He's originally from Sri Lanka/Ceylon.

My book group considered calling ourselves Serendipty but opted for Salonissima.

Can't wait to get my hands on this book, I really want a skirt w/ French pleats! No bok choy, however.


gaelstat said...

I'm not sure that skirts come with French pleats. Hairstyles? Yes. Clothing? No sé.