Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Flavorful Words

I know I've mentioned George Holt's memoir, The Big House, before. I enjoyed the book thoroughly for the reasons I noted in that post. I knew I would read it again; it's that kind of good. (I have about a dozen books that are top-drawer and sturdy enough for many repetitions.) I wanted to revisit the Big House, and when we moved here to the ocean, I knew it was time.
This watercolor adorns the book's cover. Last time I read it, late in the book I wanted to discover exactly where the house was located. This time, I began my hunt earlier in the read, and used descriptive information in the text to help me pick out which house on Wing's Neck was the Atkinson house.
Here's a photo, lifted from the blog of one of the family. You can read the post here. I love the description of the family members. They sound fascinating!
But what I love about Colt's writing is his word choice (among other things). May I list a few of his excellent words? Some are downright obscure; others are just little-used. They're like a lovely spice in a delectable sauce, found in a new dish in an old restaurant I'd forgotten about. The instant it hits the tongue -- zing! What flavor! What richness! I want to enjoy it again and again. Colt gives us many such words:
pentimento
fossicking
stippled
rankles
soughing
querulous
soporific
dendriform
polemical
quixotic

I contemplated writing out definitions for you, but that's not necessary. Don't they sound delicious? So varied, so unique. This list comes from only 10 pages, early in the book. How many more fun, zippy mots justes will I enjoy? This anticipation makes opening his book each evening pure happiness.

I just looked up "pentimento." Now that's a fun word!

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Hello! I hope you leave a word ~ I will get back to it as soon as I can!