I love words. I love lots of words. I love words that roll around in your mouth when you say them (squirrel, squish, lisianthus, isthmus, apocalypse). I love words that trigger specific memories (punch-cards, jazz, Christmas, Grandad). I have always had a good vocabulary and I think being an only child for so many of my formative years (I was six when my sister arrived) was a key contributor to that, as most of my interactions were with adults. Of course learning to read, and loving reading, means I am continually extending my vocabulary, and I try to look up the meaning of words I don’t know. [As an aside, this is one of the benefits of an e-reader; it makes it so easy to determine the meaning of an unfamiliar word with a click providing the definition. I never thought I’d ever be saying that there was anything better than a real book, but for learning new words… I have to admit that e-readers have this slight advantage.]
Apart from discoveries through reading, in my daily life I don’t often come across chances to learn a new word, so it was with delight that I realised the sign above Martin Bosley‘s table at the City Market yesterday contained a word I didn’t know.
Martin was persuaded to pose and highlight the word for my photograph. The word is tracklements (ha – the WordPress dictionary doesn’t think it is a word!). Martin told me it has a similar meaning to condiments, but covers a broader range. Here’s a link to the dictionary definition on wiktionary, and another on World Wide Words which provides more information on the origin of the word.
I work as a library assistant at the Greytown Library. We are lucky to be housed in the Town Centre, a recently-renovated heritage building where there is lots of light, an excellent heating system and a desk where library staff can serve the public while seated (a rarity in libraries).
One of the best aspects of the job is the discussions with customers about books. One of the reasons I thought the job would suit me was because it involves lots of people contact and lots of books. And the job does suit me very well. I had no preconceptions about other readers and how many of them would like to discuss the books they read and/or the books they wanted to read. In all my experience as a library customer – in the nine or ten different public libraries where I was “a regular” at various times – I had never been approached by a librarian with an offer of help, while I was browsing the shelves. However now that I am on the staff side of the equation, offering that help has led me to some of the most enjoyable conversations I have ever had.
Take today as an example. A young woman, in her early years at high school, asked me if I could recommend any books. Together we scanned the shelves of our Young Adult collection and I talked with her about the titles I had read, as she shared the ones she had read. The customer was currently working her way through Robert Muchamore’s Cherub series, after her brother recommended them to her. She had also read other series that I had not, and thought I might like the Pretty Little Liars books. We had both read the Twilight, and Tomorrow When the War Began series. I was happy to send her away with Garth Nix’s The Old Kingdom trilogy, the four Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants books by Ann Brashares, and the first of Kathy Reich’s YA books, Virals. We talked about dystopian novels and the enjoyment we had both had from The Hunger Games; we talked about the experiences to be garnered from reading – far more than we could ever fit into a lifetime; and we talked about the joy of reading a book that ‘sucks you in’ from the very first pages and how reading creates ‘a happy place’ for us to enjoy. It was a wonderful conversation and the highlight of my day.