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From: "Tony Woodward" <>
Subject: Re: [G] recommended reading
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2006 16:31:25 -0500
References: <457702F6.25022.ED447A@localhost>

Roy said:
> One that is absolutely invaluable is "The Dictionary of Genealogy" by
> Terrick V H FitzHugh. This has appeared in a number of editions, is in an
> A-Z format and is one of those books you can dip into at any page and
> learn something you didn't know.

I want to endorse that recommendation enthusiastically. This is a brilliant
book and I consult it constantly. Fitzhugh is absolutely essential,
brilliantly informative and also entertaining. Not because he is humorous
(you might even call him dry-as-dust if you weren't interested in the topic,
which of course we all are) but just because he is so effortlessly
knowledgeable and so good at imparting that knowledge in terms that everyone
can understand. The book is a dictionary, but it's one of those pernicious
dictionaries (and you must know the kind I mean) where once you've read one
entry you're drawn to another one, and then another one, and then another
one, and so on and so on - and once you pick it up you can't put it down and
before you know it half the day is gone! And this above all is the mark of
a really good dictionary, at least in my estimation.

There is only one other book that does this for me at present, and that's
Fowler's "English Usage". I keep them both in my downstairs bathroom for
(shall we say) "idle reading". And surely there can't be a better
recommendation than
to be enshrined in someone's bathroom, where all the best ideas in history
first saw the light of day! I know that nobody has ever admitted this but
come on - be honest - don't you agree that I'm telling the truth? That and
waking up in the morning too early to get up yet and lying there thinking -
these are the really creative moments in life. But then the trick is to
remember afterwards what it was you were thinking about - sigh! I
apologize, and I know that this is not a forum for pop philosophy but this
is the forum I happen to be subscribed to.

But back to my topic, and subscribers to the forum who have read my previous
postings must know by now how I love to digress (I tend to think sideways -
and I both hate it and love it), I have to give an honourable mention to
Colin Rogers's "The family tree detective", which almost makes it into this
illustrious company. He hasn't yet quite gravitated to my downstairs
bathroom, but who knows? He's on the verge of being accorded this accolade!
And I certainly do pick him up and take him there from time to time when
nature urgently calls!

Tony Woodward in Ottawa, Canada

GOONS #3049

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