On Wednesday, Chris and I went over to the Free Library in Philly for a panel discussion in celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Oxford English Dictionary (nerds!) The panel featured Ammon Shea, whose book Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages, relates some interesting words he would while being the only person to read the OED from cover to cover. Shea had a lot of entertaining comments, and I wish he was given more opportunities to speak. Next was Jesse Sheidlower, author of The F Word and the only North American editor-at-large of the OED. He was very well-spoken and interesting. The final panel member was Barbara Wallraff, author of Word Court and Word Fugitives and a “professional dictionary user.” The only problem with the panel was the moderator and local children’s author, who seemed to think she was presenting to children. She wasted a lot of time with her slow-as-molasses readings of book excerpts and she didn’t seem to know the format for the evening. I wish the panel had taken it upon themselves to moderate the moderator.

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