if you were wealthy enough to be able to buy anything you chose?
This thought came to me when, in yesterday's comments, Donna Hosie suggested throwing the Oxford dictionary at someone. It would take some throwing. I think there are now twenty main volumes and three supplementary volumes. The whole thing takes up rather a lot of shelf space too - well over a metre.
If someone ever buys me a winning lottery ticket then that is the one thing very self indulgent thing I would like to buy for myself. I do not want a car or a boat or fancy clothes or a lot of other things that people say they would like to have - but I would like the dictionary. The problem is that, even if I read a page everyday, it would take a very long time to read it all. I think I would have to be content with reading letters like j and q or x and z - and looking up other words in between. I know someone did read the entire thing and then wrote a book about his experience.
I am certain that there must be a lot of words in there that are almost never used. (They must be used sometimes I suppose or they would not be there.)
And then there are all the other books I would like to indulge in - like more dictionaries in esoteric languages and books to fill the gaps in my collection of children's books. Some of them, like the first Elinor Lyon, are out of print - but, darn it, that is the only one I do not own. There is a Mary Stewart I do not own (also out of print) and books by Paul Berna, Margot Benary and Lucy M Boston. There are the Katie Morag books and those by Ezra Jack Keats as well as some by Astrid Lindgren.
I mention this to my father and he agrees. We wonder where we would put all these books and the woodworking, conjuring and joke books he would like to induge in.
The OED comes in other ways of course. There is the version you read with a magnifying glass and the version that you can load on to a computer. Somehow they do not seem to be the same.
Perhaps, my father suggests, we should just settle for Dictionary of National Biography. It is a mere sixty volumes....but no, that comes as a computer download as well. I want to indulge in the real thing.