Saturday, March 07, 2009

I Gave An Atlas To A Friend

One of the regular guests on my radio show was looking through two of my dictionaries, the Merriam-Webster Biographical and Geographical. I have the newest editions in my room, the second-newest on the reference shelf in the studio and these were the oldest, from about 1974.

I asked if she wanted them and I got this look as if I were Santa Claus just come down the chimney. So now she has two valued reference books and I have passed on two outdated (for my purposes) books to someone who can use them. Both sides are happy. Her family is studious, on their own, and they will be put to use.

My grandfather impressed on me the value of a good dictionary and a good atlas. He did this by having one of both; actually, two of one: the Unabridged Merriam-Webster and the Collegiate desk dictionaries. The Rand-McNally atlas was the best at the time and I still have it, although I use the latest National Geographic.

He felt you should know where places are and not just “over there somewhere.” He also felt you should know what words mean, and where they came from, how we got them (sometimes more important than the meanings).

My guests now have the Oxford New Concise World Atlas. Rather inexpensive, but the reviews are good and it’s probably a great family atlas. They will know where people live, the size of countries. Use it well.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, now, I would suppose knowing the relative position of a particular place could have its important points. For instance, if you were to get in the car planning to drive to Podunk, it would be a good thing to know, relatively speaking, where Podunk is. On the other hand, is it always important to know where Laos is? My grandfather had a simplistic solution for great ponderances such as these. You were either here or you were there. If you made it to there, you found it. If you are here and want to go there, you should ask directions. If you are here but never want to go there - it's enough to know that there is there, somewhere.

March 09, 2009 2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like that!

March 10, 2009 8:18 AM  

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