My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I’ve been aware of this author for a while, I have a number of his books on my shelves all of them packed full of words, their meanings and etymology.
The Cabinet of Calm is no exception, but it is also different for it is a collection of words to find solace in troubling times. Prescient then you might say, given that we’ve all been under some form of lockdown for a while and our futures have an amount of uncertainty in them. Given the lead in time for books though, that seems unlikely. (Although it is a question I did ask the author when we spoke (see below)).
As with all of this authors books, I come away having not just learnt new words, but also fascinated about their origins and some of the historical significance associated with them. In some cases wondering why they ever fell out of modern usage and why I’m reading about them for the first time. This is a book that you can read from cover to cover or pick up time and again and learn something new.
In The Cabinet of Calm there are words to soothe all manner of life’s stresses and tests, whether they be about your relationship, for grieving or just because you feel a little bit down or disappointed. There are words that you will never have heard of before, but may well find hard to forget. Whether they are words like Worldcraft – which is the knowledge you gain by living your life; or Zenobia – which derives from the third century and relates to impostor syndrome; this is book which will broaden your vocabulary and widen your knowledge of language and it’s origins. It will make you smile and chuckle and get a little slack-jawed with a “well I never”.
There are 51 words arranged in an A to Z but in each one there are even more words. Learn how storks feet relate to your pedigree (see the video below) and how you might term the different types of friend that you might have – jolly-dog, shop fellow, inkweaver – to name a few. There are words here that I will use again and again and the book is one that I will return to repeatedly. Everyone should have a copy of the Cabinet of Calm on their bookshelves, probably next to that dictionary and thesaurus you haven’t picked up for a while but will now be inspired to look at in a different way.
Bring The Cabinet of Calm into your lockdown world and have soul soothing home language lessons par excellence.
A Video Conference with Paul:
About the Author:
Paul has a Masters in Linguistics and is a language blogger from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. His obsession with words began with a child’s dictionary he received as a Christmas present when he was eight years old. As @HaggardHawks he has tweeted obscure words since 2013 and now has a social media following of over 75k, including the likes of JK Rowling, Robert Macfarlane, Susie Dent, Richard Osman, Greg Jenner, Ian McMillan, Rufus Sewell, Simon Mayo, Michael Rosen and Cerys Matthews.
HaggardHawks.com brings together the entire HH network including a blog, books, quizzes & games, the 500 Words YouTube series, Instagram gallery and newsletter. He regularly contributes to the media.
Cabinet of Calm – Soothing Words for Troubled Times:
Is published by Elliott & Thompson on 14th May 2020, at £12.99. Find your local independent bookshop by searching on the local bookshop finder.
The book has also been on a blog tour, and you can read other bloggers thoughts via the blog addresses below:
[Disclaimer: The publishers very kindly sent me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I have received no payment for this review, and the thoughts are my own.]