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Memoirs of Lexicographic and Retail Reflections

Reading The Oed by Ammon Shea

In the realm of non-fiction literature, there is a special breed of books that delve into niche topics, shedding light on the overlooked and underappreciated aspects of our daily lives. Ammon Shea’s “Reading The OED” and Becky Corwin Adams’ “Reminiscing About Retail” are two such works that offer readers a unique glimpse into seemingly mundane subjects. While Shea’s exploration of the Oxford English Dictionary and Adams’ nostalgic recollections of the retail world may seem worlds apart, they both share a common thread of unraveling the intricacies of everyday experiences. By examining these two books side by side, we can gain a deeper understanding of how seemingly ordinary subjects can hold extraordinary insights into the human experience.

Brief Summary of Two Books

Reading The Oed by Ammon Shea

“Reading the OED” by Ammon Shea is a humorous and engaging exploration of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Shea embarks on a personal challenge to read the entire OED in one year, delving into the history, cultural significance, and unusual words contained within the dictionary. Through witty anecdotes and reflective commentary, Shea provides insights into the evolution of the English language and the role of dictionaries in documenting its complexities.

As Shea immerses himself in the pages of the OED, he uncovers forgotten words, obsolete terms, and curious definitions that offer a glimpse into the rich tapestry of the English language. Along the way, he reflects on the challenges and rewards of his linguistic journey, sharing his passion for words and the joy of discovering rare gems hidden within the dictionary’s pages.

Through Shea’s humorous and irreverent writing style, “Reading the OED” offers a unique perspective on the power of language and the pleasures of exploration and discovery. It is a celebration of words and the enduring legacy of the OED, inviting readers to appreciate the beauty and complexity of the English language.

Reminiscing About Retail by Becky CorwinAdams

“Reminiscing About Retail” by Becky Corwin Adams is a nostalgic look back at the author’s experiences working in various retail jobs throughout her life. Through a series of humorous and heartfelt anecdotes, Adams reminisces about the challenges and rewards of working in the fast-paced world of retail. She shares insights into customer interactions, co-worker dynamics, and the many quirks of the industry. Ultimately, the book celebrates the resilience and humor required to thrive in the world of retail.

Comparison between Two Books

Reading The Oed by Ammon Shea

Similarities in Memoirs

Both “The OED” by Ammon Shea and “Reminiscing About Retail” by Becky CorwinAdams are memoirs that focus on specific experiences and interactions that the authors had in their respective fields.

One similarity between the two memoirs is the emphasis on personal anecdotes and stories. In “The OED,” Shea shares his journey of reading the entire Oxford English Dictionary, recounting humorous encounters with words and language along the way. Similarly, in “Reminiscing About Retail,” CorwinAdams reflects on her time working in various retail positions, sharing amusing and relatable stories about customers and coworkers.

Another similarity is the passion and expertise that both authors bring to their respective subjects. Shea’s deep love for words and language is evident throughout his memoir, as he delves into the history and intricacies of the English language. Likewise, CorwinAdams showcases her knowledge and experience in the retail industry, offering insights and observations that only someone with firsthand experience can provide.

Overall, both “The OED” and “Reminiscing About Retail” offer engaging and entertaining glimpses into the lives of the authors, while also shedding light on their respective interests and passions.

Divergences in Memoirs

Reading The Oed by Ammon Shea and Reminiscing About Retail by Becky CorwinAdams are both memoirs that delve into the personal experiences and reflections of their respective authors. Despite both books being memoirs, there is a clear divergence in the focus and subject matter of the two works.

Reading The Oed is a memoir that revolves around Shea’s unique and ambitious project of reading the entire Oxford English Dictionary, or the OED, from start to finish. He takes the reader on a journey through the ups and downs of this monumental task, sharing interesting facts, anecdotes, and observations along the way. The memoir is filled with insights into language, the quirks of words and their meanings, and the author’s personal reflections on the significance of dictionaries in our lives.

On the other hand, Reminiscing About Retail is a memoir that centers around Becky CorwinAdams’ experiences working in the retail industry. Through humorous and heartfelt anecdotes, the author explores the everyday challenges, triumphs, and quirks of working in retail. CorwinAdams shares stories of difficult customers, funny mishaps, and moments of camaraderie with her colleagues, offering a nostalgic and lighthearted look back at her time in the retail world.

The divergence in these memoirs lies in their focus and subject matter. While Reading The Oed explores the world of words, dictionaries, and the complexities of language, Reminiscing About Retail delves into the world of customer service, retail culture, and the day-to-day experiences of working in a store. Despite their differences, both books offer readers a glimpse into the unique and personal experiences of their authors, making them engaging and relatable reads in their own right.

Reading The Oed by Ammon Shea


It ultimately depends on the reader’s personal interests and preferences. “The Oed” by Ammon Shea is a book about the Oxford English Dictionary and the author’s experience reading the entire 20-volume dictionary. It may appeal to readers who enjoy language, linguistics, and history.

On the other hand, “Reminiscing About Retail” by Becky Corwin-Adams is a memoir about the author’s experiences working in the retail industry. It may appeal to readers who enjoy personal anecdotes, humor, and stories about everyday life.

Both books have their own unique appeal and it would be worth considering the reader’s interests before deciding which one to read.

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