THE CABINET OF CALM: SOOTHING WORDS FOR TROUBLED TIMES
Three years after opening The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities, Paul and the wonderful team at Elliott & Thompson Books brought The Cabinet of Calm to bookshops and bookshelves in May 2020.
The book explores 50 of the English language’s least familiar words, each of which are this time intended to provide a little solace, comfort, and reassurance in difficult times.
Each of the chapters is dedicated one of the toughest and most challenging times any of us can face: despair, sadness, loss and grief, homesickness and exhaustion are among the topics covered, alongside concern about the state of the world; how fractious and disunited the twenty-first century has proved to be; and how perilously balanced our planet and its environment currently are.
To each of these, however, is attached one of the dictionary’s more unusual words or phrases—which it is hoped can give us some much-needed reassurance, optimism, or pause for thought.
IN OTHER NEWS...
April 2020 | During the coronavirus lockdown, I was asked by the mid-morning team at BBC Newcastle if I would organise a phone-in word puzzle to keep everyone’s brain ticking over at home. The feature soon proved popular enough to become a weekly slot, and as of spring 2022 is still going strong. Catch each weekly brainteaser Thursdays at 11.40am during the brilliant Gilly Hope’s show.
BOOKSELLER: EDITOR’S CHOICE
February 2020 | My new book, The Cabinet of Calm, was this week’s Editor’s choice in The Bookseller magazine. Variously described as a “gifty and gorgeous compendium of beguiling words”, and “a warm bath of linguistic remedies” that you can “select to soothe the troubles that afflict you”. The book will be published in the UK in May.
NEW BOOK FOR 2020
July 2019 | The brilliant team over at E&T Books have commissioned a new language book for publication next spring. Partly inspired both by global and personal upheavals in recent months, the book will bring together a beautiful and inspiring collection of words to provide some calmative peace of mind in difficult times. It is scheduled for publication next May, to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week.
HEXHAM & GLASGOW BOOK FESTIVALS
April 2019 | In support of Around the World in 80 Words, I was invited to two book festivals this spring: the Aye Write! festival in Glasgow, and the Hexham Book Festival. At Glasgow, author Zoe Venditozzi hosted a Q&A that touched on language, place names, and politics, while regular interviewer Lisa Shaw of Radio Newcastle hosted a brilliant talk at the Queen’s Hall in Hexham. Personal thanks to all those who attended and organized both events—and to Zoe and Lisa for being such brilliant hosts.