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THE CABINET OF CALM: SOOTHING WORDS FOR TROUBLED TIMES

May 2020

Three years after opening The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities, Paul and the wonderful team at Elliott & Thompson Books bring The Cabinet of Calm to bookshops and bookshelves in May 2020.  

The book brings together 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 here 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 one of these, however, is attached one of the dictionary’s more unusual words or phrases—each of which, it is hoped, can give us some much-needed aid, reassurance and optimism.

 

IN OTHER NEWS...
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. 

BYLINE TIMES & SMALL WORLD TURNING

March 2019 | Beginning this month, I’ll be contributing a regular Word of the Week piece to acclaimed news website Byline Times. The piece will be a weekly summation of the previous seven days’ political developments, centred around a typically obscure and long-forgotten word that—were it to be brought back into current use—would prove especially useful in the current climate. Also this month, acclaimed folk singer-songwriter Thea Gilmore releases her latest album Small World Turning—which features a subtle contribution from Haggard Hawks. Track 7 on the album, Grandam Gold, was inspired by a tweet Thea spotted over on the HH feed. 

RADIO 4’S SATURDAY LIVE

October 2018 | Publicity for Around the World in 80 Words continued this month, with an appearance on Radio 4’s popular morning show, Saturday Live. Hosted by Rev Richard Coles and Aasmah Mir, the talk focused on our collective love of language, the strangest etymologies the language has to offer, and what a tiny Czech town has to do with the currency of the United States of America. You can catch up with the show on the BBC website. 

YES OR BS

September 2018 | Finally, it has arrived... Something entirely new: the Yes or BS website launched in September 2018, with the first edition of the Yes or BS podcast going live just a few weeks later. With the most frequently-asked question over on the HH Twitter feed still being whether the words tweeted are genuine or not, an idea developed to somehow test the believability of seemingly factual information. Hence, Yes or BS—a brand new blog, game, and podcast in which all is not often as it seems. Is the story you’re reading or hearing true? It’s up to you to decide—from a space project started by Oliver Cromwell’s brother-in-law, to that time Clark Cable saved Lassie from a fire in his trailer. Head to yesorbs.com for more... 

THE CABINET OF LINGUISTIC CURIOSITIES: US EDITION

August 2018 | US readers—your long wait is (nearly) over... Following its publication in the UK and beyond in October 2017, a US edition of The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities will at long last be published via the University of Chicago Press in Fall 2019! Inspired by the Word of the Day tweets over on the @HaggardHawks Twitter feed, The Cabinet is a yearbook of 366 obscure and long-forgotten words, from quaaltagh and sheep’s-eye to transnivean and mamamouchi. Attached to each etymological tale is a tale from history that ties each word in with each date, making The Cabinet both a linguistic and historical fact book unlike any other. Head to the HH website here for more information, and a sample chapter

THE ALLUSIONIST & RADIO 4’S WORD OF MOUTH

February 2018 | Publicity for The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities and all things Haggard Hawks continued apace into the new year, beginning with a brilliant talk with Helen Zaltzman over on The Allusionist podcast on 26 January 2018. The talk covered everything from President Grant’s “grantist” nepotism to the history and origin of the not-so-presidential word “trump”. That was followed, on 20 February, with an appearance on Michael Rosen’s flagship Radio 4 language program Word of Mouth, talking about everything from resurrecting long-forgotten words to the history and origins of the word transpontine—and how it came to be a personal favourite... 

CBC & WORD OF MOUTH

December 2017 | Following the release of The Accidental Dictionary in the United States in October 2017, a raft of interviews followed with Quartz; The Huffington Post and HuffPost Books; WBZ Radio, in Boston, Massachusetts; and WATR’s Talk of the Town show with Steve Noxon. The release of The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities in Canada led to a series of high-profile interviews on CBC Radio, beginning with The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti on 5 December (with the full interview available on catch-up here), and followed by an appearance on CBC’s popular Maritime Noon show in Nova Scotia, talking and taking calls with Norma Lee MacLeod. 

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© Paul Anthony Jones 2020