The Professor and the Madman

The Professor & the Madman - Simon Winchester

I chose this book since so many of my friends highly recommended it, but to be honest I was a little hesitant. I couldn't figure out what could be so interesting about the compilation of a dictionary.

Simon Winchester, the author and also narrator of the audiobook, chooses just the right details. As you read or listen you drawn into the complexity involved in the Oxford English Dictionary 's making. You learn why it was needed, you learn how it differed from previous dictionaries, you learn about the tremendous effort that it entailed and finally you will be flabbergasted to hear about the most prodigious contributor! You read in the book description above that he was locked up in an insane asylum, but his life in that asylum will surprise you. This piques your interest in him and keeps you reading to find out more. You want to know everything about him because the story surrounding his life is so bizarre. And you want to know what his illness was, in modern day terms. At the end you find out. Winchester's writing teases you, entices you and he throws in extraneous tidbits about this contributor, the dictionary's editor and words. Yeah, the history of some words is terribly fascinating! A great reading experience. This author has made what could be a dry subject fascinating. And every bit of it is true.

The narration is clear and has a perfect tempo. Not many authors are as capable as Winchester in both writing and then reading their own book!