The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

21st November 2011

These are most of the best parts of The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan. My favorite part is his definition of contiguous; one of those moments when an author plucks something from your brain. It was a reminder that even most particular, private elements of human experience are ultimately universal. I’m not putting it here because I consider it a talent spoiler. Speaking of which, ephemeral is one to tuck away too.

The rest of it:

autonomy, n.
“I want my books to have their own shelves,” you said, and that’s how I knew it would be okay to live together.

belittle, v.
No, I don’t listen to the weather in the morning. No, I don’t keep track of what I spend. No, it hadn’t occurred to me that the Q train would have been much faster. But every time you give me that look, it doesn’t make me want to live up to your standards.

Breathtaking, adj.
Those mornings when we kiss and surrender for an hour before we say a single word.

exemplar, n.
You love my parents, I know. But you never get too close. You never truly believe there aren’t bad secrets underneath.

quintessence, n.
It’s the way you say thank you like you’re genuinely thankful. I have never met anyone else who does that on a regular basis.

recant, v.
…I want to take back the time I said you were a genius, because I was being sarcastic and I should have just said you’d hurt my feelings.

suffuse, v.
I don’t like it when you use my shampoo, because then your hair smells like me, not you.

taciturn, adj.
There are days you come home silent. You say words, but you’re still silent. I used to bomard you with convesational crowbars, but now I simply let the apartment fall mute. I hear you in the room — turning on music, typing on the keys, getting up for a drink, shifting in your chair. I try to have my conversation with those sounds.

My vocabulary notes:
peregrinations – travel from one place to another, especially on foot.
solipsistic- of or characterized by the theory that only the self exists, or can be proved to exist.

8 thoughts on “The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

  1. Karen

    I just finished this book, and thought it was just brilliant. I had checked it out from the library, but this one goes on the “to buy” list. Great for someone who loves playing around with language.

  2. kate

    Wow. This sounds amazing. It reminds me of a book I read a long time ago called the Poetical Dictionary by Lohren Green. The premise is sort of the same, only not driven by love. Oh, and the author also uses the entire page pretty fittingly, depending on the word. You gotta see it.

  3. Jen

    my favourite is celibacy, n: n/a. Simply lovely idea for a book; very engaging read and one i will re-read.

  4. Carahe

    Re: vocabulary notes – should not “peregrinations” be more focused on traveling by flying?

    I like my definitions not to stray too far from the etymology of the base word. Is that nitpicky?

    Love the autonomy quote though.

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