Want Books: The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan


Want Books? is a weekly meme hosted at Chachic’s Book Nook and features released books that you want but you can’t have for some reason. It can be because it’s not available in your country, in your library or you don’t have the money for it right now.

It’s been a long time since I did a Want Books post because most of the books I want (particularly the 2011 releases I’ve been waiting for) were pre-ordered in my Kindle, so in some sense, I already have it. The other books were spur-of-the-moment buys, or at least planned buys after I didn’t buy books for all of Lent.

That, and I’m really trying to avoid buying too many books when I still have so much to read (don’t we all?).

So this book has been on my radar for a long time now, but I almost forgot about it until I saw it in Fully Booked‘s weekly e-zine. Which meant, the book is already available here.

The Lover's Dictionary by David LevithanThe Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

A sweet and touching modern love story, told through dictionary entries.

basis, n.
There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you’re in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself.

If the moment doesn’t pass, that’s it—you’re done. And if the moment does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it’s even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover’s face.

How does one talk about love? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary has constructed the story of his relationship as a dictionary. Through these short entries, he provides an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of being within a couple, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time.

I read the Kindle sample of this book and I was drawn in by how it was written. When I heard the story of how he wrote it from the Amazon.com exclusive Q&A, I was sold:

Two years ago, I hit February 1st and I hadn’t started writing my Valentine’s Day story. I had a few ideas, but none were kicking in. I sat down at my desk to thing something up, and right by an elbow was a book I’d recently recovered from my parents’ basement–a book of “words you need to know” that I’d been given as a gift (probably for my high school graduation). I thought it might be interesting to take random words from that book, in alphabetical order, and tell the story of a relationship through those words, in dictionary form. I didn’t plan any of it out–I let the words tell the story. And two weeks later, I had the story version of The Lover’s Dictionary.

How creative is that? This feels like just the kind of book I’d read. I also love the Lover’s Dictionary twitter, where the tweets aren’t really from the book but based from it. I think this is one book that is fit for people who love words. :)

It’s kind of a good thing I didn’t find a copy of this last night while perusing the shelves of Fully Booked. Heh. As much as I want this, I don’t think I’ll be able to read it immediately. Maybe someday…preferably during a sale. Or, I could just order it from Book Depository, since it’s cheaper there. :D