It’s getting to be that time again: shorter days, chillier nights, and merchants peddling pumpkin-flavored drinks on every corner. Can the thrill and exhaustion of holiday shopping be far away? No. This is America, friends, and we’re nothing if not prepared. So let me help you stay ahead of the curve and learn a few things in the process.
If you need a seasonal gift for the wordy Bacchus in your life, look no further. The Deadly Dictionaries, a collection of seven gorgeously bound and printed volumes, divvied up by sin, will educate your intemperate loved one even as he crosses into the ninth circle.
Does he sleep the morning away? Watch out, he might be a malingerer (“One who pretends to be sick or injured in order to avoid work,” from Sloth: A Dictionary for the Lazy). Does he covet thy neighbor’s Lexus? Then don’t borrow a quarter for the meter, lest he turn usurious (“Charging excessive interest on money loaned,” from Greed: A Dictionary for the Selfish). And with the rapid approach of Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to nosh, nibble, munch, gobble, gnaw, glut, gorge, and sop—but ideally without becoming corpulent (all from Gluttony: A Dictionary for the Indulgent).
Given the concept, these dictionaries could have turned out too dark or too kitschy, but they didn’t. They’re intelligent, funny, and beautifully designed, with appropriate quotes dotted throughout: “The proud man can learn humility, but he will be proud of it” (Mignon McLaughlin, from Pride: A Dictionary for the Vain). The recipient of this gift may be too busy admiring himself to notice the gesture, but if he does, I promise he’ll be impressed.
Plus, if you play your cards right, giving The Deadly Dictionaries may even lead to luxuria. Go ahead...look it up. Then treat yourself to a pumpkin latte for knocking an item off that list you made and checked twice.
Photos © Mia R. Lipman