A Year in Books/Day 192: The Right Word II

  • Title: The Right Word II A Concise Thesaurus Based on the New American Heritage Dictionary
  • Staff: Houghton Mifflin Company Reference Division
  • Year Published: 1983 (Houghton Mifflin Company)
  • Year Purchased: 1980s
  • Source: My lovely mother
  • About: Concise is the key here. The Right Word II is the sparest thesaurus I’ve ever read. Although not meant or marketed as such, I think it is ideal for a bright child’s use: tiny, portable, informative and easy to navigate. I relied on it for countless elementary age writing projects. I was a budding playwright then, before switching to short stories and essays in middle school. During the genre shift, I upgraded to a thicker, wordier thesaurus. I still own both of them, and every other reference book I have ever used. Even though I have not consulted this one in years, there is so much nostalgia attached to it that I cannot throw or give it away. It reminds me of why I wanted to be a writer in the first place, so it will live forever on a shelf in my studio.
  • Motivation: I didn’t need this for school, as one might assume given my age. I’ve always loved reference books, and have been collecting them since I was 5.
  • Times Read: Unknown
  • Random Excerpt/Page vi: “Discriminated Synonymies. The foundation of The Right Word II is a block of synonym paragraphs in which the meaning shared by all the words is supplemented by additional material that discriminates the various shades of meaning for each word.”
  • Happiness Scale: 10 (as a child)

4 thoughts on “A Year in Books/Day 192: The Right Word II

    • It never let me down, and I used it for 2 years. I think it is important for students to have one or two good hard copy reference books, instead of relying solely on a computer.


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