The Cabinet of Calm - Paul Anthony Jones
I love learning new words, dialects, local phrases and their etymology and thus I was always going to love this book.
Although it has a title very reminiscent of the once popular 'little books of calm' (and who can forget how they were lampooned in the comedy Black Books) this book isn't full of inane platitudes and pseudo advice it is a book about words and how if you look hard enough there is a word or phrase for pretty much everything that happens in the world or the emotions events invoke.
In my Twitter biography I call myself a 'candle waster' which is an archaic (and derogatory) term meaning someone who stays up late reading, but through reading this book I found some wonderful new phrases to describe life.
Some of my favourites came in the entry for describing friends - different people mean different things and sometimes 'friend' isn't quite enough to encompass all they mean to you.
There are jolly-dogs (a friend who can always be relied on for a riotously good time, jamb-friends (a friend you can talk the night away with) and then at a time where things are so different there are angel-visits (visits or catchups with good friends that prove all too few and far between). The definition of this last category is expanded in several paragraphs but the idea is that you aren't sad that you can't see your friends but rather you should look forward to the times you will spend together in the future - you are reminding yourself how lucky you are to know them.
I read this book as an advance copy electronic proof which isn't the best way to enjoy the book. It is a volume to have sitting around and when you have a few minutes spare to open and read an entry at random. I know that the physical book will be on my Christmas list later in the year.
(ps don't be put off by the sub-title - this isn't a book rushed out because of the pandemic, the troubled times it refers to are general troubled times - like much the 21st century so far - and not a specific event!)
The Cabinet of Calm is published by the independent publishing company Elliot & Thompson (https://eandtbooks.com/) , and encouraged by the wonderful team behind Ninja Book Box (https://www.ninjabookbox.com/ ) I'm making a conscious effort to celebrate indie publishers by naming them in reviews, much as I always try to name the translator.