It’s time for another ‘Words of the Week’ post!
I’m currently re-reading E.S. Thomson’s Beloved Poison, the first in her Jem Flockhart historical crime series. Set in the medical world of Victorian London, the series starts when apothecary Jem Flockhart makes a grisly discovery in the nearby chapel. I love the dark atmosphere that Thomson creates: there’s a sense that anything could happen in the shadowed alleyways of London and the chaotic corridors of the infirmary. I full recommend reading it if you love crime and/or historical novels.
The word that struck me most this week comes from this book:
“Mrs Speedicut’s observations were always perspicacious.”
The first thing I noticed was the sounds the word formed as I read. The start of the word is quite sharp, but it ends softly: in fact, that ‘cious’ sound always reminds me of Mary Poppins (“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”), a song I’ve had memorised since childhood.
I then realised that although I’ve come across that word a few times in my reading, I’ve never understood what I actually meant. I just had a vague idea that it related to being ‘direct’.
It actually means “perceptive”, “discerning” according to the Collins Dictionary, and “having a ready insight into and understanding of things” in the Oxford Dictionary.
It’s quite fitting that this word stood out to me this week, given what it means. I attended a ‘Get Into Publishing’ course in London between Tuesday and Friday, You need to be incredibly perceptive when working in the industry – aware of everything in the reading market and surrounding it so that you can bring books to readers more effectively. You also need to be quick to notice and resolve any issues that may come up in the publishing process. Even when in the application stage, as I am, you need this understanding so that you can show your enthusiasm and capability for your role.
So there we have it: a word I’ve learned more about through my reading.
Thanks so much for tuning in!
How has your week been? What have you been reading this week?
*E.S. Thomson’s Beloved Poison, and the entire Jem Flockhart series, is published by Constable, an inprint of Little, Brown Book Group.