Behind the scenes: epistles and pissers

People often wonder what happens in the back room of a library (and behind the scenes of other businesses for that matter.) This is just one example...

A patron asked me for books that were written in the form of letters. My mind went completely blank of titles, naturally, but I told the patron (because I know him from previous transactions) that the term for this kind of fiction is epistolary fiction, and that if he had a couple of minutes, I would bring some books and/or titles to him. He did, and I did.

Pretty soon my colleagues and I were in the back room, discovering the correct pronunciation of epistolary (epistle is pronounced i-pi-səl and epistolary, pronounced i-ˈpis-tə-ˌler-ē, keeps the "t" sound), discussing the etymology of the word epistle, listing words that share the root epi, and touting the benefits of studying Greek and Latin.

Because we kept saying "epistle" over and over, one of my colleagues started to wonder about the word "pisser" and piss clams (soft shell clams). That naturally led us to browsing the Urban Dictionary.

Yup. Bunch a nerds.

But do they have nerd in them? Or am I rubbing off on them?


Liz said...

My favorite epistolary fiction: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

My second favorite: A Woman of Independant Means

Kat said...

Hee hee. I did think of Guernsey when he asked about books told in letters, but he was looking for his daughter, and there are 217 people on the waiting list. (I am number 175).

I have a hard time reading epistolary fiction because I don't believe that people write letters that well. But, then I remember *my* favorite example ( 84 Charing Cross Road ) and I'm willing to give it another try.