Aarts, Bas & others. The Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar. 2d ed. Oxford Univ. 2014. 464p. bibliog. ISBN 9780199658237. pap. $19.95. REF
The most recent of the standard English grammar dictionaries (The Cambridge Dictionary of English Grammar, 2013; Penguin Dictionary of English, 2000) provides definitions and explanations, examples, quotes, and cross-references to more than 1,600 entries. In the material compiled by Aarts (Oxford Modern English Dictionary) and two editors of previous editions, Sylvia Chalker and Edmund Weiner, cross-references abound. Included is a list of references as well as one of useful web links from an encyclopedia of linguistics (Glottopedia) to EAW (English for Academic Writing) to Oxford’s Advanced American Dictionary Online. VERDICT Provides an in-depth explanation of grammatical terms for writers, those who teach writing and grammar, or who love words and their combinations. This is a world of information in an inexpensive package.
Bane, Theresa. Encyclopedia of Imaginary and Mythical Places. McFarland. 2014. 204p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780786478484. pap. $55; ebk. ISBN 9781476615653. REF
Unlike Alberto Manguel in Dictionary of Imaginary Places, professional vampirologist Bane (Encyclopedia of Vampire Mythology) eschews popular sources in this encyclopedia of imaginary and mythological lands, selecting perennial underworlds, otherworlds, and afterworlds (Avalon, Ophir, but not Hogwarts). Some actual places are included among the 800-plus entries, contrary to the author’s stated plan. There is much Norse and Celtic, but also East Asian, Hindu, Arabic, Oceanic, and other material. Entries are brief and cite sources. An extensive bibliography attests to the work’s range; there is a lengthy index and occasional pronunciation help. A preface and introduction add some personal reflections. Editorial failures are rampant, however. There is much redundancy and inconsistency; cross-references are spotty (e.g., “Camelot” does not cite the locations “Carlisle,” “Cardigan,” or “Logres”). Copy editing is abysmal: hundreds of errors (i.e., grammar, spelling, and mechanics), major and minor, sometimes inhibit meaning (e.g., “barely” for “barley”; “tome” for “tomb” and later for “home”; “Schildburg” for “Gotham”; “entrances” for “enchantress”; and many more). The numerous misplaced modifiers are ridiculous (e.g., “A road in Arthurian lore said to be haunted by devils, Sir Launcelot…”). VERDICT This intermittently fascinating compilation, potentially useful to scholars and writers, is undermined by its all-pervasive errors.
Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World: Genres; Caribbean and Latin America. Vol. 9. Bloomsbury. 2014. 984p. ed. by John Shepherd & David Horn. index. ISBN 9781441141972. $250; ebk. ISBN 9781441132253. REF
Notable editors Shepherd (music & sociology, Carleton Univ., Ottawa) and Horn (ret. director, Inst. of Popular Music, Univ. of Liverpool) collaborated on this latest volume of a well-respected popular music encyclopedia, as they have for many others in the set. The first volume in the series covers aspects of media, industry, and society; the second focuses on performance and production; and subsequent volumes concentrate on popular music genres in specific geographic regions. This ninth volume, covering the Caribbean and Latin America, features over 200 entries by popular music scholars on a wide range of genres. Entries include bibliographies, discographies, and discographical references as well as additional information on visual recordings, interviews, filmography, websites, and/or sheet music. The volume begins with maps, followed by an alphabetical listing of entries on genres, and ends with an extensive index. Genres relevant to more than one geographic area are listed separately by location. The articles provide considerable detail, and the bibliographies are extensive where appropriate. VERDICT Libraries that own the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music do not necessarily need this set; however, it does provide comprehensive articles and references on Caribbean and Latin American popular music genres that will be useful to music researchers in this field.
Dictionary of Zoology. 4th ed. Oxford Univ. 2014. 704p. ed. by Michael Allaby. illus. ISBN 9780199684274. pap. $21.95. REF
A revision of the 2009 third edition, this volume presents zoological terms in a standard A-to-Z format. Allaby, who also edited the previous edition, has added more definitions of anatomical terms, incorporated recent changes in animal taxonomy, and has added illustrations where the inclusion is in aid of a definition. The result is more than 200 new definitions alongside the entries about theories, vocabulary, and figures in the field that have carried over from the previous work. Appendixes include a list of endangered animals (as well as detailed information about classifications of endangerment), the universal genetic code, the geologic timescale, International System (SI) units, and taxonomic classifications. The dictionary is web-linked; linked definitions are indicated at the end of an entry, then users must visit the Oxford University Press website to access. (Only links from the third edition were also available at the time of writing this review.) Cross-references between entries are indicated by the use of an asterisk (terms) or italics (genus ranks) as well as “See Also” directions. Based on the terms that are not cross-referenced, the editor must assume a certain level of zoological knowledge among users of this dictionary. While the writing is technical and somewhat dense for the layperson, the usability of the book is self-evident and justifies the terse preface; it is an easy title through which to maneuver, both for readers who know what they are looking for and those who do not. VERDICT Because of the highly technical nature of the entries, this source will appeal more to students of zoology rather than to armchair naturalists.