The very, very concise Oxford English Dictionary

Peter McCarthy, a former executive for Random House and Penguin, considers the differing cultures of the two houses, and weighs the potential pitfalls of the merger.

At The Wall Street Journal, Jami Attenberg—the author of a new novel in which a woman's obesity "is tearing her family apart"—writes about food in fiction, and wonders: “When does food become more than just the thing your character is putting in her mouth?”

Did a former editor of the Oxford English Dictionary secretly remove thousands of words with foreign origins and blame the omissions on previous editors? Yes, according to another former OED editor who recently published a book on the dictionary’s evolution, and noted that 17% of “loanwords” were deleted under the tenure of editor Robert Burchfield. "This is really shocking,” Sarah Ogilvie told the Guardian. “If a word gets into the OED, it never leaves. If it becomes obsolete, we put a dagger beside it, but it never leaves."

Have you been wondering what the most expensive books of the 2012 winter book season are? Publishers Weekly rounds up the top ten, with Lawrence Schiller’s book on Marilyn Monroe leading the pack. With a $2,000 price tag, the book costs twice as much as Taschen’s reissue of Norman Mailer and Bert Stern’s book on Marilyn (which Natasha Vargas-Cooper reviewed for us last year).

At Brain Pickings, Maria Popova compares Susan Sontag’s beliefs at 14 with her beliefs at 24.

Looking to ring in the holidays with some sexual tension and discomfort? Try the Fifty Shades of Gray board game.

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