By Patrick Michael Ryan
Reviewed by Megan Riddle
How are you? I’m fine. But am I really fine — satisfactory or in satisfactory condition? Fine has become a bland, pat reply, as standard as a handshake. What if, instead, we took a moment to examine the full spectrum of human emotion — and vocabulary — and considered how we really felt?
Maybe this morning you had a breakthrough at work and now you are illuminated (free from confusion or ambiguity; clear). Or perhaps the breakthrough makes you feel particularly judicious (having good judgment or common sense in practical matters). On the other hand, after a few beers and a friend’s sob story about a cute drowning puppy rescued in the nick of time, according to Facebook, you may find more maudlin (excessively sentimental, usually with drunkenness), while a true tragedy may result in feelings of melancholy (deep, thoughtful sadness). If fine is the beige of human emotions, Patrick Michael Ryan’s book, Dictionary of Emotions: Words for Feelings, Moods, and Emotions opens us up to the full color spectrum.