The Book Thread 2021

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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#161  Postby UncertainSloth » Jun 26, 2021 6:18 pm

1. james brogden - the narrows - 8/10
2. nora roberts - of blood and bone - 8/10
3. nora roberts - the rise of magicks - 8/10
4. karen thompsn walker - the dreamers - 7/10
5. sophie draper - cuckoo - 7/10
6. laura carlin - the wicked cometh - 7/10
7. vikram palakar - the night theatre - 7/10
8. m r carey - the trials of koli - 9/10
9. bridget collins - the binding - 9/10
10. jac jemc - the grip of it - 7/10
11. carolyn jess-cooke - the boy who could see demons - 9/10
12. daisy johnson - everything under - 7/10
13. paraic o'donnell - house on vesper sands - 7/10
14. claire north - the gameshouse - 8/10 -
15. martin edwards - the coffin trail - 6/10
16. laird hunt - neverhome - 8/10
17. jesmyn ward - sing, unburied, sing - 8/10
18. edward parnell - ghostland: in search of a haunted country - 10/10
19. james brogden - the plague stones - 8/10
20. jonathan coe - the dwarves of death - 7/10
21. catherine burns - the visitors - 8/10
22. jonathan coe - the accidental woman - 6/10 - a coe novella, bleak and sprinkled with literary references and experimentation but, at the end of it all, a little inconsequential...he's one of those authors i know i'd like but i just haven't found the right book by him yet

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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#162  Postby Blip » Jun 27, 2021 7:17 am

1. The Calcutta Chromosome by Amitav Ghosh
2. The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro
3. Thrush Green by Miss Read
4. A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro
5. Winter in Thrush Green by Miss Read
The Shortest Day by Colm Tóibín
6. The Binding by Bridget Collins
7. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu translated by Ken Liu
8. The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu translated by Joel Martinsen
9. Death's End by Cixin Liu translated by Ken Liu
10. Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
11. The Ebony Tower by John Fowles
12. The Lost Estate (Le Grand Meaulnes) by Henri Alain-Fournier translated by Robin Buss
13. Strange Flowers by Donal Ryan
14. The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende
15. From a Low and Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan
16. Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende translated by Margaret Sayers Peden
17. Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
18. Front Page News by Sadie Gordon Richmond
19. The Split by Sharon Bolton
20. Outline by Rachel Cusk
21. Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell
22. The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota
23. Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor
24. The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey
25. The Satapur Moonstone by Sujata Massey
26. Battles at Thrush Green by Miss Read
27. China Room by Sunjeev Sahota
28. If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor
29. Still Life by Sarah Winman

An undemanding novel about friendship and romantic love, set mostly in Florence and London's East End between the Second World War and the 1970s. There's a large nod to E M Forster.

The text contains anachronisms and I found the end sections rather disjointed but there's much to enjoy, especially if you know anything of Florence.
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#163  Postby NamelessFaceless » Jun 29, 2021 8:40 pm

Audiobooks in Italics

1. Lying Next To Me - Gregg Olsen
2. I Can't Make This Up - Kevin Hart
3. Beloved - Toni Morrison
4. In Our Time - Ernest Hemingway
5. Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf
6. Hollywood - Charles Bukowski
7. The Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka
8. A Simple Favor - Darcey Bell
9. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
10. The Sorrows of Young Werther - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

11. The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Victor Hugo
12. Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Dafoe
13. Swann's Way - Marcel Proust
14. Fear of Flying - Erica Jong
15. The Wave - Todd Strasser
16. Kidnapped - Robert Louis Stevenson
17. This Side of Paradise - F. Scott Fitzgerald
18. The Piazza Tales - Herman Melville
19. Unspeakable Things - Jess Lourey
20. The Memoir of Thomas Jefferson - Thomas Jefferson
21. There is Confusion - Jessie Redmon Fauset
22. Mob Rule in New Orleans - Ida B. Wells-Barnett
23. The House Behind the Cedars - Charles W. Chesnutt
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#164  Postby don't get me started » Jul 06, 2021 1:08 am

1. Pragmatic Meaning and Cognition – Sophia S.A. Marmaridou
2. Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany and Japan - Randall Hansen
3. Cognitive Exploration of Language and Linguistics – René Dirven and Marjolijn Verspoor (Eds.)
4. Age of Static: How TV Explains Modern Britain – Phil Harrison
5. The Secret of Our Success: How Culture is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating our Species and Making us Smarter – Joseph Henrich
6. Heroic Failure and the British - Stephanie Barczewski
7. Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain - Maryanne Wolf
8. Language Soup: A Taste of How Diverse People Around the World Communicate - Kathryn A. T. Knox
9. A Place for everything: The curious History of Alphabetical order – Judith Flanders
10. Contrastive Analysis - Carl James
11. Impossible Languages- Andrea Moro
12. Languages in the World: How History, Culture and Politics Shape Language – Jukie tetel Andresen and Phillip M. Carter
13. HHhH - Laurent Binet (Translated from the French by Sam Taylor)
14. Impoliteness: Using Language to Cause Offense – Jonathan Culpeper
15. Ethosyntax: Explorations in Grammar and Culture – N. J. Enfield (Ed.)
16. Second Language Speech Fluency: From Research to Practice – Parvaneh Tavakoli & Clare Wright.
17. At Day's Close: Night in Times Past – A. Roger Ekirch
18. Language Shock: Understanding the Culture of Conversation – Michael Agar
19. Possessives in English: An Exploration in Cognitive Grammar - John R. Taylor
20. I saw the Dog: How Language Works – Alexandra Aikhenvald.

21. The German War: A Nation under Arms, 1939 – 1945 – Nicholas Stargardt

704.pp

A huge doorstop of a book which I found utterly riveting. The author draws on a wealth of documents from personal letters, diaries, secret police reports and so on to document what the experience of the Second World War was like for Germans who experienced it. The way that the Nazis presented their war as a struggle against a pitiless racial enemy who desired their destruction and had to be pre-empted is woven throughout the text. The propaganda and its reception by German soldiers and civilians is expertly detailed, from the true believers to the skeptical but cowed to the outright anti-Nazis. It is a fascinating insight into the way that lies and delusions can take hold and fester.

One of the surprising things is the extent to which the German populace were aware of the genocide occurring in real time. Reports, pictures, letters, and the conversation of soldiers on leave all were explicit that mass murder of Jews was taking place – especially during the opening stages of the invasion of Russia. The Nazi propaganda machine was skillful in charting a course between denying or confirming what was going on. As Stargardt notes, in the chapter ‘The shared secret’, this had the effect of making the populace at large co-conspirators. When the allied air offensive started to wreak havoc on the populace of Germany, it was voiced publicly and repeatedly by German civilians that this was punishment for what they had done to the Jews. In effect, the Nazi condemnations of the ‘Anglo-American Jewish Terrorfliers’ unintentionally made the connection between what had been done to the Jews (The Germans accepted the extermination of the Jews as a fait accompli), and what was being done to the Germans.

Apart from the grand themes of crime, guilt, moral responsibility and so on there is also a wealth of tiny details that really bring the narrative to life. There is the incredible story of a Wehrmacht NCO who was in the frontline fighting before Moscow in the terrible winter of 1941. During the confusion of battle, he buried his rifle in a snowdrift, set off West and by a variety of means made it all the way to the Swiss frontier. Ten days after walking out of the front line at Alexandrovka, he crossed the border and presented himself to the Swiss authorities. He explained his motives to the Swiss military officers who interrogated him with a laconic brevity worthy of the good soldier Schweik: ‘It just seemed too stupid to me.’
[in 2001] ‘he had nothing to add to the explanation he had given the Swiss military for his desertion fifty-nine years before, telling the young German historian who came to interview him in almost identical terms: ‘I didn’t fancy it any more.’ (p.212.) What an epic anecdote!

There are also examples of the black humor that Germans resorted to as the end became nigh. ‘When will the war be over?’ ‘When Göring can fit into Goebbels trousers!’

A very readable and important book which deserves to be as well known and Beevor’s ‘Stalingrad’. The author has done a fine job of describing the war as experienced by the Germans and does not shy away from revealing the complicity of the general populace in the crimes of the Nazis and the self-serving narratives that they bought into to justify what was happening. A chilling warning of exactly how perpetrators promote a victim narrative, how official lies spread and corrupt, and how amoral clowns and chancers can drag others along on the road to ruin. A theme not entirely irrelevant to our modern age.

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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#165  Postby NamelessFaceless » Jul 07, 2021 7:58 pm

Audiobooks in Italics

1. Lying Next To Me - Gregg Olsen
2. I Can't Make This Up - Kevin Hart
3. Beloved - Toni Morrison
4. In Our Time - Ernest Hemingway
5. Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf
6. Hollywood - Charles Bukowski
7. The Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka
8. A Simple Favor - Darcey Bell
9. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
10. The Sorrows of Young Werther - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

11. The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Victor Hugo
12. Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Dafoe
13. Swann's Way - Marcel Proust
14. Fear of Flying - Erica Jong
15. The Wave - Todd Strasser
16. Kidnapped - Robert Louis Stevenson
17. This Side of Paradise - F. Scott Fitzgerald
18. The Piazza Tales - Herman Melville
19. Unspeakable Things - Jess Lourey
20. The Memoir of Thomas Jefferson - Thomas Jefferson
21. There is Confusion - Jessie Redmon Fauset
22. Mob Rule in New Orleans - Ida B. Wells-Barnett
23. The House Behind the Cedars - Charles W. Chesnutt

24. All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#166  Postby Blip » Jul 09, 2021 7:38 am

1. The Calcutta Chromosome by Amitav Ghosh
2. The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro
3. Thrush Green by Miss Read
4. A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro
5. Winter in Thrush Green by Miss Read
The Shortest Day by Colm Tóibín
6. The Binding by Bridget Collins
7. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu translated by Ken Liu
8. The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu translated by Joel Martinsen
9. Death's End by Cixin Liu translated by Ken Liu
10. Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
11. The Ebony Tower by John Fowles
12. The Lost Estate (Le Grand Meaulnes) by Henri Alain-Fournier translated by Robin Buss
13. Strange Flowers by Donal Ryan
14. The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende
15. From a Low and Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan
16. Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende translated by Margaret Sayers Peden
17. Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
18. Front Page News by Sadie Gordon Richmond
19. The Split by Sharon Bolton
20. Outline by Rachel Cusk
21. Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell
22. The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota
23. Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor
24. The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey
25. The Satapur Moonstone by Sujata Massey
26. Battles at Thrush Green by Miss Read
27. China Room by Sunjeev Sahota
28. If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor
29. Still Life by Sarah Winman
30. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

Acclaimed account of life for India's underclass in the age of globalisation. Not an easy read, despite a good dollop of humour, but well-written and compelling. It wouldn't have taken me so long to read, but I've also been watching Wimbledon.
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#167  Postby don't get me started » Jul 12, 2021 2:35 am

1. Pragmatic Meaning and Cognition – Sophia S.A. Marmaridou
2. Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany and Japan - Randall Hansen
3. Cognitive Exploration of Language and Linguistics – René Dirven and Marjolijn Verspoor (Eds.)
4. Age of Static: How TV Explains Modern Britain – Phil Harrison
5. The Secret of Our Success: How Culture is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating our Species and Making us Smarter – Joseph Henrich
6. Heroic Failure and the British - Stephanie Barczewski
7. Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain - Maryanne Wolf
8. Language Soup: A Taste of How Diverse People Around the World Communicate - Kathryn A. T. Knox
9. A Place for everything: The curious History of Alphabetical order – Judith Flanders
10. Contrastive Analysis - Carl James
11. Impossible Languages- Andrea Moro
12. Languages in the World: How History, Culture and Politics Shape Language – Jukie tetel Andresen and Phillip M. Carter
13. HHhH - Laurent Binet (Translated from the French by Sam Taylor)
14. Impoliteness: Using Language to Cause Offense – Jonathan Culpeper
15. Ethosyntax: Explorations in Grammar and Culture – N. J. Enfield (Ed.)
16. Second Language Speech Fluency: From Research to Practice – Parvaneh Tavakoli & Clare Wright.
17. At Day's Close: Night in Times Past – A. Roger Ekirch
18. Language Shock: Understanding the Culture of Conversation – Michael Agar
19. Possessives in English: An Exploration in Cognitive Grammar - John R. Taylor
20. I saw the Dog: How Language Works – Alexandra Aikhenvald.
21. The German War: A Nation under Arms, 1939 – 1945 – Nicholas Stargardt

22. Civilizations – Laurent Binet

310. pp.

I really enjoyed the other book by this author (no. 13 on the list above) and was looking forward to reading this alternative history. In this timeline some exiled Vikings make their way as far south as Panama in the 10th century. The upshot of this is that the American populations are exposed to old world diseases and to iron making techniques along with the introduction of the horse and other old-world livestock. Columbus reaches the Caribbean but is unable to make any headway against the local populations and he dies there, his mission a failure. Retro-engineering the naval technology of this failed mission the Incas sail to Europe and, taking advantage of the chaos of the warring kingdoms and religious strife manage to take over some great European powers with a surprisingly small number of men….

It was all very interesting and offers a wry insight into the ‘success’ of the conquistadors and other Europeans in the real history.

The tale rambled a bit and lacked focus, which made the last third kind of a chore to read. The hypocrisy, vileness and fantastical, preposterous nature of medieval Christian belief is described from the point of view of an outsider… Atahualpa is not very impressed by the religion of the (to him) New World!

The book was okay I suppose. Not nearly as good as HHhH. A better alternative history, in my view would be ‘The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson.


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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#168  Postby don't get me started » Jul 14, 2021 1:00 am

1. Pragmatic Meaning and Cognition – Sophia S.A. Marmaridou
2. Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany and Japan - Randall Hansen
3. Cognitive Exploration of Language and Linguistics – René Dirven and Marjolijn Verspoor (Eds.)
4. Age of Static: How TV Explains Modern Britain – Phil Harrison
5. The Secret of Our Success: How Culture is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating our Species and Making us Smarter – Joseph Henrich
6. Heroic Failure and the British - Stephanie Barczewski
7. Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain - Maryanne Wolf
8. Language Soup: A Taste of How Diverse People Around the World Communicate - Kathryn A. T. Knox
9. A Place for everything: The curious History of Alphabetical order – Judith Flanders
10. Contrastive Analysis - Carl James
11. Impossible Languages- Andrea Moro
12. Languages in the World: How History, Culture and Politics Shape Language – Jukie tetel Andresen and Phillip M. Carter
13. HHhH - Laurent Binet (Translated from the French by Sam Taylor)
14. Impoliteness: Using Language to Cause Offense – Jonathan Culpeper
15. Ethosyntax: Explorations in Grammar and Culture – N. J. Enfield (Ed.)
16. Second Language Speech Fluency: From Research to Practice – Parvaneh Tavakoli & Clare Wright.
17. At Day's Close: Night in Times Past – A. Roger Ekirch
18. Language Shock: Understanding the Culture of Conversation – Michael Agar
19. Possessives in English: An Exploration in Cognitive Grammar - John R. Taylor
20. I saw the Dog: How Language Works – Alexandra Aikhenvald.
21. The German War: A Nation under Arms, 1939 – 1945 – Nicholas Stargardt
22. Civilizations – Laurent Binet

23. Adjective Classes: A Cross-linguistic Typology - R. M. W. Dixon & A. Aikhenvald (Eds.)

370 pp.

I’ve been picking away at this for a while now, reading a chapter here and a chapter there. Challenging stuff, but really interesting. From the point of view of traditional language learning, the classes of words, especially nouns, verbs and adjectives seem to be fairly discrete and self-evident. But it turns out that clear cut distinctions are not always so easy to make - especially in the case of adjectives. In this book each chapter is dedicated to the adjective system, of a particular language. There are chapters on some ‘big’ languages like Japanese, Korean, Wolof and Russian, and also chapters on less-well know languages such at Tariana, Papantla Totonac, North-East Ambae and so on. (Amazonia, Mexico, Vanuatu respectively.)

There is a wealth of detail about how some languages have a very restricted set of adjectives – this seems hard to get to grips with, but an example from Japanese will suffice. English has two adjectives that differentiate between animate and inanimate – young and new. For the opposites English doesn’t differentiate and uses the same adjective for both – old. (An old man and an old book.) Japanese likewise differentiates between inanimates for the lower value (atarashii- new, wakai- young), but for the opposites there is only an adjective for inanimates – furui (furui hon = old book.) For animates there is no adjective for ‘old’. Instead, you describe a person of advanced years as ‘take years’. (Toshii yori) saying something like ‘There was a take years woman who lived in a shoe.’ (Japanese also has words (adjectives?) that differentiate ‘hot’ from ‘hot to the touch’ and ‘cold’ and cold to the touch.) The whole crossover between English and Japanese adjectives is a fascinating area.

It was interesting to read about all of the different systems that exist for expressing concepts that English would deploy an adjective for and all of the bells and whistles that go into making the concepts expressible within the grammar of a language.

One of the underlying themes of the book was that adjectives sometimes drift verb-wards and take a lot of the grammar and morphology that verbs also use. In the Senegalese language Wolof, verbs and adjectives are only marginally distinguishable by applying very subtle analytical criteria. Adjectives behave like verbs in a way that is kind of alien to English. “The door is white” comes out as something like ‘The door whites.’ In Wolof. (A crude comparison, but it gets the point across.)

The chapter on Russian brought me out in cold sweats as I remembered my attempts to get to grips with the grammar of that language. It is really heavily inflected, and it seems like to have to do multiple things to every word in a sentence to get it to be grammatical. Knowing a word in its dictionary form is only ever the starting point in Russian.

A very interesting and thought-provoking book. Many a post it placed for future reference.

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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#169  Postby NamelessFaceless » Jul 18, 2021 3:17 am

Audiobooks in Italics

1. Lying Next To Me - Gregg Olsen
2. I Can't Make This Up - Kevin Hart
3. Beloved - Toni Morrison
4. In Our Time - Ernest Hemingway
5. Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf
6. Hollywood - Charles Bukowski
7. The Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka
8. A Simple Favor - Darcey Bell
9. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
10. The Sorrows of Young Werther - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

11. The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Victor Hugo
12. Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Dafoe
13. Swann's Way - Marcel Proust
14. Fear of Flying - Erica Jong
15. The Wave - Todd Strasser
16. Kidnapped - Robert Louis Stevenson
17. This Side of Paradise - F. Scott Fitzgerald
18. The Piazza Tales - Herman Melville
19. Unspeakable Things - Jess Lourey
20. The Memoir of Thomas Jefferson - Thomas Jefferson
21. There is Confusion - Jessie Redmon Fauset
22. Mob Rule in New Orleans - Ida B. Wells-Barnett
23. The House Behind the Cedars - Charles W. Chesnutt

24. All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren
25. Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing - Allison Winn Scotch
26. The Conjure Woman - Charles W. Chesnutt
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#170  Postby Blip » Jul 18, 2021 7:38 am

1. The Calcutta Chromosome by Amitav Ghosh
2. The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro
3. Thrush Green by Miss Read
4. A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro
5. Winter in Thrush Green by Miss Read
The Shortest Day by Colm Tóibín
6. The Binding by Bridget Collins
7. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu translated by Ken Liu
8. The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu translated by Joel Martinsen
9. Death's End by Cixin Liu translated by Ken Liu
10. Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
11. The Ebony Tower by John Fowles
12. The Lost Estate (Le Grand Meaulnes) by Henri Alain-Fournier translated by Robin Buss
13. Strange Flowers by Donal Ryan
14. The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende
15. From a Low and Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan
16. Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende translated by Margaret Sayers Peden
17. Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
18. Front Page News by Sadie Gordon Richmond
19. The Split by Sharon Bolton
20. Outline by Rachel Cusk
21. Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell
22. The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota
23. Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor
24. The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey
25. The Satapur Moonstone by Sujata Massey
26. Battles at Thrush Green by Miss Read
27. China Room by Sunjeev Sahota
28. If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor
29. Still Life by Sarah Winman
30. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
31. Elmet by Fiona Mozley

Yorkshire noir tale featuring an unconventional family living on the edge of society. The landscape and its history play a major role in this remarkable novel. Highly recommended.
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#171  Postby UncertainSloth » Jul 18, 2021 8:41 am

i'd forgotten about that - pretty sure i've got it somewhere from a booker shortlist bundle - thanks for the rec
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#172  Postby Blip » Jul 19, 2021 7:34 am

UncertainSloth wrote:i'd forgotten about that - pretty sure i've got it somewhere from a booker shortlist bundle - thanks for the rec


I think you'll enjoy it: I meant to recommend it to you specifically when I posted the listing but I was multi-tasking unsuccessfully :lol: .
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#173  Postby don't get me started » Jul 24, 2021 2:47 am

1. Pragmatic Meaning and Cognition – Sophia S.A. Marmaridou
2. Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany and Japan - Randall Hansen
3. Cognitive Exploration of Language and Linguistics – René Dirven and Marjolijn Verspoor (Eds.)
4. Age of Static: How TV Explains Modern Britain – Phil Harrison
5. The Secret of Our Success: How Culture is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating our Species and Making us Smarter – Joseph Henrich
6. Heroic Failure and the British - Stephanie Barczewski
7. Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain - Maryanne Wolf
8. Language Soup: A Taste of How Diverse People Around the World Communicate - Kathryn A. T. Knox
9. A Place for everything: The curious History of Alphabetical order – Judith Flanders
10. Contrastive Analysis - Carl James
11. Impossible Languages- Andrea Moro
12. Languages in the World: How History, Culture and Politics Shape Language – Jukie tetel Andresen and Phillip M. Carter
13. HHhH - Laurent Binet (Translated from the French by Sam Taylor)
14. Impoliteness: Using Language to Cause Offense – Jonathan Culpeper
15. Ethosyntax: Explorations in Grammar and Culture – N. J. Enfield (Ed.)
16. Second Language Speech Fluency: From Research to Practice – Parvaneh Tavakoli & Clare Wright.
17. At Day's Close: Night in Times Past – A. Roger Ekirch
18. Language Shock: Understanding the Culture of Conversation – Michael Agar
19. Possessives in English: An Exploration in Cognitive Grammar - John R. Taylor
20. I saw the Dog: How Language Works – Alexandra Aikhenvald.
21. The German War: A Nation under Arms, 1939 – 1945 – Nicholas Stargardt
22. Civilizations – Laurent Binet
23. Adjective Classes: A Cross-linguistic Typology - R. M. W. Dixon & A. Aikhenvald (Eds.)

24. Linguistic Diversity in Space and Time – Johanna Nichols

358 pp.


A very technical and in-depth look at the ways that languages are distributed around the world and what the distribution tells us about the nature of language and languages.

The comparative method, which has yielded such good results with Indo-European can reach a time depth of about 7,000 years, but Nichols delves into other ways of looking at languages that give other insights.

‘It has often been pointed out that linguistic theory has been disproportionately affected by the structure of Indo-European languages spoken and studied by theoreticians […] on the assumption that the history of Indo-European was the paradigm example of linguistic history, there has been a strong tendency to approach all historical problems as problems in the structure and description of family trees, as well as a tendency to assume that the great majority of languages in any continent naturally go back to a single ancestor, just as the great majority of languages in western Eurasia do.” (p.280).

The author notes that there are certain cluster areas where great linguistic diversity exists- places like the Caucasus and New Guinea. It is not just the number of actual languages, but the number of language families that exist that is astonishing. The northern coast of the Mediterranean has just two language families- Indo-European and Turkic. A comparable stretch of Pacific North America or Papua New Guinea reveals a much wider range of language families- languages as different as Basque, Finnish, Russian, Hebrew all being spoken in a very small geographic area.

There was lots of focus on some pretty abstract linguistic concepts here- things like Head versus Dependent marking, ergativity, Inclusive/Exclusive pronouns, alienable and inalienable possession. Some of the technical stuff was a bit over my head, but there was also a lot of nice data. For example, English doesn’t really make a distinction between ‘my father’ and ‘my car’. Both are expressed with the same possession marker (John’s father, John’s car.) But many languages (especially in the Pacific and in North America have to show a distinction. One does not have a choice of having or not having a father, but one does have a choice in having a car. In Navaho there are three ways to say ‘Her milk’, differentiating between inalienable (Her breast milk.), Unspecified (someone/something’s milk), and alienable milk. – Her milk (that she bought in a store.) (pp. 120-121). It serves to remind us that when you step away from the familiar territory of your language and language family, you often come across things that are VERY different.

It is these radically different language systems that can inform us of all kinds of things about history and language spread.
Altogether a challenging but fascinating read. I can’t claim to have understood everything, but that’s kind of the point of choosing challenging books, right?

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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#174  Postby Blip » Jul 28, 2021 7:06 am

1. The Calcutta Chromosome by Amitav Ghosh
2. The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro
3. Thrush Green by Miss Read
4. A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro
5. Winter in Thrush Green by Miss Read
The Shortest Day by Colm Tóibín
6. The Binding by Bridget Collins
7. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu translated by Ken Liu
8. The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu translated by Joel Martinsen
9. Death's End by Cixin Liu translated by Ken Liu
10. Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
11. The Ebony Tower by John Fowles
12. The Lost Estate (Le Grand Meaulnes) by Henri Alain-Fournier translated by Robin Buss
13. Strange Flowers by Donal Ryan
14. The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende
15. From a Low and Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan
16. Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende translated by Margaret Sayers Peden
17. Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
18. Front Page News by Sadie Gordon Richmond
19. The Split by Sharon Bolton
20. Outline by Rachel Cusk
21. Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell
22. The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota
23. Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor
24. The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey
25. The Satapur Moonstone by Sujata Massey
26. Battles at Thrush Green by Miss Read
27. China Room by Sunjeev Sahota
28. If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor
29. Still Life by Sarah Winman
30. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
31. Elmet by Fiona Mozley
32. Bosworth: the birth of the Tudors by Chris Skidmore

Having finished my previous book late in the evening, I found this on our Kindle library from an Oxford ContEd course my OH had done. We've taken four such courses each now - art history and physics for me; philosophy, history and current affairs for him - and cannot recommend them too highly.

As for the book, it concerns events just before the period of history that I studied for A level, so had the feeling of a prequel. I learned some new things, so worth my while, and yours too if this era interests you.
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#175  Postby UncertainSloth » Jul 29, 2021 11:38 pm

1. james brogden - the narrows - 8/10
2. nora roberts - of blood and bone - 8/10
3. nora roberts - the rise of magicks - 8/10
4. karen thompsn walker - the dreamers - 7/10
5. sophie draper - cuckoo - 7/10
6. laura carlin - the wicked cometh - 7/10
7. vikram palakar - the night theatre - 7/10
8. m r carey - the trials of koli - 9/10
9. bridget collins - the binding - 9/10
10. jac jemc - the grip of it - 7/10
11. carolyn jess-cooke - the boy who could see demons - 9/10
12. daisy johnson - everything under - 7/10
13. paraic o'donnell - house on vesper sands - 7/10
14. claire north - the gameshouse - 8/10 -
15. martin edwards - the coffin trail - 6/10
16. laird hunt - neverhome - 8/10
17. jesmyn ward - sing, unburied, sing - 8/10
18. edward parnell - ghostland: in search of a haunted country - 10/10
19. james brogden - the plague stones - 8/10
20. jonathan coe - the dwarves of death - 7/10
21. catherine burns - the visitors - 8/10
22. jonathan coe - the accidental woman - 6/10
23. gemma files - we will all go down together - 10/10 - came totally out of left field as i was expecting a more straightforward 'genre' book- intelligent, clever, well-written and engrossing...not an easy read either, hence taking nearly a month...best book so far this year

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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#176  Postby don't get me started » Aug 06, 2021 4:52 am

1. Pragmatic Meaning and Cognition – Sophia S.A. Marmaridou
2. Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany and Japan - Randall Hansen
3. Cognitive Exploration of Language and Linguistics – René Dirven and Marjolijn Verspoor (Eds.)
4. Age of Static: How TV Explains Modern Britain – Phil Harrison
5. The Secret of Our Success: How Culture is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating our Species and Making us Smarter – Joseph Henrich
6. Heroic Failure and the British - Stephanie Barczewski
7. Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain - Maryanne Wolf
8. Language Soup: A Taste of How Diverse People Around the World Communicate - Kathryn A. T. Knox
9. A Place for everything: The curious History of Alphabetical order – Judith Flanders
10. Contrastive Analysis - Carl James
11. Impossible Languages- Andrea Moro
12. Languages in the World: How History, Culture and Politics Shape Language – Jukie tetel Andresen and Phillip M. Carter
13. HHhH - Laurent Binet (Translated from the French by Sam Taylor)
14. Impoliteness: Using Language to Cause Offense – Jonathan Culpeper
15. Ethosyntax: Explorations in Grammar and Culture – N. J. Enfield (Ed.)
16. Second Language Speech Fluency: From Research to Practice – Parvaneh Tavakoli & Clare Wright.
17. At Day's Close: Night in Times Past – A. Roger Ekirch
18. Language Shock: Understanding the Culture of Conversation – Michael Agar
19. Possessives in English: An Exploration in Cognitive Grammar - John R. Taylor
20. I saw the Dog: How Language Works – Alexandra Aikhenvald.
21. The German War: A Nation under Arms, 1939 – 1945 – Nicholas Stargardt
22. Civilizations – Laurent Binet
23. Adjective Classes: A Cross-linguistic Typology - R. M. W. Dixon & A. Aikhenvald (Eds.)
24. Linguistic Diversity in Space and Time – Johanna Nichols

25. How to behave badly in Elizabethan England - Ruth Goodman

313 pp.

Was just browsing in the (somewhat limited) English section of a bookshop downtown and came across this. Thought it looked like a worthwhile read and I was right. The author takes us into the world of the Elizabethans and examines the social mores and customs that people adhered to in everyday life in those days. The world she describes is both oddly familiar and utterly strange. One of the biggest differences was the way that people oriented to a strict social hierarchy and woe betide anyone who transgressed their station or failed to show due respect to their social superiors. People were so touchy about the rituals of courtesy and politeness. Fights could break out and blows be exchanged over minor breeches of etiquette.

Goodman covers a whole range of other points…the etiquette for eating and drinking, rude gestures, and offensive speech. Also touched on is the rules surrounding drinking and drunkenness. Some of the shenanigans by young chaps out on the town would be familiar to anyone who has ever enjoyed a Friday night out on the swally in modern British towns and cities.
There is also an interesting section on the uptake of smoking tobacco during this period. Even from the outset smoking was a fiercely divisive issue with adherents clustering in coffee shops and taverns to fog the air and the anti-tobacco side fulminating loudly against this ‘filthie and noisome habit.’ It is interesting to note that the churches never had any truck with smoking and banned it right from the outset.

In comparing modern and Elizabethan sensibilities, Goodman notes that our states of undress and exposure of skin would be scandalous to the Elizabethans. In those days going hatless was seen as a provocative and slightly deranged act. Our modern avoidance of spitting would be a bit harder to fathom for the 16th century person. Spitting was regarded as a necessary bodily function, like urination. Bad humours had to be expelled, don’t you know. Some discretion was preferred, but the actual act was not taboo. (I remember reading Dickens’ American notes and he was horrified by the hockle covered floors of anywhere and everywhere during his visit to the U.S. Times changed regarding expectoration sooner in England than America.)

Oh, and the influence of religion in everyday life. Imagine the most hardcore southern Baptist bible-thumper in the American south. They would be regarded as fairly middle of the road religionists in those days. Doing or saying anything that upset religious sensibilities in Elizabethan and Jacobean England was just asking for trouble.

An interesting book, well researched and immensely readable. Loved the olde world language quotes from the time that really bring the era to life.

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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#177  Postby Blip » Aug 06, 2021 7:11 am

1. The Calcutta Chromosome by Amitav Ghosh
2. The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro
3. Thrush Green by Miss Read
4. A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro
5. Winter in Thrush Green by Miss Read
The Shortest Day by Colm Tóibín
6. The Binding by Bridget Collins
7. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu translated by Ken Liu
8. The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu translated by Joel Martinsen
9. Death's End by Cixin Liu translated by Ken Liu
10. Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
11. The Ebony Tower by John Fowles
12. The Lost Estate (Le Grand Meaulnes) by Henri Alain-Fournier translated by Robin Buss
13. Strange Flowers by Donal Ryan
14. The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende
15. From a Low and Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan
16. Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende translated by Margaret Sayers Peden
17. Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
18. Front Page News by Sadie Gordon Richmond
19. The Split by Sharon Bolton
20. Outline by Rachel Cusk
21. Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell
22. The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota
23. Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor
24. The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey
25. The Satapur Moonstone by Sujata Massey
26. Battles at Thrush Green by Miss Read
27. China Room by Sunjeev Sahota
28. If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor
29. Still Life by Sarah Winman
30. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
31. Elmet by Fiona Mozley
32. Bosworth: the birth of the Tudors by Chris Skidmore
33. The Guest List by Lucy Foley

A society wedding on a remote Irish island... Clever whodunnit, engaging and diverting.
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#178  Postby Blip » Aug 06, 2021 7:18 am

You may already know that Ruth Goodman has written other immersive works of history, don't get me started, and they're all rather interesting. She famously forbore bathing for How to be a Tudor, which you might also enjoy if you haven't read it.
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#179  Postby don't get me started » Aug 06, 2021 12:38 pm

Blip wrote:You may already know that Ruth Goodman has written other immersive works of history, don't get me started, and they're all rather interesting. She famously forbore bathing for How to be a Tudor, which you might also enjoy if you haven't read it.


Cheers for the info Blip.
I think I was kind of aware of some of Goodman's work, but it didn't register when I bought the book.
I'll be adding her other books to my (ever expanding) wish list.

(Goodman mentioned her experiments with Elizabethan hygiene in the book. I once tried a period of minimal washing and not using modern soap products...student days, what can I say?
Got a bit greasy and ...how can I say...'coated' but it ended up in a kind of equilibrium. Cool Northern latitudes helped a lot, I reckon.)

My current showering regimen is only partly concerned with cleanliness. Covid precautions and cooling down are important features of my daily washing and showering. The heat here is terrific at this time of year and coming home from work the first thing I do is have a shower.
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#180  Postby NamelessFaceless » Aug 09, 2021 1:30 am

Audiobooks in Italics

1. Lying Next To Me - Gregg Olsen
2. I Can't Make This Up - Kevin Hart
3. Beloved - Toni Morrison
4. In Our Time - Ernest Hemingway
5. Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf
6. Hollywood - Charles Bukowski
7. The Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka
8. A Simple Favor - Darcey Bell
9. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
10. The Sorrows of Young Werther - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

11. The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Victor Hugo
12. Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Dafoe
13. Swann's Way - Marcel Proust
14. Fear of Flying - Erica Jong
15. The Wave - Todd Strasser
16. Kidnapped - Robert Louis Stevenson
17. This Side of Paradise - F. Scott Fitzgerald
18. The Piazza Tales - Herman Melville
19. Unspeakable Things - Jess Lourey
20. The Memoir of Thomas Jefferson - Thomas Jefferson
21. There is Confusion - Jessie Redmon Fauset
22. Mob Rule in New Orleans - Ida B. Wells-Barnett
23. The House Behind the Cedars - Charles W. Chesnutt

24. All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren
25. Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing - Allison Winn Scotch
26. The Conjure Woman - Charles W. Chesnutt
27. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
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