The Book Thread 2021

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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#21  Postby Blip » Jan 21, 2021 2:28 pm

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

I hadn't intended to read another of these so soon after the first, but it was a week of vicissitudes and this was already loaded on the Kindle...
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#22  Postby I'm With Stupid » Jan 21, 2021 4:17 pm

1. Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell
2. Don't Believe a Word by David Shariatmadari
3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
4. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

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I've never been to India, but so much of this resonated with me from my time living in Vietnam. The idea of living in a system where you have no choice to be corrupt in order to get ahead in life. Or the little details of a fast-developing city, like new apartment buildings that were built so quickly they're already falling apart. But the story itself is fantastic too. So many comments about the class system, corrupt politics, etc.
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#23  Postby Beatrice » Jan 21, 2021 11:30 pm

1. The Obelisk Gate - N.K. Jemisin (10/10)
2. Bullshit Jobs - David Graeber
Phew... for a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself.....
"GOD" is an acronym which stands for "GOD Over Djinn".
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#24  Postby don't get me started » Jan 24, 2021 6:06 am

1. Pragmatic Meaning and Cognition – Sophia S.A. Marmaridou
2. Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany and Japan - Randall Hansen

536 pp.

A thoroughly researched and fully referenced overview of the bombing offensives carried out by The RAF and USAAF in WW2.
The author comes to the conclusion that the gradual escalation of air attacks against Germany, from (supposed) precision bombing of military targets to more or less blatant terror bombing and purposeful killing of civilians in their hundreds of thousands was morally unjustifiable and strategically pointless.
The gradual crossing of moral boundaries as the war progressed made each increment easier to accept and by the summer of 1945 acts which would have seemed unthinkable in 1940 were done with relative ease.

The issues presented by Hansen are well argued and nuanced.
The massive amount of resources deployed by the Germans to defend the Reich meant that manpower, weapons and munitions that could have been used elsewhere (e.g. on the Russian front) were deployed at home instead. (Something like 80% of the Luftwaffe was deployed against allied bombers by 1944). But the corollary is that the demands of the bomber offensive meant that, likewise, resources of the allies were used here and not elsewhere.

The chapter on the Japanese surrender process was very interesting and the role of the Japanese language, with its tendency to vagueness and under-specification was well noted. The inability to actually say what was necessary to be said caused real-world problems.

One thing that was not touched on by the author was the cumulative psychological effect of the bombing in preparing Germany and Japan for defeat. Although the proponents of area bombing thought that they could destroy the will of the enemy population to fight, this was not the case. (No more than the London Blitz destroyed the will of the British to fight on in 1940)
But, the bringing of the war to Germany and Japan in such stark terms prevented the post war establishment of any 'stab in the back' revisionism that had such far reaching implications in 1918 in Germany. The populations of the vanquished had no chance to evade the reality of complete and utter military catastrophe and the delusions of superior will to resist, secret wonder weapons, reserve armies, the genius of the Fuhrer to see them through were revealed to be just that - delusions.

Altogether an interesting and though-provoking read.

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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#25  Postby Blip » Jan 24, 2021 8:43 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

*At 38 pages, this is too short to count but I'll record and recommend it.
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#26  Postby NamelessFaceless » Jan 26, 2021 2:29 pm

Audiobooks in Italics

1. Lying Next To Me - Gregg Olsen
2. I Can't Make This Up - Kevin Hart

If you like Kevin Hart, I highly recommend listening to this audiobook. He reads it himself with occasional ad libbing and he is his usual hysterical self.
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#27  Postby Beatrice » Jan 26, 2021 11:57 pm

1. The Obelisk Gate - N.K. Jemisin (10/10)
2. Bullshit Jobs - David Graeber
3. The Mothers - Brit Bennett
Phew... for a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself.....
"GOD" is an acronym which stands for "GOD Over Djinn".
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#28  Postby crazyfitter » Jan 27, 2021 3:53 pm

1. A Game of Thrones - George RR Martin
2. A Clash of Kings - George RR Martin. I’m enjoying this series more than LotR
3. A Storm of Swords - George RR Martin. Heavy going, maybe I should be reading dgms books instead ;). Im taking a midterm break on the series then come back for the rest.
The slap in the face that is offered by anti-rationalist, pseudo-scientists and anti-intellectuals that infest much of public discourse is a sad coda to what has been achieved these centuries past by the scientific method - don’t get me started
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#29  Postby UncertainSloth » Jan 27, 2021 9:01 pm

blimey, you're rocketing through them, pal
She battled through in every kind of tribulation
She revelled in adventure and imagination
She never listened to no hater, liar
Breaking boundaries and chasing fire
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#30  Postby UncertainSloth » Jan 27, 2021 9:03 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 - a solid series overall and well written...none of her other trilogies appeal to me but more because of subject matter...would make a good mini-series or something

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She battled through in every kind of tribulation
She revelled in adventure and imagination
She never listened to no hater, liar
Breaking boundaries and chasing fire
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#31  Postby crazyfitter » Jan 27, 2021 9:17 pm

UncertainSloth wrote:blimey, you're rocketing through them, pal


I’m just glad I won’t have to sit an exam on them after :)
The slap in the face that is offered by anti-rationalist, pseudo-scientists and anti-intellectuals that infest much of public discourse is a sad coda to what has been achieved these centuries past by the scientific method - don’t get me started
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#32  Postby I'm With Stupid » Jan 28, 2021 5:48 am

1. Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell
2. Don't Believe a Word by David Shariatmadari
3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
4. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
5. The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse

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I read my first Wodehouse last year with The Luck of the Bodkins, just because a friend happened to have a copy. But this is on another level. Fantastic stuff.
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#33  Postby Blip » Jan 28, 2021 10:22 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

This is a fantasy novel, but more than that it's a compelling parable about memory, self, and the crimes and cover-ups of the rich and powerful. I would have preferred it to be more grounded in place and time, but once I overcame that, I enjoyed it.

This one might work for you, UncertainSloth.
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#34  Postby UncertainSloth » Jan 28, 2021 10:21 pm

you're on the right lines there - it's either on one of my bookshelves or on my amazon wishlist, i can't remember which..but yes, absolutely my sort of thing
She battled through in every kind of tribulation
She revelled in adventure and imagination
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Breaking boundaries and chasing fire
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#35  Postby Beatrice » Jan 28, 2021 11:51 pm

Blip wrote:6. The Binding by Bridget Collins

This is a fantasy novel, but more than that it's a compelling parable about memory, self, and the crimes and cover-ups of the rich and powerful. I would have preferred it to be more grounded in place and time, but once I overcame that, I enjoyed it.

This one might work for you, UncertainSloth.


That sounds fantastic, I've just added it to my "to read" list.
Phew... for a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself.....
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#36  Postby don't get me started » Jan 29, 2021 2:18 pm

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.)

300.pp

Compared to number one on this year’s list, this was a much more accessible read. The book is designed as a broad overview of the main areas of cognitive linguistics. The chapters are nicely organized and all of the linguistic terms are explained clearly and nothing beyond general knowledge with a layman’s interest in linguistics is assumed. Chapter two deals with Lexicology and looks at the ways words and meaning are related. The authors describe the hierarchies of words with superordinate, basic level and subordinate terms being a basic structure (Furniture> Chair> Highchair) with the basic level being the structurally simplest form and also the most commonly occurring word. There is also the question of prototypicality. This means that in the case of a category, the ‘necessary and sufficient’ criteria that used to hold for categorization is not appropriate. Instead we have members which are central and prototypical members of a category and members which are peripheral. (A robin is a prototypical member of the category ‘bird’ whilst Ostrich and Penguin are more peripheral members of that category. The edges of many (most?) categories are fuzzy and not clearly defined.

Chapter 3 deals with morphology and explains some of the workings under the hood of word formation. For example, the class of morphology (word change) known as ‘derivational’ changes the class of a word – ‘ness’ added to ‘happy’ changes the word from an adjective to a noun. The second class of morphology- ‘inflectional’ performs a grammatical function such as pluralization (book – books) or third person marking - (I jump, he jumps). The authors point out that the derivational morphology always comes before the inflectional one - ‘from the adjective dark we may derive the verb ‘to darken’, and this can take the tense morpheme as in ‘darkens’. (p.69) They also point out that derivational morphology is not equally applicable to all words in a class. Adding ‘en’ to adjectives only works in some cases – lighten, deepen, darken, blacken, whiten, but not ‘heavy-en, green-en, shallow-en. By contrast the inflectional morphology gets used with all words in the appropriate class – He jumps, runs, swims, discombobulates and so on.

Chapter 4 looks at syntax and among the many interesting points was the universal schema list. Basically, all languages express a core of fundamental cognitive schemas. 1) Being, 2) Happening, 3) Doing, 4) Experiencing, 6) Moving and 7) Transfering. (p.83.)
Chapter 5 was a very good overview of phonetics and phonology which I liked because it gave a clear list of technical terms on p.115 describing what are labio-dental fricatives approximants, glides and velar nasals. It also described the ways in which languages differentiate (or don’t) various sounds. In English we see no difference between the P of ‘pin’ and the P of spin, but they are different. (The p of ‘pin’ is produced with a little puff of air – it is aspirated.) English speakers pay no attention to this difference. ‘Whereas English speakers regard aspirated and unaspirated voiceless stops as the same sound, Thai speakers do not. Compare Thai /Phaa/ “Split” and /Paa/ “forest”. (p.121)
(Another example of this not mentioned in the book is the two ‘L’ sounds at either end of the word ‘lull’ – so called light and dark L.)

Anyways, that gives a flavor of the book. There were other chapters on pragmatics, historical linguistics and comparative linguistics etc. If anyone is interested in some of the more academic themes in linguistics, but feels that they don’t know where to start, I could heartily recommend this book as a good intro.

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(Apologies for the lengthy write up...just trying to leave myself a few pointers for times when I might want to refer back to some points in the book.
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#37  Postby crazyfitter » Jan 30, 2021 2:50 pm

1. A Game of Thrones - George RR Martin
2. A Clash of Kings - George RR Martin. I’m enjoying this series more than LotR
3. A Storm of Swords - George RR Martin
4. Master and Commander - Patrick O’Brian
The slap in the face that is offered by anti-rationalist, pseudo-scientists and anti-intellectuals that infest much of public discourse is a sad coda to what has been achieved these centuries past by the scientific method - don’t get me started
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#38  Postby UncertainSloth » Jan 31, 2021 7:36 am

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 - one of those dreamy, ethereal novels where much goes unanswered and a quite distinct writing style - i can see why it divides opinion so much on goodreads - worth a read, but not one that will stay with you

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She battled through in every kind of tribulation
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#39  Postby Blip » Jan 31, 2021 4:46 pm

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

Unashamed fantasy sci-fi: the earth is threatened by alien invasion. Highly regarded; first of a trilogy. There were a couple of continuity errors that bugged* me but I reserve judgement as they may be resolved in the second and third parts. I was swept away by the narrative, in any case.

*Pun intentional, if you've read this.
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#40  Postby crazyfitter » Jan 31, 2021 10:10 pm

Yep great book, the trilogy was my last read last year.
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