The Book Thread 2021

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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#181  Postby don't get me started » Aug 09, 2021 10:18 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


26. In the Land of Invented Languages: Adventures in Linguistic Creativity, Madness and Genius – Arika Okrent


342 pp.

I read Umberto Eco’s book ‘The search for the perfect language’ a good few years back and was much taken with the idea of created languages. Okrent’s book is a highly readable, entertaining, and informative. She gives a good background to the ways in which various idealists, lunatics, self-promoters, misfits, oddballs, and well-intentioned obsessives have sought to bring perfection, order and logic to language. From the philosophick languages of the European Enlightenment which sought to impose a Linnean categorization to language and vocabulary, through the idealism behind Esperanto and Volapuk, to the invented sci-fi/fantasy languages of Klingon and Tolkein, the ways in which people have risen to the task (and usually fallen) are detailed with kindness, humanity and generosity. (Even though some of the language inventors were pretty unpleasant people.)

Underlying the whole is the understanding that language can’t be ‘perfected’. The seeming inconsistencies and illogicalities serve a purpose, making language flexible enough to deal with novel situations, the will ‘o the wisp train of thought, and the varying levels of granularity needed to actually communicate, whilst being robust enough to allow meanings to be understood consistently and accurately when needs be.

From my readings in languages far removed from the familiar ‘big’ languages, it is clear that one of the irresolvable issues of creating a new language is deciding on what to do and what not to do. If one decides to include evidential markers (as many languages of Amazonia do) then you have to reject the non-evidential marking found in European languages. Languages like Russian and Japanese manage fine without definite and indefinite articles (the & a). What is your ideal language gonna do? Are you going to have a singular/plural distinction like English or a classifier system like Mandarin Chinese? Every time you select one feature you have to unselect another one. And don’t even get me started on the interactional components. How are you going to encode something like ‘Well, you know, I mean, the thing is…’?

Still, an interesting way to think about language and languages and just enjoy the baroque extravagance that is human language. The author wears her scholarship lightly and is a good writer to boot.

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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#182  Postby NamelessFaceless » Aug 09, 2021 10:04 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
25. Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing - Allison Winn Scotch
26. The Conjure Woman - Charles W. Chesnutt
27. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
28. The Fire in the Flint - Walter Francis White
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#183  Postby NamelessFaceless » Aug 14, 2021 11:08 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
25. Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing - Allison Winn Scotch
26. The Conjure Woman - Charles W. Chesnutt
27. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
28. The Fire in the Flint - Walter Francis White
29. Ethan Frome - Edith Wharton
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#184  Postby don't get me started » Aug 15, 2021 1:58 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
26. In the Land of Invented Languages: Adventures in Linguistic Creativity, Madness and Genius – Arika Okrent

27. Foundation – Isaac Asimov

A friend picked this up in anticipation of the upcoming Apple TV series, and he passed it on to me. Not sure what to make of it. It is not really the kind of science fiction I usually read and the fact that it was written in 1941 definitely shows. The technology of the galaxy spanning empire is a bit hokey by the standards of 2021. There were some interesting ideas and takes on big themes, but I think if the book had been another 100 pages longer, I probably wouldn’t have reached the end. I can’t see myself reading any of the other books in the series.

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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#185  Postby don't get me started » Aug 15, 2021 11:35 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.)
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
26. In the Land of Invented Languages: Adventures in Linguistic Creativity, Madness and Genius – Arika Okrent
27. Foundation – Isaac Asimov

28. One Man and his Bike – Mike Carter

343 pp.

Well, as can be seen from the 24 hours since my last post in this thread, I fairly ripped through this one. Apart from a trip to the supermarket and an hour spent turning a plastic bottle into a crocodile money box (don’t ask), I spent more or less the whole day with my nose stuck in this book – and what a great way to spend a Sunday.

Carter charts his pedal-powered journey around the coast of the UK with a wry humor and a deep sense of place. His descriptions of the beauties of the coastline are evocative and heartfelt. Not only the grandeur of the highlands and islands or the Northumbrian coast, but also the faded seaside towns and postindustrial bleakness of parts of his route are all given ample coverage. In addition to the landscapes, he describes in detail his interactions with the various people he meets along the way – drunken priests, cyclists doing the same journey the other way round, sour-faced campsite managers, lighthouse keepers, ratrace escapees, eccentrics and oddballs of all types. The rare negative interactions are hugely outweighed by the constant kindness, generosity and goodwill he meets from perfect strangers. From this account it may be that Britain is not quite as broken as we sometimes read in the papers.

Perhaps it is the nostalgia of the émigré (I left the UK when John Major was PM!) but I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in this trip through the old country. I have also been inspired to think of some more expansive cycling adventures that are on my doorstep. A friend mentioned the other day that he fancied doing the island-hopping cycle route through the Seto inland sea (The Shimanami Kado route) when the pandemic recedes. I reckon I am up for that…

Great book and thoroughly recommended.

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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#186  Postby Blip » Aug 18, 2021 6:13 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
34. A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam

Thought I'd attempt the Booker longlist again this year. Started with this, a man's memories and reflections as he travels through Sri Lanka to attend the funeral of his grandmother's former live-in carer. It has some very fine insights into human nature but I found it heavy going, if I'm honest.
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#187  Postby NamelessFaceless » Aug 25, 2021 12:30 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
25. Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing - Allison Winn Scotch
26. The Conjure Woman - Charles W. Chesnutt
27. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
28. The Fire in the Flint - Walter Francis White
29. Ethan Frome - Edith Wharton
30. Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro - I can't believe I put this off for so long.
31. Heidi - Johanna Spyri - I honestly had no idea how much "god" was in this one. :yuk:
32. We Have Always Lived In the Castle - Shirley Jackson - can't wait to see the movie.
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#188  Postby UncertainSloth » Aug 25, 2021 1:20 pm

two great books at 30 & 32 - the film is very good, taissa farmiga, iirc
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” Tolkein
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#189  Postby NamelessFaceless » Aug 27, 2021 1:39 pm

UncertainSloth wrote:two great books at 30 & 32 - the film is very good, taissa farmiga, iirc


I can't wait to see it. It's in my queue and I've been itching to watch it but I wanted to read the book first. Never Let Me Go was really good too. I plan on watching this film soon too. I read The Buried Giant a year or two ago and loved it. Can't believe I've ignored this author for so long.
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#190  Postby NamelessFaceless » Aug 27, 2021 1:40 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

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
28. The Fire in the Flint - Walter Francis White
29. Ethan Frome - Edith Wharton
30. Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
31. Heidi - Johanna Spyri
32. We Have Always Lived In the Castle - Shirley Jackson
33. The Red House Mystery - A.A. Milne
34. War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence - Ronan Farrow
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#191  Postby UncertainSloth » Aug 27, 2021 2:13 pm

NamelessFaceless wrote:
UncertainSloth wrote:two great books at 30 & 32 - the film is very good, taissa farmiga, iirc


I can't wait to see it. It's in my queue and I've been itching to watch it but I wanted to read the book first. Never Let Me Go was really good too. I plan on watching this film soon too. I read The Buried Giant a year or two ago and loved it. Can't believe I've ignored this author for so long.


also a good film - i'd be interested to see if they do anything with the buried giant
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#192  Postby don't get me started » Aug 28, 2021 2:32 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
26. In the Land of Invented Languages: Adventures in Linguistic Creativity, Madness and Genius – Arika Okrent
27. Foundation – Isaac Asimov
28. One Man and his Bike – Mike Carter

29. The Phantom Atlas: The Greatest Myths, Lies and Blunders on Maps – Edwards Brooke Hitching

256 pp.

This book was featured here a while back by Uncertain Sloth (Cheers mate!) and, being a lover of maps and disreputable histories myself, I decided to delve into the accounts of the madness, vainglory, fanciful gap-filling and outright fraud that characterized many early attempts to chart the globe.

A fascinating read, beautifully illustrated. I won’t go into detail about the many intriguing stories contained within this book, apart from to mention the fabled Isle of Fonseca, supposed to lie to the east of Barbados. A fictitious account purports to be the eyewitness testimonies of two Turkish captains…One of the men – Aga Sha’ban, who claims to have landed in 1707, reported it to “be a predominantly British community of about 16,000 […] The township was a foul and immoral hellhole. Rampant drinking gambling and promiscuity were encouraged – the sinfulness overwhelming the efforts of the few local priests.” (p.105). Made up or not, it certainly sounds plausible!


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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#193  Postby UncertainSloth » Aug 28, 2021 12:27 pm

ah, awesome! glad you enjoyed it :cheers:
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” Tolkein
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#194  Postby Blip » Aug 29, 2021 6:27 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
34. A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam
35. Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak

The Guardian review here includes a quote which accords with my impression. 'The whole novel is marvellously rich in intention. Why, then, does it sometimes falter in execution?' I found the central metaphor somewhat laboured but, that being said, the story-telling is undoubtedly absorbing.
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#195  Postby UncertainSloth » Aug 30, 2021 11:45 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
24. christopher ransom - the people next door - 6/10 meh...

gawd, i've slowed down...

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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#196  Postby Blip » Sep 02, 2021 1:43 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
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
34. A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam
35. Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak
36. Second Place by Rachel Cusk

Back to the Booker longlist. This one is not really my sort of thing, but I must say that there is some rather enjoyable characterisation.
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#197  Postby don't get me started » Sep 05, 2021 1:05 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
26. In the Land of Invented Languages: Adventures in Linguistic Creativity, Madness and Genius – Arika Okrent
27. Foundation – Isaac Asimov
28. One Man and his Bike – Mike Carter
29. The Phantom Atlas: The Greatest Myths, Lies and Blunders on Maps – Edwards Brooke Hitching


30. Operation Mincemeat – Ben Macintyre

414 pp.

This is the well known story of the titular British deception operation involving the planting of a dead body with a briefcase of secret documents to fool the Germans and distract them from the allied invasion of Sicily in 1943.

Even though I was somewhat familiar with the events of Operation Mincemeat, the author fleshes out the story in minute detail, describing the cast of oddballs, eccentrics, chancers, and blood-red fighting men who pulled the whole thing off. The writing is crisp and at times it feels like you are reading a novel rather than a history of actual events. Macintyre is clearly enamored with his subject matter, which helps the narrative along.

There are two incidental things that really stuck out for me in the tale. Firstly, the backstory of the dead man whose body was used. Glyndwr Michael was born into extreme poverty in the South Wales valleys and met a wretched death after a short life of ill health, unemployment and destitution. The contrast with the lives of the gentlemen amateurs who were behind the mincemeat deception was stark indeed. Theirs was a life of hobbies and interests, gentlemen’s clubs in London and houses in the country. His was a life of pure hardship, backbreaking, health ruining toil, malnourishment and a precarious existence at the very margins of society. Someone for whom the word privilege does not apply in any way whatsoever.

Second was the comparison between the intelligence services of Germany and Britain. Put simply, the Abwher was rubbish. Their cyphers had been cracked, agents turned, hierarchies infiltrated by the British. They largely existed in a fantasy world where they believed what they wanted to believe and dismissed evidence that didn’t match their world view. The Wehrmacht might have been a formidable fighting force, but German intelligence agencies seem almost farcically inept and were outmatched at almost every turn by the British (and the Soviets it must be said. Now there was a worthy adversary in the dark arts of deception and treachery!)

A good read and I will have a look at the other books by this author.

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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#198  Postby Blip » Sep 06, 2021 7:09 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
34. A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam
35. Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak
36. Second Place by Rachel Cusk
37. An Island by Karen Jennings

This is a short, stunning novel about alienation and distrust, set on an island off the coast of an unnamed African country but with universal resonance. The best on the longlist so far. For a review, see The Guardian.
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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#199  Postby don't get me started » Sep 09, 2021 9:19 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
26. In the Land of Invented Languages: Adventures in Linguistic Creativity, Madness and Genius – Arika Okrent
27. Foundation – Isaac Asimov
28. One Man and his Bike – Mike Carter
29. The Phantom Atlas: The Greatest Myths, Lies and Blunders on Maps – Edwards Brooke Hitching
30. Operation Mincemeat – Ben Macintyre

31. L2 interactional competence and development - J.K. Hall, J. Hellermann & S.P. Doehler, (Eds.)

274 pp.

This is a reread. I was recently presenting at a conference on the topic of Interactional Competence (IC) and I pulled this book from my shelves to put some references in the proceedings paper I am writing – and then ended up reading the whole thing. It is a collection of papers by different authors detailing the ways that language learners develop their ability to take part in spontaneous spoken interactions. The notion of IC is kind of hard to pin down. At one end of the spectrum there are universal practices (‘panhuman’ in the words of one author) that can be applied by learners of even the most basic proficiency. On the other hand, there are ways of ‘doing’ interaction that are very culture-specific. But even here, learners can be explicitly taught the ways of the target language culture, or, if they are exposed to enough instances of a practice, they can unconsciously incorporate this into their L2 repertoire. As is noted on p. 238, “learners do not simply transfer their interactional competence from one language to another, merely developing the linguistic forms needed to accomplish specific interactional tasks. Rather, when learning an L2, learners recalibrate their ‘methods’ for accomplishing actions – including the linguistic means to do so.”

One thing I liked about the book was the expansion from purely English language data. There were chapters on German speaking learners of French learning how to ‘do’ disagreements in that language, US students learning how to take part in proficiency interviews in French, and a learner of Icelandic taking part in service encounters in a bakery. It is always welcome to have data from beyond the Anglosphere.

Lots of good material here. I’ve met several of the authors at conferences over the years, and it is an interesting part of reading this kind of academic material when you can hear the words in the author’s own voice.

I got a lot out of this second reading and am now contemplating what other rereads are on the horizon.

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Re: The Book Thread 2021

#200  Postby UncertainSloth » Sep 14, 2021 6:18 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
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
24. christopher ransom - the people next door - 6/10
25. andrew pyper - the killing circle - 9/10 - well written, slightly meta, great read

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