Book Challenge Thread 2019

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Book Challenge Thread 2019

#1  Postby UncertainSloth » Jan 01, 2019 5:03 pm

Book Challenge 2019

Rules of the challenge copied and pasted for those not familiar with the challenge, though I think this thread is the domain of the faithful few these days....;)....:

1. 25 or 50 books are the usual targets - however, I thought would be fairer to open it up a bit to let people decide their own targets as we all have different lives to lead...;)
2. A book must be at least 50 pages long.
3. Books you started in 2018 and finish in 2019 count on the 2019 list.
4. Re-reads and audio books count
5. If a book has two books in it it counts as two (Ex. An Orwell book with the animal farm and 1984, counts as two.)
6. No rules on what to read, besides what's listed.
7. This is for fun so enjoy yourself.

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If you have time, please post a brief review or comment about the book - I love reading these and it helps me, for one, decide whether I want to explore something further or not...happy reading, folks! :cheers:

going for 50 again, seems a sensible amount....I've finally embraced the world of kindle so may end up posting a few at a time sometimes as I'll probably have two on the go... :grin:


1. the twisted tree - rachel burge - 6/10 - i liked the concept which centred around norse mythologies, but there were just a few too many ya touches to make it an involving read....i didn't know it was ya before i started but it becomes clear as the book progresses...

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Re: Book Challenge Thread 2019

#2  Postby zulumoose » Jan 02, 2019 12:53 pm

I really need to get myself to read more this year. I started a few books last year and lost interest, my attention span has been suffering. And to think, in my early teens I used to get through maybe 10 novels a week. Of course that wouldn't have happened if we had internet back then, or didn't live in relative isolation (car and train and bus to and from school every day)

I can't stop buying books though, I must have over a thousand in boxes, cupboards, and bookshelves all over the place.
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Re: Book Challenge Thread 2019

#3  Postby UncertainSloth » Jan 03, 2019 10:26 pm

1. the twisted tree - rachel burge - 6/10 - i liked the concept which centred around norse mythologies, but there were just a few too many ya touches to make it an involving read....i didn't know it was ya before i started but it becomes clear as the book progresses...

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2. mr splitfoot - samantha hunt - 5/10....lord, this dragged on a bit...some decent ideas/writing at times but at the expense of anything approaching momentum in the plot...disappointed, tbh, it promised more, the first third was ok...

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3. a wayne in a manger - gervaise phinn - 5/10...reminded me of my early days teaching ks1..gentle stories about nativities from a yorkshire inspector pre-national curriculum shite...suppose it's a bit like a vet sitting down this weekend to read all creatures great and small....

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Re: Book Challenge Thread 2019

#4  Postby UncertainSloth » Jan 03, 2019 10:27 pm

zulumoose wrote:
I can't stop buying books though, I must have over a thousand in boxes, cupboards, and bookshelves all over the place.


sounds like our house...i have 'to read' piles everywhere, so much so i've now engaged with a kindle as well totry and save some space... :grin:
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Re: Book Challenge Thread 2019

#5  Postby Animavore » Jan 04, 2019 10:17 am

I can't stop downloading books. I must have over a thousand. On my Kindle. In my bag.
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Re: Book Challenge Thread 2019

#6  Postby UncertainSloth » Jan 04, 2019 4:17 pm

aye, i've held off on a kindle for a long time...until i had a wishlist after chrimbo that costs £130 physically and £30 on kindle....which basically paid for the kindle..;)

4. the moor - sam haysom - 8/10...a very decent read, dartmoor obv serving as inspiration for the setting so i was won over before i started...

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Re: Book Challenge Thread 2019

#7  Postby DougC » Jan 04, 2019 10:47 pm

The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Jane Jacobs, 1961
Last read this at Uni, 25 years ago. As relivent now as it was then. If you are looking for a place to start on a study on Town Planning or Urban Design, then this is it.
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Re: Book Challenge Thread 2019

#8  Postby don't get me started » Jan 07, 2019 11:36 am

I was debating whether to post incrementally this year or not...well, I guess now I'm here...

1. Complex Systems and Applied Linguistics – Dianne Larsen-Freeman & Lynne Cameron
287 pp.

I heard a talk by Dianne Larsen-Freeman at a recent conference and she mentioned this book. I was intrigued by the talk and so bought the book. The authors take the outlook and methodology of complexity theory, chaos theory and others and jump from the hard sciences to the social sciences and see what the match might be. I thought they made pretty good case for seeing language and language acquisition (L1 and L2) from the standpoint of complex systems.

Some of the more resonant parts of the text: The computer metaphor of the human mind that has held sway for decades is a deeply flawed way of conceptualizing thought and has had serious effects on linguistics. As a corollary, the whole UG project looks seriously flawed. ‘We do not find compelling evidence for an innate language-specific mental organ […] We do not believe that language can be understood apart from the way it is used by its users and learners’. (p. 252).

I gained a deeper understanding of the basic ideas connected with complex systems, attractors, phase shifts, self-similarity, chaos (in its technical sense) and others, and I particularly liked the concept of ‘soft assembly’ and the ways that language can be seen as self-organizing using existing cognitive capabilities rather than laying all the work at the door of some mysterious mental organ.

The authors pay due acknowledgment to the work of Conversation Analysts and ethnomethodologists in their view of the importance of context and the ways in which interactants co-construct meaning in the here-and-now of that interaction. I recall a quote from a CA text ‘to say something again for the first time’.

Page 134 articulated a notion I have long thought about. ‘…much SLA research has proceeded as if a static and complete set of grammar rules were available and that its acquisition was the goal of language learning.’ (p.134) This notion seems to underpin much of SLA, particularly in Japan.

I have annotated this book extensively and will certainly be referring to it in upcoming papers.
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Re: Book Challenge Thread 2019

#9  Postby UncertainSloth » Jan 07, 2019 10:08 pm

i'd love to be able to cope with some of the books you read, they always sound fascinating... :cheers:

1. the twisted tree - rachel burge - 6/10 -

2. mr splitfoot - samantha hunt - 5/10

3. a wayne in a manger - gervaise phinn - 5/10

4. the moor - sam haysom - 8/10

5. the general theory of haunting - richard easter - 9/10 - cracker of a book, interesting concept and a different take on the haunted house idea- two others in the sequence, can be read in any order apparently...

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Re: Book Challenge Thread 2019

#10  Postby don't get me started » Jan 08, 2019 3:18 am

UncertainSloth wrote:i'd love to be able to cope with some of the books you read, they always sound fascinating... :cheers:


Yeah, tackling these kinds of things is part of my job, but I wouldn't claim to understand everything in them. Last year's reading list had some seriously challenging stuff and the slippery grasp I had of some stuff while I was reading it has only gotten more slippy since then!
I have to try to balance out the heavy stuff with some more light and enjoyable reading. Iain M Banks' culture novels, George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman novels and Tim Moore's hilarious travelogues are on a re-read standby list when the boffins bog me down. This thread also gives me good ideas.
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Re: Book Challenge Thread 2019

#11  Postby NamelessFaceless » Jan 08, 2019 3:07 pm

I've mostly been listening to audio books this past year since Amazon Prime has a small offering of free ones and I don't seem to have as much time to read lately. I'm almost to the end of the freeby Amazon list, though. :sad: My next paper book I'm reading is Finnegans Wake, so that's going to take some time. I started it about a month ago, then decided to buy a chapter review book to go with it. Anyway, here's the start of my list:

1. The Hound of the Baskervilles - Arthur Conan Doyle
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Re: Book Challenge Thread 2019

#12  Postby I'm With Stupid » Jan 08, 2019 7:47 pm

don't get me started wrote:1. Complex Systems and Applied Linguistics – Dianne Larsen-Freeman & Lynne Cameron

I've got this. Haven't really got a reason to read it at the moment though. Too many other things that are more relevant to my job. I'm taking a year off reading anything too academic, but I might do my masters in 2020, so I'll be back on it then.

Anyway:

1. My Cat Yugoslavia - Pajtim Statovci
Two stories. One about a woman who gets married in Kosovo just before the war, and another about her son living in Finland as a refugee. The one about the mother is great, but the other contains surreal elements that I'm not sure really worked.
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Re: Book Challenge Thread 2019

#13  Postby Fallible » Jan 08, 2019 8:46 pm

Sounds interesting...
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Re: Book Challenge Thread 2019

#14  Postby crazyfitter » Jan 08, 2019 9:49 pm

Thanks for this don’t get me started A good start to the year. Will try and see Stuart when he comes to Manchester in March.
1. Long Road From Jarrow - Stuart Maconie
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Re: Book Challenge Thread 2019

#15  Postby don't get me started » Jan 09, 2019 3:46 am

I'm With Stupid wrote: I'm taking a year off reading anything too academic, but I might do my masters in 2020, so I'll be back on it then.


Masters in TESOL, I presume? Go for it. Doing mine radically changed my life for the better. Both job prospects-wise and intellectual development-wise. I still enjoy teaching, and am still fascinated by language, just on a whole different level.
But I hear you about taking a break from academic reading. A mate is due to finish his PhD this summer. He swears he is going to spend six months after finishing just playing PlayStation and drinking beer!
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Re: Book Challenge Thread 2019

#16  Postby don't get me started » Jan 09, 2019 3:51 am

NamelessFaceless wrote:I've mostly been listening to audio books this past year since Amazon Prime has a small offering of free ones and I don't seem to have as much time to read lately. I'm almost to the end of the freeby Amazon list, though. :sad: My next paper book I'm reading is Finnegans Wake, so that's going to take some time. I started it about a month ago, then decided to buy a chapter review book to go with it. Anyway, here's the start of my list:

1. The Hound of the Baskervilles - Arthur Conan Doyle


Finnegans Wake? You are a braver reader than I.
We'll see you in the everwhen, back before where we finished off starting.
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Re: Book Challenge Thread 2019

#17  Postby felltoearth » Jan 09, 2019 1:00 pm

NamelessFaceless wrote:I've mostly been listening to audio books this past year since Amazon Prime has a small offering of free ones and I don't seem to have as much time to read lately. I'm almost to the end of the freeby Amazon list, though. :sad: My next paper book I'm reading is Finnegans Wake, so that's going to take some time. I started it about a month ago, then decided to buy a chapter review book to go with it. Anyway, here's the start of my list:

1. The Hound of the Baskervilles - Arthur Conan Doyle

The library system here has digital audio books you can borrow. Do you not have anything similar there?
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Re: Book Challenge Thread 2019

#18  Postby I'm With Stupid » Jan 09, 2019 5:43 pm

Presumably Sherlock Holmes is out of copyright by now anyway, so you can download that for free.
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Re: Book Challenge Thread 2019

#19  Postby UncertainSloth » Jan 09, 2019 10:00 pm

1. the twisted tree - rachel burge - 6/10 -

2. mr splitfoot - samantha hunt - 5/10

3. a wayne in a manger - gervaise phinn - 5/10

4. the moor - sam haysom - 8/10

5. the general theory of haunting - richard easter - 9/10

6. angry people in local newspapers - alistair coleman- 8/10-compendium of crackers from my very favourite facebook group...the closest i've come to being credited in a book... :smoke:

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Re: Book Challenge Thread 2019

#20  Postby don't get me started » Jan 10, 2019 2:11 am

1. Complex Systems and Applied Linguistics – Dianne Larsen-Freeman & Lynne Cameron
2. Around the World in 80 Words: A Journey Through the English language – Paul Anthony Jones
268 pp.

This was a briskly written and enjoyable examination of some English language vocabulary that is derived from place names around the world. Many of the entries are familiar (Shanghaied for kidnapped or abducted, Bedlam (Bethlehem) for the famous mental hospital in London, Doolally (mad) from the transit camp in British India and so on. Other entries were more obscure. Dollar from a town in Bohemia, Panama Hats from Ecuador and Vaudeville from Vire in France. Two entries that I particularly like were:
Siege of Gibraltar. This territory was subject to numerous sieges over the centuries. So, when someone was on the booze and it wasn’t clear what the occasion was, they could just say that they were commemorating the Siege of Gibraltar, as there had been so many sieges that odds on any given day could be an anniversary! Cheers!
The second one that made me laugh was the origins of Gotham for New York. The original use of the word referred to a small village in Nottinghamshire which was supposedly populated by country bumpkins of remarkably low intelligence. There was a boom in Elizabethan times of songs and stories about these rustic dimwits and the author quotes one of the rhymes:

Three wise men of Gotham,
Went to sea in a bowl.
Had the bowl been stronger,
My song’d been longer.

Made me laugh! The word Gotham gradually lost its negative connotations and moved towards a place holder for any large town or city and thus it crossed the Atlantic to New York. Holy Etymologies Batman!
An enjoyable and informative read.
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