Book Reviews: 41-44

30 Jun

I finally finished Spoken Here, and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. Sure, the author has his biases, but overall it was both informative and entertaining. I learned a lot about the state of some pretty unique languages, and was left with an overwhelming urge to learn Mohawk, Yiddish, Tiwi, or some other endangered language. My favorite part of it was his suggestion that learning to speak another language increases your overall intelligence because it teaches you to think the way someone else does. Different languages frame the world differently, and by learning one you learn to see through their frame. From my experience with languages, I would have to agree and to say that it is a beautiful thing to feel like you’re getting a glimpse into the mind of a people through the words they produce.

Verdict: A+

Next up… Well, I read 3.5 books this weekend…

I started out with a young adult series that everyone has been buzzing about lately. I wanted to read the book before I saw the movie, which is opposite my usual order. In general, I prefer to see the movie first, because the movie I have in my head is never the same as the film and I get disappointed. This one, however, seemed worth the read.

I don’t think anyone is surprised that I read Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, since it is a vampire based series. I have to say it was pretty good. My first impression was that her writing style left a bit to be desired, but it is a series written for teenagers. Besides, the story must have been good enough since I couldn’t put the books down and managed to read all three this weekend.

Verdict: A

Next up would be the fourth book in the series:
but it doesn’t come out until August 2nd.  In true “I am nerd” style, I’ve preordered it.  Why yes, I am secretly 12.  Why do you ask?

Interestingly, this series led me to contemplate why it is that I don’t, in general, read a lot of series books.  For me, reading is escapist.  If a story is decent at all, I get totally sucked in to it.  In a normal book, you just don’t get enough time or detail and I don’t end up feeling committed to the characters.  In a series, especially a detail-heavy one like this, you really get to know every little thing about the players and, whether you like them or not, you start to care.

I swear, I feel a little weird without having more to read.  It’s like making an interesting friend and then suddenly no longer having contact with them.

Yep.  Nuts.

Anyway, I jumped right into my next book, knowing it would help:

I love Beppe Severgnini’s writing style.  This book is a little dated, so some of his observations about America are no longer quite fitting, but I still find him entertaining and funny.  I really liked his book about Italians, La Bella Figura.  I expect to like this one quite a bit as well.  His fast-paced writing and honest observations make it a great way to transition my head away from the series.

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