3 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · non fiction

New Release | Talk on the Wild Side: Why Language Can’t Be Tamed by Lane Greene

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Talk on the Wild Side: Why Language Can’t Be Tamed by Lane Greene

Published: November 6, 2018

Publisher: The Economist

Pages: 240 

Genres: non fiction

Rating: 3 stars

Recommend to fans of: language, learning new info, fun facts, English majors, grammar 

Foodie Vibes: afternoon tea served exactly the correct way

 

Synopsis:

Language is the most human invention. Spontaneous, unruly, passionate, and erratic it resists every attempt to discipline or regularize it–a history celebrated here in all its irreverent glory.

Language is a wild thing. It is vague and anarchic. Style, meaning, and usage are continually on the move. Throughout history, for every mutation, idiosyncrasy, and ubiquitous mistake, there have been countervailing rules, pronouncements and systems making some attempt to bring language to heel.

From the utopian language-builder to the stereotypical grammatical stickler to the programmer trying to teach a computer to translate, Lane Greene takes the reader through a multi-disciplinary survey of the many different ways in which we attempt to control language, exploring the philosophies, motivations, and complications of each. The result is a highly readable caper that covers history, linguistics, politics, and grammar with the ease and humor of a dinner party anecdote.

Talk on the Wild Side is both a guide to the great debates and controversies of usage, and a love letter to language itself. Holding it together is Greene’s infectious enthusiasm for his subject. While you can walk away with the finer points of who says “whom” and the strange history of “buxom” schoolboys, most of all, it inspires awe in language itself: for its elegance, resourcefulness, and power.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, the Economist, and Lane Green for an ARC copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Talk on the Wild Side is an interesting foray into the world of ever evolving languages. Yes, languages are evolving. And no, that’s not a bad thing. I learned that language changes to better suit the needs of the speakers. Formal language is not necessarily better than informal, but more about the context. Formal language is more appropriate when writing an essay for English class. Informal is appropriate for family gatherings. 

While these seem like such basic concepts, the book explains them in a more in depth manner. Teaching me new things throughout. Some of the concepts presented require an English major background, in theory, but the author explains it so well that most people will understand the nuances concepts. I also found it interesting to see the change of language over time in relation to historical, cultural and political influences. Speaking of politics, the section on language and political campaigns was fascinating and a bit terrifying. 

However, as interesting as many parts were, other sections still went over my head and also bored me. The chapters about tech and language, and creating brand new languages didn’t intrigue me. Personal preference though. 

All in all, an intriguing foray into the world of language. How we use it, why it changes and people’s thoughts about it. 

 

Which languages do you speak?

I’m fluent in English, my first language.

I learned French in high school and can remember some, but am no where near fluent.

How about you?

4.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · Cozy Mystery · mystery

Book Review: Crime and Punctuation by Kaitlyn Dunnett

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Crime and Punctuation by Kaitlyn Dunnett

Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation on May 29, 2018

Pages: 304

Genres: mystery, cozy mystery

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: cozy mysteries, cats, the English language

Read with food: pancakes and maple syrup, watching the gorgeous autumn colors out a picturesque window 

 

Synopsis:

After splurging to buy her childhood home in the Catskills, recently widowed Mikki Lincoln emerges from retirement as a freelance editor. With her ability to spot details that others fail to see, it’s not long before Mikki earns clients–and realizes that the village of Lenape Hollow isn’t the thriving tourist destination it was decades ago. Not with a murderer on the loose . . .

When perky novice writer Tiffany Scott knocks at her door holding a towering manuscript, Mikki expects another debut novel plagued by typos and sloppy prose. Instead, she finds a murder mystery ripped from the headlines of Lenape Hollow’s not-too-distant past. The opening scene is a graphic page-turner, but it sends a real chill down Mikki’s spine after the young author turns up dead just like the victim in her story . . .

Mikki refuses to believe that Tiffany’s death was accidental, and suspicions of foul play solidify as she uncovers a strange inconsistency in the manuscript and a possible motive in the notes. Then there’s Tiffany’s grandmother and husband, who aren’t exactly on friendly terms over the local area’s planned rejuvenation efforts . . .

Unable to convince police that they are focused on the wrong suspect, Mikki must rely on her keen eyes to catch the truth hidden in Lenape Hollow. As she gets closer to cracking the case, only one person takes Mikki’s investigation seriously–the cunning killer who will do anything to make this chapter of her life come to a very abrupt ending . . .

Review:

I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. As always, an honest review.

The definition of a well done cozy mystery!

The story drew me in within the first chapter and entertained me the entire book. I especially enjoyed the main character, Mikki. The writing flows nicely, is easy to read, and draws the audience into the story. It’s obvious that the author is passionate about writing. I especially loved the education in grammar, the English language, and the writing process through Mikki’s job as a freelance editor. Such a wonderful addition to round out the book. Also, I appreciated that many of the characters were ages 50 plus. It’s a welcome addition to novels, as it’s not often done. 

The mystery that Mikki is working to solve is good, but not great. It drives the story along, but I enjoyed reading about her passion for writing more. 

In general, Crime and Punctuation is a wonderful cozy mystery that I would recommend to fans of the genre or those wanting to give it a go. From the “Feel the Bern” reference, which was awesome!, to the autumnal setting in a small town, Katilyn Dunnett had me thoroughly entertained throughout. 

Bonus points for a great cover! From far away it really does look like books lined up on a bookshelf.