Archive for the ‘Ireland’ Category

26. “The Mother Tongue,” Bill Bryson

May 11, 2010 Leave a comment

This was a very enjoyable book. It’s full of neat little bits of trivia, yet manages to be well-integrated, informative, and funny, much more than a mere collection of quirky facts.

One of the interesting things that Bryson points out early on is that English is the only language that has a book which compiles words with the same meanings (EG, a thesaurus). Most other languages would find little use in this because their lexicons tend to be smaller, with fewer shades of meaning. In another language, you’re only happy to see someone, not glad, or pleased, or joyous, or ecstatic, or chuffed (though if you’re me, you’re more likely to be chafed, annoyed, put-off, irritated, perturbed, aggrivated, or generally bothered).

Page count: 244
Page total: 6,416


25. “Hunger: An Unnatural History,” Sharman Apt Russell

May 8, 2010 Leave a comment

An interesting book, but one that didn’t really capture me. It began with a frame about the author’s own body during a fast, but it didn’t continue, despite what the table of contents led me to believe. That’s all and good by me, though, as a first-person account of hunger isn’t what I was looking for.

There were some very interesting anecdotes– especially the Minnesota hunger experiments, which have spawned more than a few searches of the BPL databases, but the first and third parts dragged for me. The concept of hunger artists is weird and interesting, though. Apparently it was all the rage for people to do David Blaine-esque stunts where they set up in the town square and didn’t eat for a month just to show they could.

Page count: 230
Page total: 6,172