If you speak more than one language or like languages in general than you must read this book. "Through the Language Glass", from the linguist Guy DeutIf you speak more than one language or like languages in general than you must read this book. "Through the Language Glass", from the linguist Guy Deutscher, talks about the particularities of languages and the way it influences people's thoughts.
The book offers an overview of different theories from linguistics on how speakers of certain tribes could be color blind or unable understand the concept of time like the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis advocated. While Deutscher recognizes we do not know much about the brain to know how different people really think from each other, he uses a good deal of experiments' reports that show how language plays an important role in what comes to understanding concepts like color, spatial orientation and gender. Still, do not make the mistake of thinking that maybe this limits people's thoughts because a good part of the book explains how even if a concept does not exist in a language, it can be explained to and perceived by speakers of that language. Many interesting differences among cultures are presented, ranging from the simple concept that a tree might be a he, she or it, to the fact that many cultures treat blue and green as tones of the same color.
All this is written in a very smart and funny way like the sarcastic comments about linguistics' daring theories or by temporarily borrowing other languages' features and using them in English.
This is no doubt one of the best books I have ever read and thus I give it 5 stars and recommend that you add it to your "to-read" list....more
If I met a friendly alien from outer space and she me asked how do things work here, I'd suggest she read this book.
"A Short History of Nearly EverythIf I met a friendly alien from outer space and she me asked how do things work here, I'd suggest she read this book.
"A Short History of Nearly Everything" deviates a bit from Bill Bryson's books about travel, places or cultures and instead takes us on a guided trip to the great discoveries of science. From the theories on the origin of the universe to the extinction of species, Bill Bryson gives a nice overview of a lot of topics, explaining them in a clear and simple way.
Although the book has a less humorous tone, the irony we got used in other of his works is also present here, especially when he talks about the character, lives and events of the people who uncovered a bit of the mysteries of our universe. It shows how science's history is full of jealously, discredit, vanity and injustices behind big breakthroughs.
Having studied sciences, the book covered many topics I had already studied but the author's entertaining way of explaining them didn't let me get bored and it's always nice to review these things. One thing that caught my attention was the emphasis on how many things are just projects or theories and not actually demonstrated (like the temperature of the inner core of the earth). Some of the books I had at school talked about these things taking it more as facts.
The more I advanced in the book the more I had the feeling that the quote from the Guardian that is used in the book's cover -- "Truly impressive... it's hard to imagine a better rough guide to science" -- is best way to describe it. For all this, I give this amazing book 5/5 stars....more
**spoiler alert** This is a book about an old couple from 1930s Berlin who, after losing their only son in the front, decide to fight against the Nazi**spoiler alert** This is a book about an old couple from 1930s Berlin who, after losing their only son in the front, decide to fight against the Nazi government. Based on the true story of Otto and Elise Hampel, the couple starts their lone resistance by writing postcards with anti-Nazi messages and leaving them in public buildings, in a hope that people read them and pass them on.
I like the fast paced style of this book, maybe derived from the fact that Fallada wrote it in around four months only; the author doesn't lose time with unnecessary words or details and still you get a really good picture of the characters in this story and the atmosphere of misery, fear and paranoia.
This isn't the typical story about wartime heroes, full of charisma and ending up inevitably in success. No, these heroes, Otto and Anna Quangel, are rather uninteresting and even dull.
Their risky fight seems to have been in vain but that's not what the book is really about. This novel is about keeping one's dignity, it is about not being corrupted only because there's a corrupt government and society around us. It shows us that if you do something to change that situation, even if it has no direct effect or if you pay with your lives, you have won!
I really enjoyed this book and how it's written. I was touched by the story and the message it gives and also by the author's tragic life that is briefly described in the book's afterword, so, I'm giving this book 5 stars....more