Category: 52 Books

the-mother-tongue0001 0

No. 7: The Mother Tongue

As fascinated as I’ve always been with language, particularly old ones (I took 2 years of Latin in high school and 3 years of Greek in college), I know almost nothing of how English came to be. I thought I knew plenty, of course, but then Bill Bryson pointed out...

No. 20: The Shallows 0

No. 20: The Shallows

I hadn’t read Nick Carr’s Atlantic article (“Is Google Making Us Stupid”) when I picked up The Shallows, though I knew about the question. I expected one of two possible answers: Technological advances are neither good nor bad, but they have a message about what we find important and how...

writing1 1

Writing Reviews is Hard

Last week I posted review number 19 of 2010. Last night I finished book number 27. There’s a small gap, and the main problem is that writing reviews is hard. I enjoy the process of thinking through the book, discussing it with others who have and haven’t read it, and...

No. 19: The Long Tail 0

No. 19: The Long Tail

In 2006, Chris Anderson described for the masses a novel concept of the market. The basic concept of “long tail” markets is by now intuitive: the “infinite shelf space” available online means you can offer anything. In addition, once initial development cost is covered, sales of digital goods are (virtually)...

No. 18: The Ghost Brigades 0

No. 18: The Ghost Brigades

In the follow-up to Old Man’s War we find something that is both more and less than a sequel. It is it’s own story, no longer following the travails of John Perry, but many secondary characters and the established universe are present. It’s said to be comprehensible as a standalone...

No. 17: Old Man’s War 5

No. 17: Old Man’s War

A couple of years ago a relative dropped a book on her kitchen table, declaring that she refused to read any more. “I couldn’t get past the first five pages.” In one of my semi-frequent adolescent moments I realized that I must know what was so disagreeable. I picked up...