Goodreads | Amazon

I was somehow lucky enough to win an advance copy of Landline. Thank you to Goodreads and the publisher – this may be the best book I’ve read all year.

Georgie’s marriage is in crisis. Her dream is coming true – the show she and her best friend have been working on for years finally has a chance at being picked up, but they need to write four episodes asap. The problem? It’s almost Christmas, and she and her family are all set to go visit her husband’s mom in Nebraska. When Georgie tells Neal that she can’t come, she knows he’ll be upset. She’s choosing work – and her best friend Seth – over him… again. She doesn’t expect that he’ll pack up the kids and go to Nebraska without her. She doesn’t expect that he won’t even pick up his cell phone when she calls. One night after he’s left, she digs through the closet of her childhood bedroom to find her old rotary phone. She calls from her mother’s landline to Neal’s parents’ landline and finally reaches Neal… in 1998.

I don’t want to say too much, since this book won’t even be released for another month and a half, but Rainbow Rowell did not let me down. Landline was everything I hoped for and more, and I had a really hard time putting it down. My thoughts on it are mostly just a mess and I don’t think I can do it justice in a review.

Final rating: ★★★★★

[also posted here]

Note: Now through May 30, anyone with a Goodreads account can enter to win a free copy here.

Goodreads | Amazon

After six months and nine days, I have finally finished this beast of a book.  It’s hard to say what it is that made this book take so long.  At 544 pages, it’s hardly the longest book I’ve recently read.  I do have a degree in Linguistics, so I can’t say the subject matter was over my head.  Maybe it’s just that this book is so packed with information, examples, quotes, and evidence that my brain felt a little overloaded every time I picked it up.  Because of that, I kept it in my purse, pulling it out over lunch, while traveling, while waiting for friends to show up, so on and so forth, until little by little, I came to the end.

And now that I’ve finished, I don’t really know what to say.  Some parts are wonderful – I’m partial to morphology and childhood language acquisition, so I flew through those pages.  Other parts barely held my interest, such as the attempted construction of speaking machines.  All in all, don’t have a strong opinion either way on this book.  It’s a worthy read for anyone with a strong interest in language or linguistics, but the average person will probably get bored.

Final rating: ★★★☆

[also posted here]

In any case, e lengeege weth e smell nember ef vewels cen remeen qeete expresseve, so we cannot conclude that a hominid with a restricted vowel space had little language.

The Language Instinct | Steven Pinker

English is a zany, logic-defying tongue, in which one drives on the parkway and parks on the driveway, plays at a recital and recites at a play. …George Bernard Shaw complained that fish could just as sensibly be spelled ghoti (gh as in tough, o as in women, and ti as in nation) – and that only institutional inertia prevents the adoption of a more rational, spell-it-like-it-sounds system.

Steven Pinker | The Language Instinct

In the speech sound wave, one word runs into the next seamlessly; there are no little silences between spoken words the way there are white spaces between written words. We simply hallucinate word boundaries when we reach the end of a stretch of sound that matches some entry in our mental dictionary.

Steven Pinker | The Language Instinct

Goodreads | Amazon

People tell boring lies about politics, God, and love. You know everything you need to know about a person from the answer to the question: What is your favorite book?

A.J. Fikry is a grumpy, irritable bookstore owner. His wife has died in a tragic accident, he’s become very bitter, and he spends most of his nights getting drunk and angry. On one such night, he finds that someone has stolen his copy of Tamerlane, a rare collection of short stories written by Poe and valued at approximately $400,000. Shortly after, he finds that someone has left a baby in his bookstore, seemingly with the understanding that he will raise the child.

And thus begins the gradual melting of A.J.’s heart. And yours, too, most likely. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is not what I expected – it was so much more. It’s incredibly well-developed, with beautiful characters and an engaging plot. It has twists that you’ll probably see coming, but that doesn’t ruin anything. It has an ending that’s both sad and hopeful at the same time. And throughout the book, A.J. makes book recommendations!

I adored this book and read it from the second I got home from work until I had to go to bed, only to repeat again the next day. Highly recommended for any book lovers, and anyone who enjoys a good story.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the free copy.

Final rating:  ★★

[also posted here]