Random Review

The Last Lingua Franca: English Until the Return of Babel cover image

Well, don’t I feel all unoriginal. Here I was, prepared to critique this book’s extremely dry, technical style … only to read some of the other reviews on Goodreads and discover it is almost universally remarked upon. There goes that approach!

To be fair, I was going to moderate my criticism by pointing out that if you are studying linguistics or have anything more than the passing interest in it that I do, then The Last Lingua Franca is the book for you. It could be a textbook for a linguistics class. Nicholas Ostler doesn’t just opine; he brings it: facts and charts and footnotes and endnotes and everything you could possibly want from an academic text. The prose is careful and precise enough that it verges at times like reading like a full-on academic paper. Did not expect that from a guy with a hair-do like the one in his author photograph (just goes to show you can’t judge someone based on their author photograph).

None of these are negatives. In fact, we should hope that more…

Why I Read

Mostly for entertainment and edification. Reading is fun, and reading is a great way to learn. Although I indulge in television, movies, and video games, reading is my favourite way to relax. With a book, I can experience the story at my own pace, moving faster or slower as my interest demands. Books offer an infinite canvas for the imagination of both the author and the audience; with books, anything is possible.

What I Read

Everything! Well, almost. I try to read as widely as possible in recognition of the fact that genres are more of a marketing label than an adequate way to categorize books. But I have some favourite areas of fiction and non-fiction, and there are areas I avoid.

When I first began reading on my own, I devoured mysteries: Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Agathie Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle. Then I discovered science fiction and fantasy, and those remain my favourite genres today. I still delve into mysteries, historical fiction, and a variety in between, but science fiction and fantasy are my mainstays. For non-fiction, I mostly read books about science and technology. In particular, I love books about the history and philosophy of science, technology, or mathematics.

You can follow my reading above, or at Goodreads.

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