Thursday, June 28, 2012

by Janet Groth

When she was nineteen, Janet Groth landed at job at The New Yorker as a receptionist. She stayed for two decades. Groth always wanted to become a writer, but that never came to  fruition at the magazine.
I feel as if it took two decades for me to just get through two chapters. The book was very disappointing and needless to say, I didn't finish it because I couldn't stand Groth's writing. It was very boring and dry. She's also extremely full of herself and that was annoying.
Not recommended.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Babel No More : The Search For The World's Most Extraordinary Language Learners
by Michael Erard

Author, Michael Erard, has a quest to find people who speak multiple languages and coins a new word "hyperpolyglot." He starts off with an Italian cardinal Giuseppe Mezzofanti (from the nineteenth-century) who supposedly was able to speak seventy-two languages. Some linguists, though, think that Mezzofanti was a myth and could only really speak a few languages. Erard sends out a massive e-mail looking for present-day hyperpolyglots and many write back.
I was really looking forward to reading this book but got three-quarters of the way through it and stopped. Some parts of it are really interesting but most of it is boring. His style of writing is plodding and I can't see too many people wanting or having an interest in what he wrote.
I am a language nut myself (I was a triple language major in college: German, French, Spanish) so I thought this book would be right up my alley. No such luck. It was a big disappointment.
Not recommended.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

We Heard The Heavens Then: A Memoir Of Iran
by Aria Minu-Sepehr

Aria Minu-Sepehr was the son of a general in the Shah's Imperial Iranian Air Force. He was brought up in a sheltered world. When the Ayatollah came to power in 1979, Aria's life as he knew it came apart.
I honestly can say that this book did absolutely nothing for me. There have been a whole slew of accounts written by Iranians about their cultivated and privileged upbringing that were pretty interesting. We Heard The Heavens Then just left me empty. I believe it was the style of writing. Nothing exceptional, no beauty in the prose. You can pass this one by.
Not recommended.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

An Economist Gets Lunch : New Rules For Everyday Foodies
by Tyler Cowen

Tyler Cowen has unconventional ideas about food but they're only his opinions. He comments about good food vs. bad food; that local food is not better for the environment; the best barbequed food is not in the United States; different regions of Chinese cooking; airplane food is bad but airport food is good; where you can get good, cheap food, etc.
Although Cowen is known as one of the most influential economists today, it does nothing for his writing. Parts of the book are very interesting but most of it is plodding. There's way too much filler. Most of the stuff could have easily been a magazine article. I didn't finish the book as it became much of an irritant for me.
Not recommended.
Paris, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down
by Rosecrans Baldwin

From the time he was a little boy, Rosecrans Baldwin has always loved French things. When he gets a chance (as an adult) to go and live in Paris for one year (with his wife) and work at an advertising agency, he is delighted. Here's the catch, though: he has no experience in advertising and can barely speak French. So, lucky for us, we get to read about his mistakes in communication at the office, embarrassing situations, misinterpretations and many more ho-hum escapades.
This book is not funny as other reviewers have said and the writing is slip-shod. Baldwin becomes more and more annoying. The result is, who cares? I never finished the book as everything just became too tedious.
Not recommended.