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review 2013-10-05 06:58
Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks by Ken Jennings
Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks - Ken Jennings

Why pay for a map that's wrong? Some of it is sheer novelty value: a map where California is floating in the middle of the Pacific makes a great conversation piece in an L.A. living room. But it's also a charming memento of human ignorance and imperfection. It reminds us that maps are never completely reliable, should never be mistaken for the actual territory.

- Excerpt from "Elevation" (chapter 5)

p. 83-84

 

 

Note: The review below was taken directly from my Goodreads account.

 

Maphead is about Ken Jennings's love and foray into geography and its many fans: geocachers, Google Maps employees, National Geographic bee nerds, map lovers and more.

Before reading this book, I didn't realize there was so much happening in the nerdy side of geography. I don't necessarily consider myself a geo nerd, but when I was taking geography it was a little hard not to be excited about climate, topography and nunataks. I didn't know that people were as excited about GPS becoming more accurate and planning imaginary road trips. That's actually really awesome.

Fun and interesting book. Jennings has a great wit about him and loves to impart you with little facts here and there outside the bigger picture of the chapter.

Go geography geeks!

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review 2013-10-05 06:53
The Man who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales - Oliver Sacks

Homing in on his memory, I found an extreme and extraordinary loss of recent memory -- so that whatever was said or shown to him was apt to be forgotten in a few seconds' time. Thus I laid out my watch, my tie, and my glasses on the desk, covered them, and asked him to remember these. Then, after a minute's chat, I asked him what I had put under the cover. He remembered none of them -- or indeed that I had even asked him to remember.

- Excerpt from "The Lost Mariner"

p. 27

 

 

Note: The review below was taken directly from my Goodreads account.

 

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales is about cases Oliver Sacks has undertaken. These cases are all taken prior to 1985, so yeah it is a little dated and so the last section about savants (or people with intellectual disabilities who are successful in a specific field, it's a little hard to tell which) is not as interesting (to me) as the people with neurological disorders like the eponymous case. Also keep in mind that the last section calls those with intellectual disabilities "retardates" and "idiot savants" -- while I don't doubt that Sacks was approaching the topic without bias, the language used in the 1980s is nowhere near as nuanced as today's language in regard to those with disabilities. So, yeah, if you're reading this and that kind of language is inflammatory to you, remember that 30 years makes a large difference in acceptability.

What I found is that these cases were a lot sadder than I was expecting. I was kind of expecting a bunch of cases where I would be amused by the antics of the patients. Except I was just sad with a lot of them. Especially the first section, which is about people losing something, like memories or knowing features.

I liked this book, but I wasn't enthralled by it. The commas every few words were not pleasant, but I think that's Sacks's style. It made it a little hard to read though.

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review 2013-10-05 06:40
Globish: How the English Language Became the World's Language by Robert McCrum
Globish: How the English Language Became the World's Language - Robert McCrum

Writing merely of the English language, celebrated American critic Ralph Waldo Emerson noted that it was 'the sea which receives tributaries from every region under heaven'. In the new millenium English and the numberless manifestations of its culture surround us like a sea; and like the waters of the deep, it is full of mysteries.

- Excerpt from "Prologue"

p. 17-18

 

 

Note: The review below was taken directly from my Goodreads account.

 

Globish is about how English became the dominant language in today's world. That means tracing a lot of English history from the Roman conquest all the way to present-day UK/USA and the presence of English in China and India.

I went into this book thinking it would be a large amount of historical linguistics (one of my favourite topics in linguistics), but it was a lot more history than historical linguistics. Linguistics does play a part, as McCrum mentions, in the Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Latin and other words borrowed from French, India, the USA and so on. I think I would like this book more if it delved into how the British Empire had more or less forced the English language on all of these countries, instead of, "Hey, the English were here and so they speak English; the English were also here, and that's why they have English as one of their national languages..." without really looking at the political and economical factors associated with it (except for in the last section of the book).

All in all, pretty enjoyable for this linguistics and history buff.

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review 2013-08-26 00:00
Review: Sex for Sale by Ronald Weitzer (Editor)
Sex For Sale: Prostitution, Pornography, and the Sex Industry - Ronald Weitzer

This book is an excellent resource for anyone interested in better understanding the sex industry. The 14 essays in this collection are all based on empirical research and the contributors are practically all Ph.D holders and most are in academia as professors or assistant professors. So, for the most part, this is top-notch information. There are essays based both on quantitative and qualitative research, and the compilation is brilliantly categorized into four main sections: I-Pornography, II-Stripping and Telephone Sex, III-Prostitution and IV-Trends

The first essay, 'Sex Work: Paradigms and Policies' is more of an overview essay that touches on most of the topics to be discussed in more detail in the pages that follow. It acts as a perfect introduction to the collection and contains much statistical evidence to lay the groundwork for the kind of data one can expect from the more quantitative essays.

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review 2012-05-15 11:04
The Funny Farm: The Laughter and Tears of One Woman's Farm in Cumbria
The Funny Farm: The Laughter and Tears of One Woman's Farm in Cumbria - Jackie Moffat Enjoyable read. Learned lots of British-isms and a lot about shepherding sheep and goats. Would love to visit the Eden Valley area someday. Sounds gorgeous. Will definitely read her second book, Sheepwrecked.
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