June Reading List

The Psychology of Language – Trevor Harley

An excellent introduction to psycholinguistics. It covers lots of ground that is of interest to psychologists & less so to linguists. So that’s stuff on speech production and perception (fun with phonemes) lots & lots of reaction time experiments, some elegant computer models of language acquistion & mercifully few versions of Chomsky’s ever evolving theory.

The Subtle Knife – Philip Pullman

It took me a long time to get round to this after failing to find a single joke in the Northern Lights.. there wasn’t one here (or not that I noticed) but it did eventually become gripping enough for me to persevere with it.

The Amber Spyglass – Philip Pullman

Having ploughed effortlessly though part two, it seemed sensible to perpetuate my motion over into the final installment. I was rewarded with the first jokes in 1000 pages, albeit merely some asides from a snide & sarcastic angel. Rewarding too was to finally see the ingenuity of his alternate theology that with some subtlety and originality meshed well across his universe. How nice to have him kill God with no fanfare. Not entirely sure of the title, as this item plays a very minor role in the plot.

The God of Small Things – Arunduti Roy

The urban75 book group choice for May which took me a little time to finish, partly due to exams but more due to an absense of curiosity.. for everything that happened was so heavily foreshadowed and so unsurprisingly enacted that the actual reading to the end often seemed like a wearisome formality.

Stasiland – Anna Funder

The urban75 june book group choice, a rare foray into reportage.. Stories of the Stasi collected after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The style has a somewhat pedestrian sunday supplement feeling but the astounding subject matter makes up for this. more here

Adolf Hitler: My part in his downfall – Spike Milligan
The first paragraph made me laugh more than any other single book i’ve read this year. After that the Milliganisms continue at a fairly unrelent pace in this honest & endearing account of his first three years of the war (before he saw frontline service).

Post Office – Charles Bukowski

Every day that Chinaski works in the post office seems to take him a year to trudge through and yet somehow, in the passing of just a few of these endless days, 12 years of his life take place too. This was the first of Bukowski’s ‘highly autobiographical’ novels and happily it enabled him to escape the walking nightmare it describes.

Underground – Haruki Murakami

Interviews with survivors of the Tokyo subway sarin attack & some members of the cult. It is nominally the only non-fiction work by this great novelist, but mostly it is in the words of the individuals themselves & Murakami acts only as interviewer, editor & organiser of the project. The book succeeds in using an unprecedented event to reveal the ordinary everyday psyche of the Japanese. No more clearly shown than in the fact that almost everyone in the attack carried on into work, despite dizzyness, streaming noses, hacking coughs and almost total loss of vision.


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